Southern Province chiefs’ spokesperson Chief Chikanta says there is no traditional leader in the area who does not like President Edgar Lungu, insisting that all are committed to work with his government to enhance development.

And Chief Chikanta says cases of child marriages in his chiefdom have declined tremendously following sensitization campaigns that were targeted, mainly on perpetrators.

On Tuesday, President Lungu said that even though the chiefs did not like him, he was President.

“All I can say is that, I am happy you have welcomed me here, and you are willing to work with me. I am your child. Even as much as you may not like me, I am your President,” the Head of State said in Livingstone when he met Southern Province chiefs.

Commenting on the statement, Chief Chikanta laughed it off saying all the chiefs actually love President Lungu.

“(Laughs). No, I don’t think there are any chiefs in the province who do not like the President. We all love President Lungu. It’s not true. No, it’s not true that there is a chief here who does not like the President, (laughs). Whether one likes him or not, he is the President of the Republic of Zambia, but the point is that, there is no chief here who does not like the President. And as chiefs, we are actually obliged to work with the government of the day. And we will work with the Patriotic Front government to deliver [their] developmental agenda that the country needs,” Chief Chikanta told News Diggers! in an interview.

And he said child marriage cases in his chiefdom have declined tremendously following sensitization campaigns that were targeted mainly on perpetrators.

“The fight against child marriages is on-going. We have made tremendous improvement. We actually still have a programme where we are sensitizing people on the dangers on early marriages. We are sensitizing people, both in the villages and in schools, about child marriages, gender-based violence, HIV and AIDS, all those are on-going programmes. And, yes, child marriage [cases] have improved tremendously following these sensitization campaigns. Sometimes, it’s a question of lack of awareness. When people are actually aware that this is a crime so to say,” observed Chief Chikanta.

“So, when they are told of the bad or the wickedness of the vice of child marriage or gender-based violence, they start to stay away from such issues. We are seeing people themselves creating awareness about the vices and the message has spread. A lot of people are aware and do not want their child to be married at an early age. The target, mainly, was the people who had the tendency to marry children who are of a tender age, and because we have the message delivered to them, child marriage has reduced tremendously.”