The Baroste Royal Establishment (BRE) has accused some political and government officials of allegedly sponsoring people to masquerade as Chiefs in order to frustrate the current traditional leadership.

And the BRE says the Patriotic Front government has deliberately denied the people of Western Province and especially those in the jurisdiction of the Barotse Royal Establishment any sort of development as punishment for not voting for the party in 2011.

In a statement by the acting Ngambela, Moowa Zambwe, the concerns were raised after the Saa- Siikalo Kuta, which is the government seat of Barotseland monarch, deliberated on policy matters affecting Barotseland in line with its relationship with the central government recently.

“Divisions emerging in our traditional governance system is being fuelled by government and politicians outside government. This state of affairs is of grave concern to the people of Barotseland. BRE is aware that some people are sponsored to masquerade as chiefs and surprisingly enough, government officials and politicians embrace such illegal self imposed chiefs by paying courtesy calls on them. Chiefs in Barotseland, unlike elsewhere in Zambia, are installed by His Majesty the Litunga from time memorial and they hold office by strictly following our diverse traditions and customs of all the 38 ethnic groups. And where any given Chief ceases to respect our custom and tradition, then such a Chief ceases to hold office under our customary law,” Zambwe stated.

And Zambwe also said the Barotse Royal Establishment was unhappy with the new constitution which by implication contradicts the chiefs act and does not recognise the Litunga’s authority over chieftaincy.

“We urge government to repeal this diabolic article targeted against the people of Barotseland. The BRE has had a good relationship with the central government and enjoyed their respect. However, the current general feeling of our people is that government has sidelined Barotseland in terms of development as most of developmental projects have stalled since 2011. The stalling of developmental projects in Barotseland is deliberate as confirmed by utterances by some Government Ministers and officials that Barotseland will not receive a fair share of development because our people did not vote the PF party in the general Elections. Mongu – Limulunga road is the main link between the royal palace and all the districts in Barotseland. The bad state of this road is a big obstacle in terms of communication. BRE has lobbied Government to work on the road year in year out but our requests have not received a favourable response. This has become a source of worry for the people,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Zambwe noted that the BRE was aware of the people promoting division in certain regions of the Province.

“BRE is aware of some people fueling ethnic tension especially in Mongu, Kaoma and Lukulu with some calling for subdivision of Barotseland. We call upon such misguided people to desist from such acts. The people of Barotseland have lived together in harmony for centuries. BRE’s silence should not be taken for granted. The BRE urges government to address the raised pertinent issues in order to foster peace and harmony in our Country and to solidify the existing cordial relations between central government and the BRE for the benefit of our people,” stated Zambwe.