Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister Lawrence Sichalwe has cautioned traditional leaders against rushing to court during succession wrangles, but strive to resolve disputes amicably.

In an interview after the handover of chieftainess Nyanje’s palace, Sichalwe said taking traditional matters to the court made some chiefdoms remain without chiefs for a long period due to the protracted length of time spent on litigation in the courts of law.

He reminded traditional leaders that royal establishments should ensure they handled succession wrangles wisely to ensure that the rightful heir ascended to the throne.

“I do not expect succession wrangles in various chiefdoms. I do not expect these chiefdoms to run to the courts of law to resolve their succession wrangles. I feel the courts of law are not rightly led to handle successional issues because the various royal establishments know their succession procedures. The learning process for the courts takes a bit of time and you find some chiefdoms run without chiefs for some years and that retards development in some chiefdoms,” Sichalwe said.

He has advised them to be patient during succession procedures so that everything was handled in the rightful manner.

Sichalwe also called on chiefs to be unifying factors to provide better leadership to their subjects.

“Chiefs are unifying factors to every government that might come and not only the Patriotic Front government. They are unifying factors because they are not partisan because they work with the government of the day and because of that, they unifying many people who are in their chiefdoms, but belong to different political parties,” Sichalwe said.

But when asked why government took time to pay chiefs their much-needed allowances, Sichalwe, who is also Chawama PF member of parliament, explained that chiefs were not given allowances, but subsidies which were released after the Ministry of Finance disbursed civil servants’ salaries.

“Government does not give chiefs allowances, but support chiefs in running the affairs of their chiefdoms through subsidies, and a subsidy is not an allowance and it’s not a salary; these subsidies are paid every month, but they are paid after the Ministry of Finance has disbursed the grants and salaries; that is when chiefs’ subsidies are paid. Currently, we have three months’ arrears to pay them, which is December, 2017, December, 2018, and February, 2019,” said Sichalwe.

And Kapoche PF constituency chairperson Bvulani Banda said the palace was one of the many developments the PF government had undertaken in the constituency.

He said those that accused PF of doing nothing were merely speaking on baseless grounds.

“We always say that PF means well for Zambians, but they don’t listen. Look, today, government ya PF has handed over the palace to our chieftainess Nyanje. All these are one of the many, many projects and developments the PF government has [done] for Zambians,” said Banda.