PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he is pleased to note that most traditional leaders have agreed with government’s observation that enacting Constitutional Amendment Bill number 10 of 2019 will address leadership wrangles in some chiefdoms.
And President Lungu says it is difficult for government to take development to some parts of the country because some traditional leaders are difficult to work with.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Chief Mpande of the Mambwe speaking people of Northern Province along with other traditional leaders in Senga Hill, Saturday,
“I am yet to come across a chief who is saying ‘no’ to this prospect of finding a solution under Bill 10 where we find a solution which will enable government and the traditional leaders work together to make sure that we recognize the lineage and ensure that the right person is the chief. We had situations, your royal highness, where the courts have ruled that this is the chief and people say no this is not the chief. Then such cases you find a situation where people start saying ‘this is the chief for courts. As far as we are concerned this is our chief’, so you find two centres of powers needlessly and this creates tension and sometimes unnecessary friction which can be avoided,” President Lungu said.
“So, if we manage to work around Bill 10 and particularly this particular clause [related to the traditional leaders], we may come up with a win-win situation which will be accepted to all parties because as government, we also get embarrassed. Sometimes it is very inconveniencing where when you go to a certain place, there are two people claiming to be chiefs. Or if you go to one chief, someone starts saying ‘you went to that person so he’s the one you are supporting, therefore, we will not collaborate’. So I think let’s collaborate, let’s see what good is in Bill 10 and what is there are solutions to get us help on the succession wrangles.”
And President Lungu said it was difficult for government to take development to some parts of the country because some traditional leaders were difficult to work with.
“I am delighted that you have pointed out the need for cooperate and collaborate as government and your communities in bringing about development. Elsewhere, some chiefs have been very difficult to give us land for development. They want us to give them specific projects which they themselves have requested for, ‘we want a school’ but for us with collaboration with our education staff, we access the situation and assess that a school can be built here but a chief will say ‘no, I want the school to be there because that’s where I want it to be. So it becomes very difficult. So I think that through you and the House of Chiefs help us so that we dialogue. If you want to a school to be put in your area, let experts’ advice on where we can put a school because they look at population and all these things. But what we are getting are emotional decisions based on; I can’t even say its aggrandizement but based on just selfish desires. So we want to maximize the benefits,” said President Lungu.
“We want to achieve maximum utilization of these infrastructures and other resources put to them. So please your royal highness, talk to your people in the House of Chiefs and tell them that you are partners of government, not allies of destruction. You must be allies of the people. You can’t be a chief and be an enemy of the people, it’s not attainable at all. Schools and markets cannot be sources of conflict within communities…but it’s like some people don’t want to listen because they are chiefs, but I am also President and I listen to the people. So please we know that you are the chiefs but you must listen to the people, that is how you govern. We believe that even a chief as powerful as Shaka [Zulu] may have been, they only govern with the concept of the people. If we all turn our backs on you and say ‘we won’t support you as chief’, then you find that you are alone and then you will fail to deliver because you need people to be a chief. So we urge you, the way you urge us to listen to the people who elected us, we are also urging you; we want to bring schools, we want to bring hospitals… but if you say ‘no I am the chief’ and you even threaten us that you will not vote for us who want to bring you development then I don’t know who you will vote for because we want to bring you development.”
Later, President Lungu proceeded to Mbala district where he flagged-off rehabilitation works on the Mbala – Kasesha – Tanzania border road and also inspected other developmental projects in the area.