CHIEFS and Traditional Affairs Minister Lawrence Sichalwe has reiterated that traditional leaders should not be partisan as they are perceived to be unifying factors in their chiefdoms.
And Sichalwe says government has cleared the three quarters of outstanding salary arrears to Chiefs and their retainers.
Speaking to journalists, Wednesday, Sichalwe called on traditional leaders not to be partisan.
He further said he could not give details on the arrest of Chief Mukuni’s wife because she was outside his jurisdiction.
“On the political situation that we are heading to, mine is a clarion call to traditional leaders not to be partisan. Traditional leaders are perceived to be unifying factors in their chiefdoms. Now, when they take a partisan stand, they will fail to have peace in their chiefdoms because for instance, a chief takes a partisan position, he has got parties that have been brought before him in conflict, meaning he will have to take a partisan position of one of them and he will compromise his reconciliation process over the matter that is before him. So, for the chief to maintain peace, law and order and stability in their chiefdoms, we called upon them to not be partisan. They will certainly receive various leaders in their chiefdoms because of the tradition of paying cutesy calls on them before they go in the chiefdom on their campaign trail to sell their message and manifestos,” Sichalwe said.
“You may wish to know that in this nation, no one is above the law. And whoever comes in conflict with the law, will have to face the consequences of the law. For me, it is not the chief who has come into conflict with the law but somebody who is outside my jurisdiction also. So, I would refer you to the Ministry of Home Affairs who could be able to give you details as to what law has been infringed upon and why the action.”
Meanwhile, Sichalwe said government had cleared the three quarters of outstanding salary arrears to Chiefs and their retainers.
“Allow me to state that the institution of chieftaincy has been governing societies long before the creation of the modern government system we have today. The institution has been an integral component of Zambia’s administration and has continued to play an important role in matters of governance and development. The peace, stability and harmony that we are enjoying today can be attributed in part to the good leadership of our traditional leaders. Government, therefore, attaches great value to the welfare of chiefs and acknowledges the important role that our traditional leaders play in the governance system of this nation. I wish to inform the nation through you the media that in December, 2020, the Treasury released funds amounting to K20 million to the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs for the payment of outstanding arrears of subsidies and wages owed to Chiefs and their retainers (kapasos) respectively,” he said
“The arrears of subsidies and wages were for the four months that were not funded during the period between 2016 and 2019. The funds for the arrears of subsidies and wages were released to the Ministry following approval of the supplementary budget by Parliament in the current session. The Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs has since paid the arrears of subsidies and wages respectively that were outstanding to most of the chiefs and retainers for the months that they were owed. However, there are still a few cases of deceased chiefs which have not been paid due to non submission of their details. The Ministry paid out outstanding claims related to leave travel benefits, long service bonus and terminal leave benefits for kapasos (chief’s retainers) in all the 10 provinces who had been retired, dismissed or terminated from their employment. A total amount of K1,448,173.69 was paid to 104 chiefs’ retainers who had submitted their claims.”