GOVERNMENT says the instability caused by inter and intra chiefdom disputes remains a major threat to chiefdom development in the country.
Speaking when he officiated at the 6th House of Chiefs orientation meeting in Lusaka, Monday, Local Government and Rural Development Minister Gary Nkombo said succession disputes had led to loss of lives and property.
“Good governance entails transparency, accountability, consultation and dialogue between governors and the governed. It requires a conducive atmosphere for it to thrive. In order to achieve this, the government seeks to see a durable and stable governance environment that will promote political, economic and social development of the country, especially [for] rural Zambia. However, the instability caused by both inter and intra chiefdom disputes remains a major threat to chiefdom development. Succession disputes have led to loss of lives and property leading to some thrones being vacant for a long time, thus creating leadership vacuums in chiefdoms. Chiefdom boundary disputes have equally deterred development in many chiefdoms. Please resolve disputes as royal families ought to and avoid protracted disputes that split families and deter development. After all, this is the hallmark of royalty,” he said.
Nkombo called on the House of Chiefs to ensure that the institution of chieftaincy upheld the honour and dignity accorded to it.
“The UPND government and President Hakainde Hichilema hold the institution of chieftaincy in high esteem. It is a dignified constitutional office. However, the status accorded to chieftaincy ought to be upheld by the institution itself. Government is therefore calling upon the House of Chiefs to ensure that the institution of chieftaincy upholds the honour and dignity accorded to it. In fact, it is your government’s wish to see the entrenchment of our values and principles being implemented in the House of Chiefs and permeated to the rest of the citizens,” he said.
And Nkombo said government had prioritised the disbursement of funds to communities as evidenced by the increased Constituency Development Fund in the 2022 national budget.
“Your government believes that decentralisation is the most effective mode of taking development to the people. In this regard, the government has prioritised the disbursement of funds to communities as evidenced by the increased Constituency Development Fund in the 2022 national budget. Our aim is to decentralise by actual devolution of power, ownership and decision-making on matters affecting communities. I want to call upon all royal highnesses to take interest and participate fully in the utilisation of CDF in your communities. I therefore, urge you to familiarize yourselves with the guidelines on the utilisation of CDF,” said Nkombo.
Meanwhile, House of Chiefs chairperson Chief Luembe said succession disputes had also been of concern to them.
“Well, the chieftainship fighting has been an issue that most of us are concerned with but we get restricted because when the case is taken to court, no one is supposed to talk about it outside court. But what we forget normally is that chiefdom issues or succession issues are Customary, meaning that we follow Customary law. Hence, they should leave these matters to the chiefs or not necessarily the chiefs themselves because the chief is an elected member from the royal family, so there is an electoral college in each chiefdom. And I should say each chiefdom has this electoral college and that is the body that is supposed to elect a chief. It is not everyone who is a member of the clan who is supposed to be a chief. Therefore, if the government can help us, not necessary to identify but to put things in order so that each chiefdom’s nuclear family is identified and what should follow,” said Chief Luembe.
About 50 chiefs from all parts of the country are attending the two-day orientation meeting.