OPINION: Traditional Leaders and Politics

The question of our traditional leaders being involved in politics has long dominated political discourse. Different traditional leaders have rubbed the national in different ways with the more flamboyant and charismatic proving more divisive. The argument has long been bandied around that traditional leaders should stay out of politics given their fatherly figure to their subjects.

Whether it be senior Chief Inyambo Yeta being lumped among political leaders thrown in jail under the zero option or the more carefree Paramount Chief Mpezeni freely taking up a political stand or the more recluse brand of chiefs like Chief Mumena of the Kaonde people there is always debate around where the chief stands.

Others have been lumped the political garment even when they have not overtly taken a political stand like the Chitimukulu who was almost stripped of his crown by late President Michael Sata. So when Senior Chief Mukuni of the Toka Leya people of Southern Province hosted opposition United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema at the Lwiindi ceremony to the deliberate exclusion of government officials and even some his traditional leaders that do not share his political opinion the debate opened up of what role traditional leaders should really play in bringing their people together.

What really should our traditional leader’s role in ensuring that none of their subjects feel marginalized in their communities?

The more politically enlightened would argue that the traditional leaders have as much right as anyone to hold and express a political opinion.

They may even argue that stopping traditional leaders from taking a political stance deprives them of their right to political participation. Maybe the less remuneration that traditional leadership offers may entice some traditional leaders to venture into the more lucrative zone of politics. In some cases the embarrassment our traditional leaders have been subjected by the political leadership by being paraded at political leaders makes for a strong case that they should be kept away from overt politics. How does one explain a bottle of whiskey and a few pieces of silver extended as a gift to traditional leaders being a licence to humiliate them?

We need to reflect deeply on what legacy we want to assign to our traditional leadership rather than expose to being bandied as commodities available to the highest bidder,



    If things are wrong ,let each and everyone come out and critise it.

  2. Mpombo

    This Institution of chiefs should be abolished they like to hold government at ransom.Why should a 14 days grave yard graduate dictate to boma in this era of artificial intelligence

  3. uncle G

    So what is wrong,Let them say what they want

  4. muzo

    Boring Story!

  5. muzo

    Boring opinion

  6. Lucian KM

    Not interested.

  7. Kalunga Fred

    Truth is we no longer need these traditional structures. They contribute to tention in the land and are an unnecessary drain on our merge resources.
    The Chief here is a greedy person. Instead of using the money from resources in his land to better lives of his people, He chooses to misuse it on uneccessary Limos and young women like the one on the picture. Very disgusting! When did Limos become part of any traditional ceremony in Zambia?

  8. Zoona

    Don’t cry because:-
    1. They didn’t ask for a ministry for themselves… The Boma made it.
    2. They didn’t ask for traditional affairs minister you imposed one.
    3. They didn’t ask for allowances you introduced it.
    4. They didn’t ask for creation of Chiefs assembly structure of administration you created it.
    5. They never used to get salaries you introduced it.
    6. They never asked for Chiefs standard structure palaces you are building for them.
    7. They asked for your opinion in the rule of there subjects now you deliberately ask for their vote by bribing them.
    8. They never asked for your Political Speech at their Traditional ceremonies you go and present your campaign speeches.

  9. Ngandu Andrew

    Which one was first in our set up “Politicians or Traditionalists”?

  10. Maano

    But who is a chief, in this context? A chief is a leader of a tribe. A chief is a natural politician, by birth. On the other hand, government leaders are artificial politicians, by acquisition. Both are therefore politicians in the practical sense. None of them should therefore exclude the other from practising politics!

  11. Chilala

    Boring story

  12. Bruno mars the moonshine jungle

    Leave them

  13. Brono mars the moonshine jungle

    Leave them

  14. Lolo

    If you bother yourself about chiefs continue bothering yourself. Chiefs are tribe leaders and what comes first to them are tribes men or rather relatives. Tribalism is in their DNA and no one can change them. And they always make sure they protect those who are of their tribe or close to them. Understand who a Chief is.

  15. Ovido

    No wonder it was to be good if the democratic nation like Zambia declare that all leaders must pass through election for them to be well qualified leaders because some leaders are illiterate. They do things out of ignorant.

  16. john b kasongo

    14 days at the graveyards.Y? Wina azakafela ku tulo.

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