Lusaka ~ Fri, 4 Dec 2020
President Edgar Chagwa Lungu says he appreciates the role that traditional leaders play in the country’s governance system.
The President said this when House of Chiefs Chairperson Senior Chief Luembe of Eastern Province alongside his Vice-Chairperson Senior Chief Mujimanzovu of Northwestern Province, including eight other chiefs, paid a courtesy call on him at State House today.
“I appreciate the role traditional leaders play in the country’s governance system. All of us belong to chiefdoms and we have a responsibility to respect our chiefs and support them,” President Lungu said.
He said Government respects and treasures the role of chiefs in the country hence its commitment to improving their welfare.
However, the President regrets that the institution of chiefs has been abandoned by some citizens who only visited chiefs when they needed land.
And the President assured that Government will do everything possible within the available resources to improve the welfare of chiefs across the country in sectors such as education, infrastructure development, among other areas of national development.
President Lungu observed that a number of laws pertaining to the institution of chiefs anchored in the Zambian Constitution needed to be revisited, but regrets that this could not be done because of the collapsed Bill 10.
“This is threatening the existence of our traditional leaders. We hope that after the election, we will resuscitate the Bill to bring sanity to the institution. In the meantime, we will continue to work together even with the short time of the tenure of office of the House of Chiefs,” he said.
President Lungu said he is happy that remarkable progress has so far been made in the construction of chiefs’ palaces across the country and informed the chiefs that once resources are available, a new House of Chiefs will be constructed.
The President was accompanied to the meeting by Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Lawrence Sichalwe, Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Simon Miti and Special Assistant to the President for Political Affairs Chris Zimba.
And Senior Chief Luembe, who spoke on behalf of other chiefs, expressed gratitude for Government’s continued good will towards the welfare of traditional leaders.
“It is indeed a good gesture that chiefs have now been placed on Funeral and Medical Insurance Schemes to enhance the funeral services and medical care in line with modern needs of society. We are, therefore, happy that your Government heard and responded positively to the chiefs cry,” he said.
Senior Chief Luembe says the chiefs resolved to give solidarity to the President and to stand with him by continuing to work with Government in governance matters and national development.
The Chiefs pledged to ensure peace and maintenance of order ahead of the general elections next year in August.
Senior Chief Luembe added that the traditional leaders were concerned with the threatened existence of the institution of chieftaincy and the lost hope in strengthening the laws that govern chieftaincy in the country.
“We are saddened that Bill 10 failed to pass in Parliament. As you might be aware, the institution of chieftaincy is engulfed with so many disputes thereby disturbing chiefdom governance. As chiefs, we believe that Article 169 of the current Constitution that removed powers of recognition or withdrawal of recognition from Government, coupled with other gaps in statutes are the major cause of chiefdom disputes we are experiencing today. We therefore, appeal to Government to quickly introduce measures to save the institution of chieftaincy as it is under threat,” said Senior Chief Luembe.
Other chiefs who attended the meeting include Senior Chief Chiwala (Copperbelt Province), Senior Chief Imwiko (Western Province), Chieftainness Muwezwa (Central Province), Chief Katyetye (Muchinga Province), Chief Kalasa Lukangaba (Luapula Province), Chief Mukobela (Southern Province), Chief Mphuka (Lusaka Province) and Chief Chitoshi (Northern Province).