In 2013, when our departed colleague Michael Sata degazetted Henry Kanyanta Sosala as senior chief Mwamba of the Bemba-speaking people of Kasama, we stood by Sosala.
A few days later, Bemba traditionalists chose Sosala as the rightful heir and new Chitimukulu. Sata and Edgar Lungu blocked Sosala from being crowned. Lungu as Home Affairs minister sent soldiers and polidce men to cordon off Chiti’s palace to prevent Sosala from taking up his kingdom.
Sosala was forced to live in a tent, in the bush, a taboo that had not yet being witnessed in Zambia. Sata died a few weeks later and Sosala was installed. We are not saying Chitmukulu bewitched Sata but then we really don’t what killed Sata.
When Sosala was degazzeted, blocked form occupying his kingdom, the Watchdog covered his plight and mobilised sympathy for him. The Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and ZNBC went at lengthy to portray him as an imposter. The moment Sosala was installed and Edgar Lungu went to kneel before him in order to secure votes for the 2015 presidential by-election, Sosala somersaulted like a monkey and changed like a chameleon. He suddenly forgot what he had just gone through and turned against people who stood with him in times of need. Geoffrey Mwamba (GBM) resigned from his lofty and well-paying job of Defence Minister in solidarity with Sosala. When Mwamba was victimised and jailed by the same regime that fought Sosala, did our Chitimukula ever say a word in support of GBM? Did he send even his kapaso to visit GBM in jail? No. He was busy receiving donations from Lungu and his officials.
Look at Sosala’s shameful conduct on Chishimba Kambwili’s woes at the hands of Edgar Lungu.
It is not easy to criticise a person holding such a sacred position in our society. On the other hand, it is not easy to ignore or condone the deplorable behaviour of the individual holding such a sacred position. It is possible and very right to separate Henry Sosala from the institution of Chitimukulu which we respect as it is established by our traditions. But we cannot allow a demagogue like Henry Sosala to hide his folly, greed and selfishness behind that respectable institution. The person who sits as Chitimukulu must be beyond reproach. That is an institution that every Zambia must respect, including the person holding it. Chitmukulu, like the Litunga, Mpezeni, Monze, Ishindi is a traditional leader for every Zambian. Their conduct should befit their offices.
We find Sosala Kanyanta Manga’s comments on Chishimba Kambwili very troubling. Kambwili, a Zambian was blocked from attending this year’s Ukusefya pa Ng’wena traditional ceremony. He was blocked by dictator Edgar Lungu.
But the Chitmukulu decided to act as useful idiot for Lungu.
He told government newspapers that Mr Kambwili has never attended the Ukusefya pa Ng’wena traditional ceremony despite being one of the renowned Bembas.
He also said he cannot remember Mr Kambwili making any contribution towards the preparations of the traditional ceremony even when the ceremony committee was based on the Copperbelt and Lusaka.
He said he could not allow him to attend to avoid a repeat of the confusion that characterised traditional ceremonies in Mongu and Chongwe.
How can the repository of Bemba wisdom issue such a baseless statement? Is this what money can do?
People like Kambwili obviously cannot respond to Sosala because of the position he holds. This is the sad part.
Attending a trading ceremony in Zambia is not conditioned on having contributed a goat or Benz. Is Sosala telling us that all the people who attended Ukusefya pa Ng’wena contributed something? Who says if you have never attended that ceremony before, you should never attend it in future? How many Bembas and non Bembas attend the ceremony without contributing something? What about his prized guest Edgar Lungu, how many times had he attended the Ukusefya pa Ng’wena since he speaks Bemba more than his language whatever it is?
The Chitimukulu should be careful how he makes his money. It does not make sense for a person in his position to be used to fight political battles and injure people in weaker positions. Traditional leaders should actually speak out for people victimised by government. Kambwili committed no offence and violated no traditional norm or custom by trying to attend the Ukusefya pa Ng’wena. Whether it was his first time or he did not contribute anything it doesn’t matter. Don’t turn our traditions into money making ventures. They will lose value once you commercialise them. It is also unwise for Chitimukulu to antagonise politicians unnecessarily. Kambwili is a politician and whether one likes it or not, he has a following, and it is growing. Some of Kambwili’s followers live with Chitimukulu.
Given the low standard that has been set by Michael Sata and Edgar Lungu, any person in Zambia can be president. An empty head and scoundrel like Kambwili can become president. If Lungu, a chakolwa, can become president, what can stop Kambwili from becoming president? What would Sosala do then, go back to his tent?
We believe the Chitimukulu can still reclaim his respectable position in our society and either just shut up and look like a wise person or speak for the voiceless and the weak.
We have also noted the articles which Sosala has been authoring from the time he was crowned. We find them to be very empty and lacking in intellect, originality and substance. All he does is paste long quotes from different authors without clearly stating his position. It is difficult to know what he is saying as he hides his thoughts in other people’s statements