President Michael Sata will not attend the burial Mass for late paramount Chief Chitimukulu Mwango Chilufya Chitapankwa (III) scheduled for today due to the embarrassment he faced after being told off by the Bemba chiefs when he tried to muzzle into their traditional affairs. Instead the President has gone to officiate at the centenary celebration of Lusaka city.
An impeccable source from state house has told the Watchdog that the invitation to this national and cultural event was made to the head of state but due to his ill health and the standoff with the Bemba chiefs, he will not attend.
“You know the big man (Sata) has a problem with the Bemba chiefs when he dethroned senior chief Mwamba and the Bemba royal establishment rejected his manouvres and ka health sikali mushe (his health is not so good). Definitely he would not attend and it is not established who is representing the government,” said the source.
The rich Bemba culture, with a clearly defined way of ascension to the Chitimukulu position has been carried on from generation to generation and has been upheld by all Presidents of Zambia but earlier this year Sata dethroned Senior chief Mwamba of Kasama district but the decision was met with resistance from the Bemba chiefs.
Since the death of Chitimukulu last year, no one has been appointed in that position and sources from the royal establishment say Sata wanted to impose a fellow Bisa on the Bemba throne as Chitimukulu for political expedience.
It is after this burial that a new Chitimukulu will be appointed to reign.
According to the programme released in Mungwi and obtained by the Zambian Watchdog, people are supposed to gather at the palace by 10:00hrs and tomorrow again the mourners are to reconvene to witness the burial ceremony, thereafter the late chief’s remains will be taken for burial at Shimwalule in Chinsali district.