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Ignore Hichilema, chiefs advise Sata
By Moses Kuwema
Tue 18 Sep. 2012, 10:30 CAT   [856 Reads, 0 Comment(s)]
published by the Post newsapaper
SOUTHERN Province chiefs have requested President Michael Sata to unleash security wings on groups trying to divide the nation on tribal lines.
And some chiefs have advised President Sata to ignore UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema’s outbursts.According to a chief who attended the closed door meeting with 15 Southern Province chiefs at State House yesterday, the traditional leaders assured the nation through President Sata that Tongas will continue to live with other tribes in harmony.

“We also told the President that we know nothing about the group calling itself Tongas on Oath and that we totally condemned such barbaric groupings. In fact, we told the President that we would like Government security wings to look into this matter thoroughly because we think it’s politically intended to divide the Tongas and Bembas. We told him that Tongas will always work, interact and live with other tribes like we have always done over the years. For us, it’s One Zambia, One Nation,” the chief revealed.

The chief further disclosed that they also spoke to the Head of State over perceptions that only people from one tribe were being appointed.
“We raised the issue of having our own children appointed in positions like Cabinet as well. But the President told us that the perception which some people were trying to create was a lie. He told us that he has made all appointments on merit and was not segregating in any way,” the chief said. “He gave examples of people like Wynter Kabimba, Wybur Simuusa, Fackson Shamenda, Emmanuel Chenda, Luxon Kazabu, Dr Ngosa Simbyakula, Musa Mwenye, Mumba Malila, Alita Mbhawe DEC Commissioner among others as Tongas whom he has given very prominent, sensitive and senior positions.

“President Sata explained that claims of nepotism were neither here nor there because we have Tongas or people from the Bantu Botatwe grouping in Cabinet… it’s just that they don’t represent constituencies that are in Southern Province, which makes a lot of sense and we can’t blame him for that. The fact, that Simuusa, Shamenda, Kazabu, Chenda and others don’t have constituencies in Southern Province does not make them any less Tonga than these UPND MPs we have with constituencies in Southern Province.”

The chief further explained: “President Sata also informed us that since he got into State House he has learned that Hakainde discourages Tongas from working with him. In fact, his words were ‘I am glad you also met my young brother HH. You must tell him to stop discouraging all my Tonga appointees from accepting my appointments because I am reliably informed that whenever he gets wind that a Tonga is about to be appointed, he rushes there to discourage such individuals, which is most unfortunate’,” the chief said.

“‘So don’t blame me, speak to him Hichilema because personally I am willing to work with everybody.’ That’s what the President said word for word. So clearly Hakainde is to blame and not the President. I wonder why even those same people allow Hakainde to intimidate them as if he owns them. Let’s move from these petty and bitter politics. Hakainde must allow people to serve their country with dignity and honour.”

The chief said some of his colleagues in the entourage were amazed with President Sata’s humility and magnanimity.

“A number of my colleagues were amazed that the man is still the same. He is just the same Sata we have always known… jovial and creating light moments to make everybody feel comfortable. For instance, the first thing he did when he entered the room was to joke over some of my colleagues who were wearing hats. It was a very friendly atmosphere I must say. We also discussed the re-alignment of Chirundu and Itezhi-Tezhi. We told the President that we were against the idea of re-aligning these districts and that we should have been consulted,” the chief said.

“But the President explained to us in very understandable terms that the decision was made to make administration easier. He assured us that nothing apart from the provincial location of those districts has been tampered with. He told us that our influence as chiefs on our subjects remain the same despite the re-alignment. He also said he is moving in that direction to try and deliver development to our chiefdoms much more quickly.
“He promised us that in future when the government wants to make similar discussions, they will whisper to us, ‘whisper’ was the word he used actually. He urged us not to be misled because he meant well. The President emphasised that there was need for regular interactions between the Government and chiefs. In my opinion, Sata is a good man and he needs support because he means well and people should not be cheated.”

And some chiefs have advised President Sata to ignore Hichilema’s outbursts.
Chief Chikanta and senior chief Nalubamba were heard urging the President to ignore the UPND leader as the Head of State was escorting the chiefs out of State House.

As they were walking, President Sata was heard responding to one of the chiefs that: “…that is why when he insults or talks, you don’t hear me respond to him because we have serious national matters to attend to,” the Head of State remarked as chief Chikanta, who was flanked by senior chief Nalubamba responded. “…Yes, that’s leadership Mr. President! You don’t need to answer him.”

Justice minister Wynter Kabimba, chiefs and traditional affairs minister Professor Nkandu Luo and community development minister Jean Kapata were among the ministers that attended the meeting.

Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Prof Luo said the meeting was aimed at discussing development in its broadest perspective and what roles both the government and traditional leaders could play.

“This will be time for development not time for politics. The politics we shall leave it to other people. My mandate is to deliver rural development,” said Prof Luo.

And chief Chikanta who was the secretary for the chiefs during the meeting said the traditional leaders called for constant dialogue and consultations amongst political parties, the government and chiefs.

Chief Chikanta said the chiefs were concerned about the political insults that were being traded by some political party leaders.
“We are concerned and we would like a situation where political parties should dialogue, be able to sit down and sort out issues. We are ready as traditional leaders to sit down with both the ruling party and opposition leaders and see to it there is harmony in the
country,” said chief Chikanta, adding that chiefs from Southern Province would soon hold a meeting in Choma at which they intend to invite political party
leaders. “We are likely to have a meeting in Southern Province somewhere around September 26 to 27 for all chiefs in the province and at that meeting we hope we will find time to call these others like Nevers Mumba, Edith Nawakwi, Elias Chipimo and Charles Milupi, to come and discuss with us.”

And in a statement issued after the meeting, President Sata’s special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah stated that the chief, through chief Chikanta, thanked the head of state for the opportunity to engage him on several matters affecting the country.

“We the 15 chiefs of Southern Province gathered here and on behalf of other chiefs in Southern Province do hereby state that we will work with the government of the day and other stakeholders in promoting development and good governance in the country,” chief Chikanta said.

The chiefs submitted that among the positive developments recorded during President Sata’s one year in office include the streamlining of agriculture inputs and supplies to improve distribution to deserving small scale farmers, the creation of the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs and increasing of chiefs
subsidies from K1 million to K4 million as well as retainers wages.

Other positive developments that the chiefs noted included the banning of tujijili and enforcing of laws regulating beer drinking, the relocation of Southern Province headquarters from Livingstone to Choma and the
creation of four new districts namely: Chirundu, Chikankata, Pemba, Zimba and many others in the country and making Livingstone a tourist capital.
The chiefs further commended President Sata for the creation of Muchinga Province and the intention to construct chiefs’ palaces.

In response, President Sata, assured the chiefs of his government’s commitment in ensuring that development is taken to Southern Province.
“During the campaigns I promised the people of Southern Province that I will give them the Bottom Road immediately I am elected. Obviously, you have seen that works on the Bottom Road are moving very fast.

Shortly, we will be moving to the Monze – Namwala Road once we organise resources,” said President Sata. “My government is committed to address the problems facing our traditional leadership countrywide no wonder we resolved to give you a specific ministry Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs within
our establishment.”

President Sata also agreed with the chiefs’ concern on the need to have more interactions between the government and the traditional leadership.
Among the chiefs that attended the meeting that lasted for close to two hours included included chief Mukuni and chief Nyawa both from Kazungula, chief Chikanta and chief Simwatachela from Kalomo, chief Macha and Singani from Choma, chief Shimbizi and Kaingu from Itezhi
Tezhi.

Others were chief Sinazongwe, chiefs Chipepo and Simamba from Siavonga, chief Monze and Hamusonde from Monze, chief Mwanachingwala from Mazabuka and chief Nalubamba from Namwala.

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