UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was on Saturday given a standing ovation when he enetered the main arena of the Kulamba kubwalo traditional ceremony of the Lenje people which ailing President Michael Sata failed to grace.
And Chieftainess Serenje challenged foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba to state his royalty following the minister’s bragging that he was also a member of the royal family in Luapula province.
Hichilema who donated a cow and an assortment of foodstuffs was a marvel to the crowd as he entered the arena led by Katuba MP Jonas Shakafuswa. The ululating crowd and songs from the various dance troupes dwarfed Narep president Elias chipimo who was also present as well as Sata’s representative Harry Kalaba’s entourage of many civil servants.
And speaking to journalists soon after paying homage to the senior chief Mukuningombe and other invited chiefs, Hichilema said he was delighted to be part of this year’s ceremony a few weeks from the country’s golden jubilee celebrations. Hichilema reiterated that a country without a culture was a lost one and that the high death rate among youths in urban areas was as a result of loss of cultural roots.
And after the Lenje senior chief complained about some unfulfilled promises like building of chiefs’ palaces, late payment of peasant farmers among other problems, Kalaba went on to brag that he understood chiefs’ welfare because he was also from the royal family. Kalaba’s childish remarks angered visiting Chieftainess serenje who demanded that he introduces himself and the chiefdom from which he was. Kalaba failed to satisfactorily answer the chief but only said “Oh Sorry I am Harry Kalaba, MP for Bahati constituency and also minister of foreign affairs. I am representing President Sata who would have wanted to be here but is unable and has delegated me,”