House of chiefs suspicious silence on harassment of Chitimukulu

Dear Editor
In my postings to the WD dated 28th March 2014 entitled “ HOUSE OF CHIEFS SHOULD STATE POSITION ON CHITIMUKULU” I questioned the continued silence of the House of Chiefs on the Government’s continued interference in the succession process of Paramount Chief Chitimukulu Kanyanta Mainga 2. I also referred to the Chairperson – Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya’s response of February 10th, 2014 when she was asked to give an official comment on the succession standoff and squalor living conditions the paramount chief was being subjected to. And of course her answer was that SHE WOULD COMMENT LATER AS SHE WANTED TO MAKE HER OWN FOLLOW UPS. That was in February and we are now in May 2014 the standoff has not only continued but has also started degenerating into a national and international disgrace. In my own small and humble ways and coming from a royal family I have also continued searching for answers to the House of chiefs continued silence. Today I have come across an article written on the 1st February, 2012 by the Zambian Economists, and entitled:
THE CASE FOR A STRONGER HOUSE OF CHIEFS and I thought to myself, this makes some sense and I now wish to share few exempts with my fellow countrymen and women as we continue wishing the Paramount Chitimukulu good health:
President Sata’s decision to create a ministry dedicated to traditional affairs provides a unique opportunity to review the constitutional position of the House of Chiefs and how it fits in with broader national development. Under current arrangements the House of Chiefs continues to be merely an “advisory body” that carries no weight.

The Republican Constitution states under article 130 and 131:

There shall be a House of Chiefs for the Republic which shall be an advisory body to the Government on traditional, customary and any other matters referred to it by the President.

Notwithstanding [Article 130], the House of Chiefs may : (a) consider and discuss any Bill dealing with, or touching on, custom or tradition before it is introduced into the National Assembly; (b) initiate, discuss and decide on matters that relate to customary law and practice; (c) consider and discuss any other matter referred to it for its consideration by the President or approved by the President for consideration by the House; and (d) submit resolutions on any Bill or other matter referred to it to the President, and the President shall cause such resolutions to be laid before the National Assembly.

The House of Chiefs has no legal tooth and serves mainly as a talking shop for chiefs. This underlines the criticism once expressed by Chief Puta that the failure by the then MMD administration to take seriously recommendations by the House of Chiefs had reduced it to a “mere white elephant”. As currently constituted the second chamber is not functioning as it should and in fact continues to drain resources from the national coffers that could be better channel in fighting poverty.

The absence of credible power has also had another unintended effect. It has created a situation where very few credible chiefs take House of Chiefs matters seriously, leading to a de facto house of lemons. The poor reputation of the House of Chiefs has led to good chiefs staying outside because it is not worth their time and effort, despite the enticing allowances. The exit of credible chiefs from the second chamber has given way to corrupt and illiterate chiefs who are attracted to the chamber in equal measure. In short it’s a classic “market for lemons”, with only the bad eggs left in the business. It’s no surprise therefore that over the last decade the House of Chiefs has largely been dominated by corrupt and politically captured chiefs. Corruption is always rife in advisory bodies because such entities are used by the Executive to reward political friends in exchange for staying in power, as was witnessed under the MMD rule with its many electoral endorsements from traditional leaders. End of exempt

So we have now seen for ourselves who the House of Chiefs are. Please note that the underlining of some words , for emphasis sake, is my only making and not by the original authors.

Friday Kashiwa

Great Great Grandson of Chief Chibesakunda 2

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