Luapula Province chiefs say they feel cheated, betrayed and insulted by the PF government’s failure to fulfill their campaign promises despite them contributing to the party’s victory in the 2011 general elections.
And chief Mwansakombe says it has become difficult for him to convince his subjects to support PF in next year’s elections because the party has failed to deliver on its promises. Meanwhile, transport and communications deputy minister Mutaba Mwali on Thursday shocked onlookers when he publicly snubbed senior chief Mwewa and walked away after the traditional leader tried to reason with him over development issues. Speaking on behalf of other chiefs in Luapula, chief Mwewa of the Ng’umbo people of Samfya expressed disappointment over the lack of development in the province. “Me and my fellow traditional leaders feel cheated, betrayed and insulted by the PF government after helping the party ascend to power in 2011. It is an insult to the traditional leadership in the province for the government not to fulfill the promises it made during the campaigns. They lied to us that they were going to develop this area,” he said. Chief Mwewa wondered why other provinces had seen more development than Luapula. He said the government needed to disclose the criteria it was using in allocating development projects in the country which, according to him, seemed to favour some selected provinces. “We are only seeing development being taken to other provinces. But little or nothing is done here,” said chief Mwewa.
And chief Mwansakombe warned that his subjects will not vote for the PF again because of the party’s failure to fulfil promises. He said it had become difficult for him to convince his subjects to rally behind the PF government when they had not seen any tangible development. “My people cannot point at a single development project that has taken place in the chiefdom despite voting for the Patriotic Front. We (chiefs) really feel insulted because we have been seeing development going on in other places,” said chief Mwansakombe.
Meanwhile, Dr Mwali, who is also Chifunabuli PF member of parliament, shocked onlookers when he publicly walked away from chief Mwewa after the traditional leader complained about his failure to develop the constituency which was in his chiefdom. The incident happened around 11:00 hours at Musaila Junction when Dr Mwali made a brief stop-over in en route to Kasaba. When word went round that Dr Mwali, who had been missing from the constituency, was passing through, senior chief Mwewa went to meet him. But it appeared that the traditional leader’s complaint about lack of development in the area angered Dr Mwali who decided to walk away, much to the disappointment of onlookers. Dr Mwali’s protocol officer, who tried to give audience to senior chief Mwewa, could not succeed as the deputy minister ordered him to accompany him to where his ministerial vehicle was parked. Disappointed with Dr Mwali’s conduct, former Luapula Province minister Chrispine Musosha stepped in and advised Dr Mwali to show some respect for chief Mwewa. “You (Mwali) cannot walk away when the senior chief is talking to you. That is an insult to the traditional leadership of this province,” Musosha told Dr Mwali as the deputy minister was walking away. Musosha described Dr Mwali’s conduct as a taboo. “It’s unfortunate because demeaning a senior chief like that, it means all the appointing authorities don’t mean anything to him (Dr Mwali),” he said.
Musosha said he was disappointed to see how the senior chief was mistreated in public and that Dr Mwali’s misconduct should not go unpunished. “Senior chief Mwewa, who is the father general of Bena Ng’umbo, being reduced in that style? No! I don’t envy such a minister. He (Dr Mwali) is forgetting that senior chief Mwewa had a role to play for him to become member of parliament and minister, even for this government to be in place,” he said. Musosha warned that the government’s rapport with the Ng’umbo people would be injured if President Edgar Lungu does not take disciplinary action against Dr Mwali. “The most shocking part is that the incident happened in full view of everybody, including a journalist (this reporter), watching and listening to a minister reducing his own senior chief. In Bemba we say ‘Ubufumu bucindika umwine’. If he [Dr Mwali] as member of parliament can fail to respect his own senior chief, I don’t see how much respect he (Dr Mwali) could attract from the passersby like myself,” said Musosha.