A meeting of Southern Province chiefs convened in Choma today failed to get underway after the chiefs objected to proceed with the agenda of the meeting unless they were told the current government position on the re-alignment of Chirundu and Itezhi Tezhi districts.
The Southern Province Chiefs’ Council meeting held at Mahogany Bush Lodge in Choma also refused to elect three representatives to the House of Chiefs, forcing the meeting to close abruptly.
The chiefs told Southern Province deputy permanent secretary, Alfred Chiingi, and Provincial Local Government Officer, Alex Bwalya, that there is no way they were going to elect representatives to the House of Chiefs before knowing government’s position on the realignment of the two districts.
The chiefs argued that the absence of fellow chiefs from Itezhi Tezhi and Chirundu districts had raised their suspicion that government had gone ahead to re-align the two districts to Central and Lusaka Provinces respectively.
They clarified that they were not being political but only trying to give government time to respond to the resolutions made during their last meeting in which they appealed to government not to re-align the two districts.
But speaking earlier when he opened the meeting, Southern Province Deputy permanent Secretary, Alfred Chiingi, said chiefs needed to elect representatives who could be able to contribute adequately to the deliberations of the House of Chiefs.
Mr Chiingi said the Patriotic Front (PF) government is determined to ensure that traditional leaders participate in the local economic activities as well as governance through the implementation of decentralization policy.