TWENTY-SIX Southern Province chiefs who yesterday attended President Edgar Lungu’s meeting to discuss Davies Chama’s tribal remarks have refused to compromise on their demand for the PF secretary general’s dismissal, according to the Post Newspaper.
And President Lungu has told the chiefs that he will look into the demands to have Chama fired at a later stage. According to sources who attended the meeting, chief Chipepo wanted to know why President Lungu never acted against Chama when he made the tribal remarks. “So they have maintained their position and have made it very clear to His Excellency that they are not willing to negotiate anything until he fires Chama, [Chishimba] Kambwili and Mumbi Phiri,” the sources disclosed.
“But His Excellency has expressed a concern that if he agrees to fire the three, he will set a bad precedent. So the President asked the chiefs to say, ‘Give me another chance’. He said ‘If I fire them, then every time you have a problem [with someone I work with], you will expect that I fire them. Every time you find a fault with my people, you will ask me to fire them, so you need to give me time to consider [your demand]’.” The sources said senior chief Bright Nalubamba also supported chief Chipepo’s position. “Chief Chipepo asked him, ‘Why didn’t you react the first time Chama said this statement? That is why we feel you are also part of it. Why did you keep quiet?’ They told His Excellency that they are aware of the remarks that were also attributed to tourism minister Jean Kapata where she said, ‘Even if we don’t reconcile with those chiefs, what do we get from there because they still don’t vote for us’,” the sources narrated. “So they have told him to fire those three and that’s when they can start talking. So right now, it’s a deadlock. The chiefs are going to have lunch now and after that, they will sit down and come up with their own position.
Other chiefs were just there like chief Mukuni; he did not say anything but the others really spoke out. One chief even said ‘the brown bag that you sent won’t work with us, we have our own money’.” When asked for a comment on the meeting, Chundu Chaitwa chairperson Eddie Hamakowa said he would issue a statement after meeting the Tonga chiefs who seemed to have been left divided over the matter. Chief Hamusonde said: “The President feels that he has not been offended in any way, neither do we feel that we were offended in any way. But all in all, we have talked to him and the President has taken the matter with interest. We leave it to the President to take it and act and according to him, he will come back to us. That is all I can say.”