Chiefs of Southern province meeting in Choma have vowed to oppose Government’s decision to transfer the administration of Chirundu and Itezhi Tezhi districts to Lusaka and central provinces respectively.
The Chiefs have also challenged Home affairs minister Kennedy Sakeni to arrest them for resisting the Presidential decree to re-align the two districts.
This is according to the resolutions of a one day meeting of southern province chiefs held at Kozo lodge in Choma yesterday whose meeting was convened specifically to discuss the Presidential pronouncement to transfer the two Districts.
Reading out the resolutions on behalf of others, chiefs Chikanta and Mukuni said chiefs in the region would not accept any piece of land currently under the southern province jurisdiction to be transferred to any another province whether for administrative, economic or any other reason.
They said chiefs found it illogical that Itezhi Tezhi district should be administered from Kabwe which was over 600 kilometres when Choma which was the new provincial headquarters for southern province was only 200 kilometres away.
They said the chief were perturbed by the President’s unilateral decision which they said was done without consultation with Chiefs and other stakeholders who would be directly affected by such a move.
They said they were ready to be arrested by Home Affairs minister for resisting the re-alignment of the two districts.
And chief Mukuni said what President Sata had done was contradictory to the chiefs’ proposals submitted to the previous MMD government in 2009 regarding the splitting of southern province into two.
He said Chiefs had asked government to split southern province into two with one province to comprise districts of Choma, Itehzi-Tezhi , Mazabuka , Monze, Namwala and Choma would have been the provincial headquarters.
”We said Choma was more ideal as a provincial centre for southern province because of being central. We said a high way from Itehzi-Tehzi to Choma via Namwala is critical to enhance development in the province. Currently Choma is home to provincial offices for fisheries, water affairs, agriculture, forestry and land resettlement” he said.
The chiefs had proposed that the Zambezi valley province should have composed of the districts of Gwembe, Kalomo, Kazungula, Livingstone, Siavonga and Sinazongwe with Livingstone remaining the provincial capital on account of logistical and cost effectiveness although Gwembe could have been ideal because of its centrality.
“We had said over time perhaps the provincial capital should be moved to Gwembe to curtail Livingstone from overshadowing development in the margin district of Gwembe, Siavonga and Sinazongwe,” said chief Mukuni. “Upgrading the Bottom road to a high way from Siavonga to Livingstone would be critical to enhance development in the Zambezi valley province”.
Chief Mukuni argued that it looked like when the Patriotic Front government came into office, they found this document at state house and created Muchinga province but short changed southern province for some reason not only short changed and reduced the province.
Recently President Sata realigned Chirundu and Itezhi Tezhi districts to Lusaka and central provinces respectively.