Attempts by government to politicise this year’s Shimunenga ceremony of the Ila people of Southern Province have angered the residents of Namwala district, the home of the event.
Vice President Guy Scott who was the guest speaker was forced to abandon his speech when it became apparent that the headmen were not amused with what government was saying. The people decided to go ahead with the ceremony without government involvement.
The residents who constantly disagreed with claims by Dr Scott that the ceremony was poorly organised said the delay was caused by the late arrival of the vice president which changed the whole programme.
Edwin Shingandu of Isaka village said it was disappointing that Dr Scott arrived late on a day he was supposed to deliver his speech which did not happen.
He said “ordinarily the Shimunenga is a two day ceremony with the first day for women and the second for the men. It I on the first day at Nalubwe speeches are made but because Dr Scott decided to come at his pace, the speeches were deferred to the following day, a day for the men where such programme do not take place.”
“And as villagers we wonder why he came along with so many government vehicles while he was using a chopper. “Why should government send more than 50 vehicles and police officers from Choma? This is the first time that such a thing has happened during a programme of such importance in our culture”.
“We Illa’s are very peaceful people and we wonder why government had to send police officers from the other districts in Southern Province.
Mr Shingandu said this year’s ceremony was a disaster as only two neighbouring chiefs came to attend because of the way it was politicised and that it was poorly attended.
He said despite the area being the UPND stronghold only Chiefs Muchila and Mungaila attended the ceremony though they were not happy with the way it was handled.
It was sad that some village headmen got so annoyed because of the delay during the second day of the ceremony and decided to ignorer the presence of the vice president who was giving his speech and went ahead to release the head of cattle in order to go ahead with the cattle ceremony.
“Despite Dr Scott pleading with the headmen they went ahead to release the animals to the plains (Lutanga) for greener pastures.
The villagers have since appealed to politicians to respect traditional ceremonies since they were non political events.