Bashilubemba have maintained that they followed all traditional rites and rituals when installing Henry Sosala as Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba-speaking people of Northern Province.
Representative of Bashilubemba’s Kabilo Chikwemba said no stone was left unturned when they were installing the Chitimukulu.
Bashilubemba were responding to what was described as “irresponsible attacks” by Minister of Chiefs’ Affairs Nkandu Luo who suggested that the PF administration did not gazette the Chitimukulu because the Bemba Royal Establishment (BRE) did not follow procedure leading to the enthronement of the Paramount Chief.
Kabilo Chikwemba said the district commissioner of Mungwi, the provincial local government officer and the Mungwi district council officials attended the proceedings leading to the enthronement of Sosala.
“The PLGO wrote the minutes which they brought to chief Chimba who after going through appended his signature and returned them,” The Kabilo said. Chief Chimba is the equivalent of a chief administration officer.
He said the BashiLubemba did everything that has been done since time immemorial when installing a new paramount chief.
Chikwemba, speaking in his native iciBemba, maintained that it was not the job of the Bemba Royal Establishment (BRE) to take minutes. “Our job ends at appointing and installing…ifya gazette ifyo fyabo.” Saying gazetting was not their problem that’s their (government’s) issue.
He said as far as the BRE was concerned, the land they call Lubemba was being presided over by Chitimukulu.
However, Prof Luo was quoted in the media stating that a person could only become a chief after being gazetted by the president.
Prof Luo said the Bemba Royal Establishment had not followed procedure leading to the enthronement of Paramount Chief Chitimukulu.
She said the issue of chiefs in terms of who became a chief by title was based on the chiefs Act after the selection was done by the royal establishments.
The minister further said that government would then examine the minutes and if they are satisfied that the person qualifies, the ministry would then send the minutes to the President for approval.
“Only the President has powers to gazette a chief, and as far as we are concerned, there is no Paramount Chief Chitimukulu, until that process is done, and it has been done for all the chiefs in Zambia with no exception.”
Prof Luo explained that the Chiefs Act stipulate that a person could only become a chief after being gazetted by the President.
“That is what our chiefs Act says. Even those of you who are saying ‘Paramount Chief Chitimukulu’, do you have evidence that he has been gazetted? He has not been gazetted. So, there is absolutely no discussion as far as I am concerned. We have to wait until such a time that the selection minutes and procedures are followed,” said Prof Luo.