Open Society Foundation is disappointed that the PF Government, through the Minister for Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, has openly become confrontational with the Bemba-speaking people over the recognition of Paramount chief Chitimukulu Kanyata Manga II.
OSF executive director Sunday Chanda has also cautioned government that there was no value in antagonizing traditional establishments because these existed even before constitutional powers were “manufactured”.
And Chanda has advised President Michael Sata to fire Chiefs and Traditional Affairs minister Nkandu Luo because of her divisive role in this matter.
Chanda who advised the PF government not to take the Bemba people for granted by interfering with the coronation of Chitimukulu also called on President Sata to reconcile and recognize Henry Sosala as Chitimukulu and gazette him in the interest of harmony between government and the Bemba speaking people in the same manner he did with the late Chitimukulu.
He advised that the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs should not be reduced to a polarizing arm of the executive, entangling itself in fights with traditional institutions in the country.
He said the ministry should reinforce respect accorded to people’s traditional institutions and advise the Presidency correctly on matters of Chiefs.
“OSF further calls on President Sata to consider finding Hon. Nkandu Luo’s replacement because her divisive leadership on this subject has resulted in collateral damage which will not be easy to repair.
“Hon. Luo has failed to perceive that there is no value in antagonizing and intimidating the Mwine Lubemba. She has failed to understand that the fight against the Chitimukulu is a fight against the Bemba-speaking people as a whole. She is creating an impression that PF is ungrateful for the support this Region has given. Hon. Luo must declare her interest in this matter and stand aside,” Chanda said.
He said the PF administration knew form history that the Bemba would not sift loyalty from their indigenous traditional authority.
The civil leader said the Chitimukulu defined who the Bemba-speaking people were and should be given due respect.
He revealed that Northern Province Minister Hon Chisala had equally waited for too long to give a position on a highly sensitive and divisive subject.
“We are asking Hon. Chisala to explain the truth and rationale behind the reported heavy police presence at the Chitimukulu Palace in Kasama. Ministers for Northern and Muchinga Provinces must provide the executive with honest impressions of the damage such retrogressive maneuvers are creating for government on the ground. Beyond registering negatively for government, Provincial Ministers must be candid with the executive on the unnecessary tension birthed among the Bemba-speaking people over perceived fights with the Chitimukulu,” Chanda said.