President Michael Sata has reportedly rejected the appointment of Newton Ng’uni as Chief Chiunda Ponde of the Bisa people of Mpika and some Bemba traditional leaders are enraged that President Michael Sata has continued interfering with traditional affairs.
The Bemba traditional leaders have told President Sata to start respecting the traditional hierarchy and completely keep away from their succession processes because it was not the prerogative of the presidency to appoint chiefs in chiefdoms.
The chiefs have also demanded that the Head of State should completely withdraw the remaining armed paramilitary police officers at Chitimukulu palace in Malole.
The chiefs were reacting to reports that President Sata has rejected the appointment of Ng’uni as Chief Chiunda Ponde for the Bisa people in Mpika, Muchinga Province.
The chiefs revealed to the Daily Nation that soon after the head of state was notified that Ng’uni had been appointed Chief Chiunda Ponde, he did not accept his appointment and immediately summoned Senior Chief Kopa of the Bisa to State House to explain why the royal establishment had picked the former minister as their traditional leader.
The chiefs however could not disclose the outcome of the meeting between President Sata and Chief Kopa but have appealed to the Head of State to immediately stop interfering with the operations of traditional establishments.
They said Ng’uni was appointed Chief Chiunda Ponde by the traditional council of the royal clan and that he was supposed to assume his role as a traditional ruler with immediate effect.
“We are very disappointed with the development. We are wondering why the President has taken it upon himself to dictate what should happen in chiefdoms when he is not even a member of the royal establishment which was appointing authority in any traditional setup.
“This is sad because he is just promoting adversaries between himself and the traditional leadership. President Sata must be reminded that he is a subject of a certain chief and there is no need for him not to respect the traditional leadership.
He can be President for Zambia but he must know the presidents come and go while chiefdoms are there forever. The President is disregarding traditional rulers as if they were his own children from his home. We do not know what is wrong with this president,” one chief said.
However efforts to get in touch with Chief Chiunda Ponde and Senior Chief Kopa proved futile as their phones were switched off.
The chiefs said some people from a number of chiefdoms have complained about government interference during succession times because the Pf leadership had its on preferred candidate to take up throne.
And the Bemba traditional leaders have said that the head of state should completely withdraw the armed paramilitary police officers that have remained at the Chitimukulu palace in Malole Kasama.
They said out of the 500 officers that were deployed both at the palace and in other areas only about 20 officers had remained at the Palace while other areas were now free.
This, they said was done secretly as officer were being withdrawn in the night when most people had locked themselves indoors.
President Sata had deployed over 500 armed police and paramilitary officers in Kasama and the Chitimukulu palace last month after intentions by the Bemba traditional council to publicly unveil Paramount chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people on 16 th November 2013.