The silence by the House of Chiefs on the impasse President Michael Sata has created by refusing to recognize Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba speaking people of Northern Province has confirmed fears that the leadership of House of Chiefs is compromised and politically aligned.
In an interview yesterday, the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) president Andrew Ntewewe said that the silence by the House Chiefs on the standoff between Paramount Chief Chitimukulu and President Sata was shocking and surprising because it left the traditional leadership compromised.
Mr. Ntewewe said that the House of Chiefs should show leadership and guide the Head of State on how to proceed with traditional matters rather than keeping quiet on a matter which had preoccupied the PF government at a time when the economy of the country was doing badly.
“The House of Chiefs should play its role by giving its view on the matter in an impartial manner rather than keeping quiet or taking a political side. We are saying this because this matter has dragged and the only thing we see is the House of Chiefs keeping quiet as if it did not affect them at all. Their silence has compromised the institution. The House of Chiefs is like parliament and its role should be advising government on matters of chiefs and traditional affairs. The Chitimukulu issue is just one of the issues we have been expecting the institution to have spoken out in order to end the standoff,” said Mr. Ntewewe.
He said that it was sad that its pivotal role of advising government on traditional matters seemed to have been taken a back stage in the House of Chiefs.
Mr Ntewewe said the leadership of the House of Chiefs had exhibited partisan characteristics by failing to guide the adding that those taking leadership positions at the House of Chiefs should always ensure that they did not find themselves offside by way of supporting a particular position taken by the political leadership.
“We are aware of Chieftainess Nkomeshya’s support of the PF as a party and government but what we are asking her is to be impartial in the manner the House of Chiefs should come out on the matter of the Chitimukulu. Let’s not waste time by continuing to speculate or accuse them of being compromised,” said Mr. Ntewewe.
Mr. Ntewewe observed that it was time that the House of Chiefs spoke out on the matter without hiding because the standoff between President Sata and the Chitimukulu was affecting many government programmes and the governance of the Bemba chiefdom.
“We want to believe that the House of Chiefs will come out and protect their member Paramount Chief Chitimukulu from these unnecessary and misguided attacks from the PF leadership. We want also to see how the House of Chiefs will handle other related matters where the Head of State has interfered,” he said.
He noted with that there were many wrangles concerning traditional boundaries and succession disputes which the House of Chiefs seems to have failed to address in ensuring that such matters were addressed. Mr. Ntewewe strongly believed that the silence by the House of Chiefs had compromised their position in ensuring that the traditional set-up was a strong foundation of governance.
“The silence compromises their position in making the traditional setup a strong foundation of leadership. This is a time when they are supposed to take a position over the Chitimukulu. Let them guide and put this matter to an end rather than playing hide and sick games. This matter has affected all well meaning Zambians,” said Mr. Ntewewe.
“Their silence leaves too much to be desired because the people of Zambia want this matter done once and for good.”