CHIEF Chiyengele of the Mbunda speaking people in Western Province has rejected his dethronement by the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE).
He has vowed not to hand over the instruments of power because he had not received any official communication from the Litunga and the government.
“I am still a chief and I will not hand over the instruments of power until I hear from the government who have authority to dethrone me. As long as I am not communicated to, I just heard the news on radio, I will remain,” Chief Chiyengele said.
He said the BRE did not follow procedure as he was not communicated to officially.
“We are still waiting for the BRE to communicate to us because we only heard this from the radio, which means the procedure is incomplete as we were not communicated to officially,” he said.
On Wednesday, the BRE dethroned Chief Chiyengele and dissolved his entire Kuta of the Mbunda people in Limulunga district of Western Province.
The BRE alleged that the chief was disloyal to the Litunga, rebelling against the Lozi culture and raising himself to the level of a king.
The BRE Kuta, headed by Induna Inete, announced the dethronement of Chief Chiyengele, after a closed-door meeting that was attended by indunas from different kutas (courts) in Western Province.
Induna Inete said the decision was made after investigations by the Kuta, saying that the BRE would announce who would be the next Mwene Chiyengele to be installed.
But Chief Chiyengele said his dethronement was null and void, considering that it was only announced to the BRE Kuta and not at his palace.
He questioned the BRE if they had communicated the matter to the government, and said that he would wait to hear the government’s position on the matter as he was recognized by a Gazette notice.
And Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association vice national secretary Liale Mubanga said while the BRE had the power to dethrone any Lozi chief in Western Province based on the Chiefs Act, they did not have the right to dethrone the chief of another tribe.
Mr Mubanga said the Mbundas were waiting for the government’s decision, adding that should the government agree with the position taken by the BRE, then Article 127 (1) of the constitution would be invoked as government would be assumed to have abrogated the constitution.
“The Chiefs Act as it applies to the Western Province is a subsidiary piece of legislation which cannot override the Republican Constitution amended as Act No: 18 of 1996 which states, “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Institution of Chief shall exist in any area of Zambia in accordance with the culture, customs and traditions or wishes and aspirations of the people to whom it applies.”
Mr Mubanga said the Chiefs Act also violated the human and people’s rights of the non-Lozi population of Western Province to self-determination in terms of culture and chieftaincy which position would place the government in a position of embarrassment if reported to the international community.
“We therefore call upon government to either amend or repeal the Chiefs Act as it applies to Western Province as it is a bad law that is also in conflict with the provisions of the Republican Constitution which is the principal law of the land,” he said.
Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Josephine Limata told the Daily Nation that she could not engage herself on issues she did not know.
“I don’t want to engage myself on issues I do not understand,” Ms Limata said.