Govt must partner traditional leaders-NAREP

GOVERNMENT must find ways of involving traditional leaders in championing community projects to improve the terrible conditions in which most rural communities are, says National Restoration Party president Elias Chipimo.

Mr Chipimo said NAREP supports calls by some traditional leaders for the Government to work together with them in the eradication of rural poverty in the country.

He said traditional leaders were important agents of change in communities.

“As NAREP, we support the calls by the Mwata Kazembe regarding the need to include traditional leaders in the delivery of development. Government should work with chiefs to champion community projects and improve the terrible conditions which rural communities are subjected to,” Mr Chipimo said.

The opposition leader said this during the NAREP tour of Luapula Province where Mr Chipimo visited several chiefs in the area.

He said chiefs were important agents of change especially in rural areas where people lived far from medical facilities with pregnant women who walked long distances to the nearest health centres.

Mr Chipimo said chiefs had a direct link to the people and understood their problems including health and education challenges which the people were facing.

“Chiefs are important agents of change particularly in rural Zambia where mothers are dying during child birth, and young people are entering into early marriages mainly because they are not able to go beyond Grade four and they have few recreational or income generating opportunities.

“The NAREP manifesto makes it very clear that we shall work hand-in-hand with our traditional leaders to preserve our cultural heritage and to bring development to our communities,” he said.

Last week, Mwata Kazembe of the Lunda people of Luapula Province appealed to the Government to work with traditional leaders in fostering development in rural areas as most politicians have failed to prioritise the immediate needs of the people.

The Mwata proposed a revolving fund to help chiefs have access to financial support which they could use to direct it to urgent sectors such as health and education in rural areas which could directly benefit the people.