Ngabwe chief succession controversy rages on

“WE shall not allow Ignitious Kashoka to manipulate his way to the Ngabwe throne simply because he has connections in Government because what is important for us is to preserve tradition according to our royal family tree”, some members of the  Ngabwe royal have warned.

But Mr Rodrick Phiri, who is headman Shibwengo, maintained that the selection process of Mr. Kashoka was done in accordance with custom and that those who were opposed to his rule were the ones creating problems in the chiefdom.

Ngabwe Royal Esterplishment chairperson Agrippa Kalilange told the Daily Nation in a telephone interview from Ngabwe yesterday that what was happening in Ngabwe was worrying as selfish individuals wanted to take advantage of the peace the people of Ngabwe were enjoying to bring anarchy over succession.

Mr. Kalilange appealed to Government not to make decisions based on rumours but consult the council of elders in Ngabwe chiefdom over the person that was rightfully chosen according to tradition as heir to the throne. He said it would not do Government any justice to impose a chief on the people because the royal council had laid down procedures on arriving at the rightful successor.

“What is happening here is worrying. Mr. Kashoka is claiming Government has gazetted him and has been ferrying reporters from Lusaka to come and get views on the matter and he claims he is the rightful person. Tradition doesn’t operate like that. If at all he has been Gazetted by Government, we should have been the first people to know.

“Now the impression that has been created is that of division in the kingdom and that will make the entire district suffer because no meaningful development can be achieved with such wrangles. Ngabwe district is new and if we continue living like this, then, there will be nothing we will achieve,” Mr. Kalilange said.

He accused Mr. Kashoka of fueling confusion in the chiefdom where he is allegedly threatening civil servants such as District Commissioner Melody Phiri. Meanwhile, former Ngabwe Chief representative Brian Chikute accused Mr. Kashoka of using his connections to intimidate the people in the chiefdom.

Mr. Chikute said Mr. Kashoka should ask himself why people in the chiefdom had rejected him..

“Mr. Kashoka is using his connections to bring confusion in the chiefdom. He should ask himself why people are complaining about him if he was the rightful heir to the throne. As for Rodrick Phiri, he is selling the chiefdom even when he knows the truth about who should be the rightful heir to the throne,” Mr. Chikute said.

But Mr. Phiri last week maintained that Mr. Kashoka was the rightful chief who had been gazetted and that those who were opposed to him were the ones fueling confusions in Ngabwe and that Mr. Kashoka did not want to be drawn into unnecessary squabbles.

He explained that as long as Government recognised Mr Kashoka as chief, no one would take the throne away from him.