THE Cheke cha Mbunda, the academic association that researches and protects the cultural heritage and tradition of the Mbunda-speaking people has cautioned Mbunda political activists with a war-like stance on matters of culture that they risk being arrested because issues of tribal wars ended a long time ago.
Cheke cha Mbunda Writers Association chairman Ndandula Libingi said Cheke believed in dialogue and maintaining good neighbourliness. Therefore, members should use ‘‘diplomatic avenues and language’’ when communicating with others even if they were aggrieved.
Mr Libingi said the association would, however, not play politics or promote anarchy by ‘‘disrespecting the rightful authorities in their lands of settlement nor following blindly actions of those that have places of settlement they call “their own’’ in Zambia.
Mr Libingi was speaking during the launch of the Cheke cha Mbunda Lusaka provincial committee at the weekend.
He said Cheke was on principle totally opposed to the formation of administrative structures like the so-called Mbunda Royal Establishment (MRE) and its Mbunda Royal Council (MRC).
“With due respect, one Mbunda chief cannot declare such structures at the expense of many others. The Cheke is ready to dialogue with the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) over the Mbunda grievances as presented for the first time at the last Barotse National Council (BNC),” he said.
He said it was “folly” to declare the so-called Mbunda Royal Establishment just because other groups such as the Nkoyas of Kaoma had done so when they (Nkoyas) had chiefs recognised by the Government.
“How many Mbunda chief are recognised as such by Government gazette? None! Nkoyas have Kaoma which they call their land and what about Mbundas?
Which specific area in Zambia do they call their own land without stepping on other people’s toes?’’ Mr Libingi asked.
Mr Libingi explained that to advance the Mbunda culture, heritage and values, it was also Cheke’s objective as partners with the government of the day in fostering and advancing human rights of members, improving access to religious activities and information, education and communication, promotion of programmes targeting young members, strengthening research and broadening empowerment interventions, reduction of stigma and discrimination levels in order to optimise the expected result, among other things.
He said the association had scored successes since its inception until a disruptive hand overshadowed the dark era of 2013 to 2015.
“In the pursuit of its programmes and activities the association shall at all times conduct its affairs within the framework of its constitution, the laws and regulations of the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
The association is non-political and supports the government of the day,” he said.
He said admission to the association was open to all Mbundas who accepted and subscribed to its aims and objectives, adding that other Zambians interested in the promotion, encouragement and revival of the Mbunda cultural activities were also welcome to join.
Mr Libingi said the Cheke Cha Mbunda currently enjoys support from 99.9 percent of all its Mbunda chiefs in Zambia and gives unequivocal respect and support to traditional institutions in their respective palaces and chiefdoms.
“The entire Mbunda community in Zambia has nine chiefdom areas. Subsequently, they are divided into villages each of which is headed by a village head person, and with reference to Western Province a village or cluster of villages are registered in Lozi village registers which translates into regions. This is headed by a senior Lozi head person or traditional Mbunda chief.
“It is on such understanding that Mbunda chiefdoms are built,” he said.