PF govt warned not to interfere with Chitimukulu’s coronation

OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION: PRESS STATEMENT

OSF wishes to call on President Michael Sata to take steps to reconcile and recognize Mr. Henry Sosala as Chitimukulu and gazette him in the interest of harmony between Government, the Royal establishment and Bemba-speaking people at large. In the same manner that President Sata reconciled with the late Chitimukulu, we ask him to take a similar route this time around.

OSF further calls on President Sata to consider finding Hon. Nkandu Luo’s replacement because her divisive leadership on this subject has resulted in collateral damage which will not be easy to repair. Hon. Luo has failed to perceive that there is no value in antagonizing and intimidating the Mwine Lubemba.

She has failed to understand that the fight against the Chitimukulu is a fight against the Bemba-speaking people as a whole. She is creating an impression that PF is ungrateful for the support this Region has given it support. Hon. Luo must declare her interest in this matter and stand aside.

OSF is disappointed that the PF Government, through the Minister for Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, has openly become confrontational with the Bemba-speaking people over the Chitimukulu recognition. PF Government knows too well from history that the Bemba-speaking people will not shift loyalty from their indigenous traditional authority.

The Chitimukulu defines who the Bemba-speaking people are and should be given the respect due to it. While we appreciate pressured sentiments from Northern Province Minister Hon. Chisala, he has equally waited for too long to give a position on a highly sensitive and divisive subject.

We are asking Hon. Chisala to explain the truth and rationale behind the reported heavy police presence at the Chitimukulu Palace in Kasama. Ministers for Northern and Muchinga Provinces must provide the Executive with honest impressions of the damage such retrogressive maneuvers are creating for Government on the ground.

Beyond registering negatively for Government, Provincial Ministers must be candid with the Executive on the unnecessary tension birthed among the Bemba-speaking people over perceived fights with the Chitimukulu.

Lastly, we wish to caution Government that there is no value in antagonizing traditional establishments because these existed even before constitutional powers were “manufactured”. Pieces of legislation inherited from colonial masters must not be used to fragment our indigenous institutions of Governance.

The Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs must not be reduced to a polarizing arm of the Executive, entangling itself in fights with Traditional institutions of the people. Rather, this Ministry should reinforce respect accorded to people’s traditional institutions. It should also advise the Presidency correctly on matters of Chiefs.

OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION
SUNDAY CHANDA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR