Letter to Professor Nkandu Luo
Honourable Professor Nkandu Luo,
Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs,
L U S A K A.
Nkandu Luo’s attempt change the Bemba chiefs’ appointing authority
THE FALSE AND WILD CLAIMS OF SUB-CHIEFTAINESS CHANDA WE YAYA
We the undersigned Bashilubemba wish to state that some clever people with the promise of being gazetted and of course with your blessing told sub-chieftainess Chanda we Yaya to falsely claim that she was instructed by sub-Chief Chimba to appoint a Mr. Chipoya to replace Mr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala as Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu. We in this instance, however, wish to exonerate His Excellency, President Michael Sata because these events thereof happened when he was outside the country.
In the first place sub-Chief Chimba cannot make such a decision alone since all such important decisions can only be made in the full council meeting.
God frustrates the plans of the schemers, so the work of their hands will not succeed. He traps the wise in their own cleverness so their cunning schemes are thwarted
We believe that this scheme of implicating sub-Chief Chimba who is our chairman has been a deliberate and malicious calculation to bring confusion, mistrust and division among Bashilubemba since the government machinery has totally and absolutely failed to change our choice of Henry Kanyanta Sosala as Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu Kanyanta-Manga II.
In the Supreme Court Judgement No. 25 of 2008, let us look at J13 __618 of the Supreme Court judgement which reads:
‘’Alluding to the case of Ignatius Muhau Vs Attorney General and National Airports Corporation, a case founded on the principle of judicial review and where we said that the court cannot enquire into the merits or demerits of the decision made by a body with the power to make decision. Professor Mvunga, S,C., submitted that the decision of Bashilubemba would not be attacked on any ground of illegality, impropriety or unreasonableness in the Wednesbury sense……’’
Honourable Minister, we believe the fact that since you have managed to devastate your own Bisa chieftaincy from matrilineal to patrilineal status and in the same way, you are by all means trying to change the Bemba chiefs’ appointing authority from Bashilubemba to Queen Mothers whom you think you can easily manipulate as at the case at hand wherein you have promised to gazette them.
In the book, African Political Systems, edited by Messrs. M. Fortes and E. Evans-Pritchard, it is written:
‘’Women of the royal line, the mothers, sisters, maternal nieces and granddaughters of the chiefs are called banamfumu and are treated with much the same deference as are the men of the family. The mother of the paramount is highly honoured, succeeds to a fixed title – the Chandamukulu or Mukukamfumu – and owns several villages of her own. The sisters of chiefs are privileged persons, protected and supported by their royal brothers and usually granted one or more villages….’’ (ibid.,p. 93).
Mr. W.V. Brelsford wrote in Succession of Bemba Chiefs: A Guide to District Officers:
‘’since the seniority of the chief depends absolutely upon the place of the mother in the genealogical table, it is essential to get a clear view of the position of these mothers or sisters of Paramounts. Historically, there have been only two hereditary names of mothers of Paramounts. These names are Chandamuklu and Mukukamfumu. There are several other women who have borne Paramounts, but their names have not become hereditary. Nor have they themselves inherited one of the two traditional names of the queen mothers, for it is essential for a woman to have a title in order to bear a Paramount……’’ (ibid.p. 11).
In the Supreme Court Judgement No. 25 of 2008 between Chief Mpepo (Ackson Chilufya Mwamba), appellant and Senior Chief Mwamba (Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba), respondent reads on J18__ 623:
’’In the case of the Bemba customary law of succession, it is generally agreed by the parties that a chief below Chitimukulu, it can be Senior Chief Mwamba, Senior Chief Nkula or indeed any other, is chosen or appointed by the Paramount Chief-in-council. When the choice of a Chitimukulu is an issue, the body mandated to make the appointment is known as Bashilubemba. The composition of the two bodies, including the necessary quorum for transaction of business, was not part of the evidence. Besides, what the evidence failed to establish is the role of Chandamukulu, the Queen Mother (including Mukukamfumu, the Queen for Chinsali side), in the selection process of Chitimukulu and the chiefs below Chitimukulu,’’
The two anthropologists quoted above including the Supreme Court have not found any role of Queen Mothers in appointing chiefs and we do not know where yourself and Chileshe Yulaya the PF cadre Chief Chewe researched, because according to The Post newspaper of 1st May 2013, you were quoted as having said that it was Queen mother Chandamukulu who appoints Chitimukulu and you wondered what would happen since Chandamukulu had just died.
And to the contrary, you were again quoted in The Post of 3rd October 2013 as having said that it was Queen mother Ngoshe Mukote who appoints Chitimukulu. In fact the house of Ngoshe Mukote has disintegrated because after the colonial District Commissioner, H.G. Willis met the members of Ngoshe Mukote family on 9th November 1924 who were claiming the Nkula throne he wrote to the Secretary for Native Affairs on 18th December 1924: ‘’..
I agree that Ngoshe Mukote branch of the family has no good claim, they had been driven away many years before the Government came and to revive such claims is impossible.’’ Honourable Minister, how have youself and Chileshe Yulaya managed to decipher what was ‘’impossible’’ after eighty-nine (89) years (i.e., 1924-2013)!
The Bemba Political system
And coming to Chanda we Yaya, Mr. Andrew Roberts in A History of the Bemba wrote:
’’…the title of Chanda we Yaya is honorary. Chanda we Yaya is allowed the dignity of a namfumu (mother of chiefs), but she cannot bear chiefs. Indeed, a crucial condition was attached to the title, that the holder be celibate….’’ (ibid., p. 131).
There are 72 Bashilubemba who are assigned different functions, but those with the responsibility of choosing chiefs are only six. Andrew Roberts wrote:
‘’First there are the senior bakabilo of Chitimukulu, those who determine the most crucial issues, such as royal successions. These are: Chimba, Chitikafula, Kapukuma, Katenda, Munuka and Nkolemambwe.’’(ibid., p.15).
However, the Bemba political system is very democratic and accommodates royals from diverse houses. And the key lies in what W.V. Brelsford wrote:
‘’Another guiding line is that there is no sequence of chiefly names leading to the Paramountacy. Only relationship, place on the genealogical table and seniority count, and a new Paramount may step up from being Mwamba or Nkula or from being a man with no earlier post. The sequence of Chitimukulu, Mwamba, nkolemfumu, Mpepo need not necessarily be a permanent order of names to the Paraamountcy.’’ (ibid. p.11). (emphasis mine)
This actually means anybody can compete for any Bemba chiefly positions as long as he presents his family tree to Bashilubemba and certainly people like Chileshe Yulaya (the PF cadre Chief Chewe) has no royal family tree and in fact in 2002, when he was competing for the throne of Senior Chief Nkula with the current Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu Kanyanta-Manga II, he only produced a fake family tree and that was why even his court injunction was thrown out by Judge Japhet Banda. And that was why he was only gazetted by President Sata without even the courtesy of consulting traditional authorities. How true are the words of President Kaunda:
‘’The world of power can so easily become a closed universe, cut off from the source of morality, generating a fraudulent morality of its own, driving men in directions which, in their better moments, they would not take.’’ (Letter to my Children p. 74).
And yet the PF cadre Chief Chewe himself stated on Kasama Community Radio Mano: ‘’How could a President appoint a chief? He has got no right to appoint a chief.’’ This therefore means that since he was not appointed as Chief Chewe by the Bemba traditional council and by his own admission, President Sata ‘’has no right to appoint a chief,’’ then he is not a chief.
What is amazing is that since President Sata entered State House, Chileshe Yulaya has become the Bemba royal expert and champion. He, however, needs to be reminded to always remember at every sun-set that, that politicians and politics have an expiry mandate. And indeed, history testifies to the fact that tradition has a longer span of life than political regimes.
And going on with the selection procedure, after the six Bashilubemba have chosen their best candidate, but in case there are others who feel they deserve the paramountancy, then the chosen one does not cross the Kalungu river and he camps somewhere and other contestants also camp there in order to wait for the entire team of the 72 bashilubemba including two senior sons of chiefs i.e., Chief Makasa and Chief Munkonge to come and make the final vote. For instance, in 1966, four contestants camped at Kalungu river i.e., Senior Chief Mwamba Musenga, Chief Chikwanda Chitabanta, Chief Chimbola, sub-chief Mutale Mukulu and sub-chief Chileshe Mukulu. And it was Senior Chief Mwamba Musenga who finally became Chitimukulu.
Bemba community has accepted Henry Kanyanta Sosala
And as with the current Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu Kanyanta Manga II, he camped at Kalungu river in August 2013 and there were no contestants besides President Sata and yourself. And surprisingly it was Bwalya Kosa who is currently involved with Queen mother Chanda we Yaya who drove his ailing grand-father, sub-Chief Chikwe to conduct the rituals for crossing the Kalungu river.
It is very clear that our Mwinelubemba has been greatly accepted by the entire Bemba community as you can see that his subjects have even bought him three vehicles when the government withdrew their vehicle. And Parliament has recently been advised to recognize Mr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala as the Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people. The Daily Nation report read:
‘’Supporting the motion tabled by the committee on delegated legislation, Namwala b MP Moono Lubhezi told Parliament that Henry Kanyanta Sosala as duly installed as Paramount Chief Chitimukulu and that government should correct the Statutory Instrument degazetting him so that he could be recognized..’’
Then you and your group, Bwalya Kosa, Sub-Chief Kalulu and others came up with the scheme of inciting sub-Chieftainess Chanda we Yaya with an unworkable plan. Bwalya Kosa went to see Chieftainess Mukukamfumu with the proposal that she should travel to Mpika on 30th June 2014, so as to meet government officials who would arrange her to be gazetted. And this meant she could have met with sub-chieftainess Chanda we Yaya and the so-called sub-chiftainess Ngoshe Mukote and together they could have signed a secret document that could have appointed Chipoya as Chitimukulu.
But we were informed of the evil plan earlier and Chieftainess Mukukamfumu informed Bwalya Kosa that she was not attending and the whole evil scheme flopped. The ancient philosopher Eliphaz once said, ‘’God frustrates the plans of the schemers, so the work of their hands will not succeed. He traps the wise in their own cleverness so their cunning schemes are thwarted.’’ (Job 5:12,13)