GOVERNMENT has challenged chiefs in Southern Province to forfeit subsidies and other benefits that come with the status of being chiefs if they do not want its presence at their traditional ceremonies.
So far, Government has not been invited to officiate at the Bene Mukuni traditional ceremony of Senior Chief Mukuni and the Lwiindi Gonde of Chief Monze where United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema has been in attendance.
Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Lawrence Sichalwe said in interview yesterday that it will be difficult for Government to work with chiefs who do not want to collaborate with it.
“Traditional leaders are agents of Government and that’s why we pay them subsidies. Chiefs who don’t want to work with us should forfeit what they are benefiting from Government, ” he said
Meanwhile , UPND President Hakainde Hichilema has called on the country to remain united even amidst divisive calls by those who may not value oneness.
“We are one people, as country we must remain united and work towards alleviating poverty, no arrests on those with dissent will shape our country’s development agenda, even when hate and hurt speech, arrests are done on any of us in the country by those who do not value oneness, we must not be shaken because we outnumber them,” said Mr. Hichilema.
Mr. Hichilema reiterated that the country needs peace for development while emphasising that arrests on citizens with dissent will not in any way foster development but tension.
Mr. Hichilema also emphasized the need to restore the rule of law in the country and enable citizens enjoy their fundamental basic human rights.
“Arresting Hakainde or any one else unlawfully in the country is not development, because the country will always side with progressive and development focused not those oppressing others, our people have no food, medicine, education and all and surely you can’t keep suppressing them because they have rights,” added Mr Hichilema.
Mr. Hichilema who attended the Gonde Lwiindi ceremony in Monze yesterday afternoon also bemoaned poor maize prices and the underperforming agriculture sector.
The UPND President sympathized with the farmers but called on them not to relent but remain hopeful.
Mr. Hichilema added that the country must continue joining hands in celebrating various traditional ceremonies as this will help shape the future.
“We must not forget where we are coming from, history help us as a people to shape our future,”said Mr Hichilema.
The Gonde Lwiindi ceremony which took place yesterday in Monze, was attended by hundreds of people from various parts of the country.