Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister, Lawrence Sichalwe says government has demonstrated enhanced political will in improving the welfare of traditional leaders in the country.
And the Shikabeta and Mpanshya Royal Establishments in Rufunsa district in Lusaka Province have paid tribute to government for developing the district.
Meanwhile, Rufunsa District Commissioner (DC), Judith Chama has implored the Shikabeta and Mpanshya Royal Establishments to assist government in taking good care of the palaces as they are public property.
Mr. Sichalwe noted that the interaction brought to the fore some of the challenges that chiefs are facing such as lack of decent accommodation commensurate to their status in society.
He said this when he officially handed over two modern institutional palaces to the Shikabeta and Mpanshya Royal Establishments, built at a combined total of K 2 million.
“It is against this background that in 2014, Government approved the construction of Palaces across the country. Due to scarcity of resources, Government adopted a phased approach in the construction of Palaces,” he said.
He explained that under phase one of the project, Government is constructing thirty palaces across the country translating into three palaces per Province.
“These palaces will be institutional houses meaning that successive Chiefs will occupy the houses. So in Lusaka Province three palaces namely Nkomeshya Palace, Mpanshya Palace and Shikabeta Palace have been constructed. The build up to this day hasn’t been an easy road as the construction of these palace faced challenges,” he added.
Mr. Sichalwe pledged that government will continue providing logistical support to the institution of Chieftaincy so that its participation in development and governance continues to be enhanced.
And speaking at the same function, Shikabeta Royal Establishment Spokesperson, Agness Shikabeta-Kalonga said the construction of institutional palaces for all traditional leaders across the country will restore the dignity of chiefs who have been living in dilapidated houses.
Mrs. Kalonga said the creation of Rufunsa as a district is bearing fruits as evident by the massive development that government has taken to the area.
She cited the construction of the two modern palaces, the ongoing construction of a modern a civil centre, district administration and civil servants accommodation as some of the projects that have changed the face of the district.
“Shikabeta Central Primary School has been upgraded into a fully-fledged secondary school, we have also been given a modern clinic and construction of communication towers to improve connectivity,” she said.
“We have also been receiving relief food occasionally due to crop failure as a result of a partial drought we experienced in the 2017/2018 farming season.
And receiving the palaces on behalf of the Mpanshya Royal Establishment, Lucia Mpanshya said government needs the support of all Zambians because it’s
delivering on its mandate.
Ms. Mpanshya said the people of Rufunsa district will remain indebted to the government for bettering the welfare of the rural people through its pro poor policies.
Meanwhile, Rufunsa DC, Judith Chama, reminded the two royal establishments and their subjects that the palaces are institutional houses that will be occupied by serving chiefs.