President Edgar Lungu has urged the country’s well-to-do citizens to join Government’s quest to improve the living standards of chiefs.
President Lungu said it was disheartening that some traditional leaderships were living in squalor yet they had wealthy subjects within their chiefdoms.
“We are aware of the needs for palaces and transport for chiefs but due to the limited resources, the provision of these needs by Government may seem to slacken. So my appeal goes out to our partners in development to come on board and help us meet these needs quickly,” the President said.
The President said this when he paid a courtesy call on 10 Central Province chiefs representing Luano and Mkushi Districts.
Speaking through Chief Shaibila of the Lala people, the traditional leaders expressed concern about the delayed completion of three chiefs’ palaces under construction in the province.
The traditional leaders also complained about the lack of transport for chiefs, the slow pace of developing Luano District and some stalled road projects.
Among these were the rural roads connectivity project and the Piccadilly Circus Road which is expected to benefit six chiefs.
The traditional leaders also appealed for dams and boreholes for water resource provision.
The President said resources to complete the three palaces had been released and he would engage the relevant ministries about the pending projects.
He thanked the traditional leaders for acknowledging that the Government was doing something about improving their welfare and he would constantly monitor the pace at which projects were being implemented.
Mr Lungu urged traditional leaders to work closely with their area parliamentarians as a way of making their challenges known to the Government.
The President said Article 165 of the Constitution Amendment Bill Number 10 of 2019 was cardinal in addressing the concerns of chiefs around succession dispute resolution.
President Lungu said the proliferation of chieftaincy was of concern to the Government but the Bill was designed to cure the practice.
Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga informed the president that the traditional leaders had been very supportive of Government’s development agenda.
Mr Mushanga said whenever called upon, the chiefs provided amenities such as land for Government to establish various infrastructure for use by the people.
Chief Shaibila, who is also Central Province Council of Chiefs vice-chairperson, urged the president to fund the surveyor general’s office so as to address boundary disputes in the chiefdoms.
The traditional leaders thanked President Lungu for the early distribution of farming inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
They expressed hope that the president would ensure that the Government responded swiftly to the challenges that they presented.
Joining chief Shaibila were; senior chief Mboroma and chiefs Chembe, Mukonchi and Chitina.
Others were chiefs Mboshya, Kaundula, Kanyesha, Mulungwe and Chikupili.