President Hakainde Hichilema has assured traditional leaders that government will protect traditional sites as they preserve cultural heritage.
President Hichilema guided that various ministries under his administration will ensure that heritage sites such as the Gonde Malende in Monze district are protected from deforestation and encroachment so that they are kept in existence.
President Hichilema assured that the issue of ground rent should not be a bother as the government will provide relief to affected heritage sites in the country.
Speaking during the Lwiindi Gonde Traditional Ceremony of the Tonga people in Monze district of Southern Province, the Head of State was impressed with the attendance of various chiefs from across the country.
President Hichilema noted that it was a sign of unity of purpose and diversity among people of different cultures.
He noted that is what his government stands for, delivering development which is premised on peace and tranquility.
The Head of State used Zambians to draw inspiration from Chief Monze Mukulukulu who chose a cob of maize instead of a gun when the colonials presented him with a decision to make.
He said the choice by Chief Monze Mukulukulu was a sign of development as he looked out for the agricultural benefits among his subjects and also a sign of peace.
The President was happy that all Zambians can now boast of enjoying the peaceful atmosphere created by his administration regardless of their political affiliation.
The Head of State however stressed the need for collaboration between government and traditional leaders as they all have the interest of the people at heart.
President Hichilema noted that no one is in competition with the other but wants the development of the country to benefit all Zambians.
“The traditional ceremonies, can we slant them to carry with the cultural aspects and heritage but also to carry the country’s development agenda,” President Hichilema stated.
He cited the various development projects such as free education policy among other successfully implemented empowerment initiatives during the 10 months under the United Party for National Development (UPND) administration.
The President said citizens should get used to such progressive development as government is determined to work for the aspirations of the Zambian people.
And Chief Monze implored the government to formulate workable policies that will improve the agriculture sector especially for small scale farmers.
The traditional leader observed that even though the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) is of good intention, it has not yielded positive results.
Chief Monze noted that a lot of cases of misallocation under FISP have been reported not just under his chiefdom but across the country while nothing tangible has been made.
The traditional ruler further observed that FISP is supposed to be a pass-on initiative where farmers graduate to the level which is not happening.
“The FISP seems to have failed because those intended to benefit from the scheme are still facing challenges,” Chief Monze said.
He pledged beneficial partnership with government so that projects meant for vulnerable Zambians yield the intended results.
Meanwhile Minister of Tourism, Rodney Sikumba was happy that people of Monze had plans to upgrade heritage sites such Gonde to international standards to attract tourists across the country.
Mr. Sikumba said his ministry was looking for international opportunities to showcase the various ceremonies as well as make minimal infrastructure development.
Speaking at the same event, Monze Member of Parliament, Jack Mwiimbu who is also Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security was happy with the unprecedented peaceful ceremony.
Mr. Mwiimbu announced that no violent case was reported so far.
Lwiindi Gonde Traditional Ceremony organizing Chairperson, Patrick Sikawala said the ceremony was being graced in two folds.
He acknowledged that President Hichilema was this time around not attending as a mere Patron of the ceremony but also the Head of State, adding that it was being held for the first time after Zambia was hit by the COVID 19 pandemic.