Lamba chiefs demand mineral royalties, reject Bemba

Lamba chiefs on the Copperbelt have demanded that investors involved in gemstone mining in their chiefdoms should with immediate effect begin paying royalties to the Copperbelt Royal Council of the Chiefs. They have also rejected Bemba as a medium of instruction in primary schools in the region.

In a statement signed by Copperbelt Royal Council of Chiefs chairman Senior Chief Chiwala, all the 15 Lamba chiefs on the Copperbelt Province have resolved that investors in the gemstone mining should start remitting royalties to the royal council because the chiefdoms had not been benefiting from the mining of precious mineral in the area.

The Lamba traditional leadership demanded that all the unpaid royalties for the last ten years should now be remitted to the Copperbelt Royal Council of Chiefs.

Senior Chief Chiwala said the traditional leadership on the Copperbelt had resolved that the process of issuing mining licences to prospective investors should be done with the involvement of the traditional leadership in the area.

“We, the Lamba chiefs have resolved that investors in gemstone mining in Lufwanyama district must start paying royalties to the Copperbelt Royal Council of Chiefs at the government agreed rate. In addition, the unpaid royalties to the council of chiefs for the past ten years by mining investors should be released to the Copperbelt Royal Council of Chiefs,” senior chief Chiwala said.

The 15 Lamba Chief have meanwhile maintained their position to reject the newly introduced government policy to use Bemba as the medium of instruction in all Copperbelt rural schools.

Government has announced new education reforms to teach all subjects in the vernacular from Grade 1 to 4 in all primary schools in Zambia. Government has selected seven Zambian languages which are also used on Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation (ZNBC) as the languages to be used for teaching in schools. On the Copperbelt which is Lambaland, Bemba has been proposed as the mode of instruction in schools both in urban and rural areas but the Lamba traditional leaders have strongly objected to the proposal because they do not want their children to learn Bemba. The chiefs said it was a violation of human rights to impose on the children the teaching of a vernacular language that was not their own mother tongue  and have demanded that government should immediately rescind its proposal and introduce Lamba as the medium of instruction on Copperbelt schools.The traditional leaders said they had noted with deep concern that the three rural districts on the Copperbelt (Lufwanyama, Mpongwe and Masaiti) but President Michael Sata had refused to create new districts by dividing the said districts.“We have refused and rejected the government policy that Bemba should be the medium of instruction in all primary schools on the Copperbelt. We have refused and rejected the policy because we cannot be foreigners in our own land. The children in Lambaland must be taught in Lamba. They shall not be taught in Bemba. Lambas have a big role to preserve their culture for the sake of posterity,” senior chief Chiwala said.

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