THE refusal by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to recognise and gazette Henry Kanyanta Sosala as Paramount Chief Chitimukulu has been the greatest embarrassment to the Bemba Royal Establishment, United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has charged.
Mr Hichilema said for the last three years the Chitimukulu had been a victim of harassment, torture and slander by the PF Government and it was surprising that the ruling party was now promising to recognise the traditional leader because they were pleading for votes from the Bemba chiefdom.
Mr Hichilema said it was the PF Government that had threatened to arrest Henry Kanyanta Sosala because according to them, the Chitimukulu was masquerading as the traditional leader of the Bemba people of Northern Province.
Speaking when he met Paramount Chief Chitimukulu for the second time on his campaign trail, Mr Hichilema reiterated that should Zambians give him the opportunity to govern the country after the January presidential election, he would ensure that government did not interfere with the selection and succession process of traditional leaders.
He said his Government would ensure that traditional leaders were respected because they were a critical part of the good governance system apart from being custodians of the country’s culture and draditional values.
He said the selection of chiefs was the preserve of traditional leadership such as the traditional council of the Bashilubemba, adding that he had committed himself to respect his pledge by formerly writing the Chitimukulu about his decision to gazette him as the ruler of the Bemba-speaking people.
Mr. Hichilema said his job would be to look after all Zambians regardless of where they came from, adding that he would greatly benefit from the wise counsel and guidance from traditional leaders as republican president if elected after next month’s presidential election.
“What has happened to the Bemba chiefdom is a great embarrassment to all of us. We want to unite Zambia and we can only develop the country with the help from traditional leadership,” Mr Hichilema said.
On Sunday, Kasama Central Member of Parliament Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba together with Mr. Hichilema and his entourage that included Lunte MP Felix Mutati, Lubanseshi MP Patrick Mcheleka, former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa, UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango, attended a church service at St. John’s Cathedral in Kasama.
And addressing a rally in Kasama on Sunday at President’s Park, Mr Hichilema told the people that he would continue with the economic infrastructure development projects that were embarked on by the previous governments, including that of late President Michael Sata.
Mr. Hichilema highlighted the potential Northern Province had for tourism and how it could be nurtured for the benefit of local people and help create jobs, especially for the youths.
And Lubansenshi MP Mcheleka narrated how the people of Southern and Northern provinces previously joined hands in working together at critical times and that time had come for the two regions to work together again to liberate Zambia from its social and economic ills.
Former MMD national secretary Richard Kachingwe also threw his weight behind Mr. Hichilema and the UPND and told the people of Kasama that the wind of change was again blowing across Zambia and that the UPND was the vessel for development.
Former PF Eastern Province chairman Lameck Mangani also emphasized the need for the county to once more come together and unite behind the leadership of the UPND president.
Others who spoke included several MMD MPs that had flown for the Kasama rally including Elijah Muchima, Prof. Geoffrey Lungwangwa, Richard Mwanza and former Mkaika MP David Phiri.
Former first lady Mwanawasa described Mr. Hichilema as an energetic, intelligent and vibrant young leader who was a Messiah who would economically liberate and better the lives of the Zambian people.