Police on Tuesday raided Senior Chief Madzimawe’s palace in Chipata and confiscated about 19 mukula logs on suspicion that the traditional leader and Paramount Chief Mpezeni were involved in illegal trading of the tree.
The raid on the palace has hangered Chief Madzimawe and his subjects who have described the Police’s action as uncalled for when it was public knowledge that traditional leaders had been keeping the trees after confiscating them from illegal traders.
He said the recent police raid was unwarranted and uncalled for because it was no longer a secret that the Chief had confiscated and was in possession of loads of the tree within the palace grounds.
“It is not a secret that at the palace we have been keeping mukula logs, and those who wish to get good footage should at least come ‘‘muzuba’’ (during the day) so that you know how many logs I am keeping. I have been posting photographs on Facebook showing some of the logs we have confiscated,” he said.
And the Ngoni Royal Establishment (NRE) has rubbished claims that Paramount Chief Mpezeni was involved in illegal deals involving the Mukula tree.
NRE representative Isaac Mwanza said that reports attributed to some Government officials and the Zambia Police that His Royal Highness Chief Madzimawe and Nkhosi Ya Mankhosi, Paramount Chief Mpezeni, were involved in the illegal trading of Mukula tree were untrue.
“The raid is not only annoying but an insult to His Royal Highness. We also find the malicious conduct of those government officials who sold the footage of the raid and included Paramount Chief Mpezeni unbecoming of professional Government workers and we wish to warn them that the Ngoni people will not allow any malice targeted at both Paramount Chief Mpezeni and Senior Chief Madzimawe.
“We are aware that the Office of the District Commissioner in Chipata can bear witness to the effort of Chief Madzimawe to stop this illegal cutting, trading and transportation of the Mukula tree at a time when the Zambia Police and these security wings have done nothing to help curb this illegal practice and business,” he said.
Mr Mwanza called on the two traditional rulers not to relent in bringing the problem of the Mukula tree to an end within their chiefdoms.