THE Government has been challenged to find a lasting solution to the Western Province impasse involving the Lozis, Nkoyas and Mbundas.
Mbunda Royal Council chairman Biemba Maliti said the Mbundas make up the majority of the population of Western Province, and that qualified them to be major stakeholders in the province. Dr Maliti said since Mbundas were in the majority tribe in Western Province, they deserved recognition because they constituted the majority of the population.
“The demographic distribution of the Western Province is Mbundas 48 percent, Lozis 34 percent, Nkoyas 14 percent and others two percent. But despite this demographic distribution, only the Lozis are ever considered by the Government for consultation and this is the genesis of the perpetual problems concerning the Western Province. There are three royal establishments in the Western Province, thus the Barotse, Mbunda, and Nkoya,” he said.
Dr Maliti said it would be fair if the Government could handle the province like it does areas such as Eastern and North Western provinces to restore peace, harmony, stability and development.
The revelation follows demands by the Nkoya-speaking people in Kaoma district who want Western Province delimited into two provinces.
Dr Maliti accused the Government of being the genesis of the perpetual problems concerning the Western Province because of its failure to address the situation at hand.
He said there was partiality in the way the Government was discharging its duty in the province, saying the fact could not be denied that the Lozis have dominated all other tribes in the region.
Dr Maliti said the Government should be assisted to come up with a lasting solution to the Western Province issues which would satisfy all the people of that region.
He said Zambia had 73 tribes which have coexisted since time immemorial, notwithstanding the tribal wars, conflicts and expansionary ambitions of each tribe, adding that the situation should be addressed immediately.
But Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Joseph Katema said in a telephone interview that the Government was not aware of the development emanating in Western Province at the moment.
And Kaoma Central member of Parliament Antonio Carlos said the demands were justifiable and that there was nothing wrong with having an 11th province because that would work to the advantage of the people who were not benefiting from the national cake.
Mr Carlos said the province faced challenges because it was vast and that not all the people felt they were benefitting.
He said decentralisation was key to development and that having new created districts would help to locate some boundaries in between.
“As a lawmaker for Kaoma Central, I have no problems with the demands by the people because it was the only way to reach development to all the people,” he said.
Mr Carlos explained having sizable area was manageable so that development flowed to all parts of the districts.