NO chief from Southern Province is advocating secession and any such calls from any part of the region will not be supported because Zambia shall forever remain a unitary State, Chief Chikanta of Kalomo district has vowed.
And Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni- speaking people says it is sad that some traditional leaders in Southern Province have resolved to call for secession of the province because of Patriotic Front secretary general Davis Chama’s alleged tribunal remarks against the Tongas.
Chief Chikanta said although the traditional leadership was angry with Patriotic Front (PF) secretary general Davis Chama’s offensive tribal remarks, it was unthinkable for anyone to advocate secession.
Chief Chikanta said the traditional leadership in Southern Province were concerned that the PF leadership had failed to censure and discipline Mr Chama over his divisive and tribal statements.
He told the Daily Nation that Zambia has had traditional leaders under different governments and that this was the first time that the people of Southern Province had been ridiculed in the manner Mr Chama did.
Chief Chikanta said Southern Province would not have to wait for 100 years for it to produce a president and that Mr Chama should consciously reflect on his derogatory statement against the Tongas because as a leader and Zambian he should endeavour to promote peace and unity in the country.
“No chief in Southern Province is talking about secession and we are not going to support anyone advocating that we should secede from Zambia. We are one and Southern Province will remain part of Zambia no matter how deep the differences between the serving Government and the traditional leadership. Our concern however is that Mr Chama has not been censured over his offensive and divisive remarks. We do not have to wait for 100 years to produce a president and leaders are not produced by the region but by Zambians,” Chief Chikanta said.
The traditional leader said the chief would be meeting Southern Province Minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu to register their displeasure over Mr Chama’s remarks.
He said it was heartening that President Edgar Lungu had called for dialogue but that the chiefs had decided to confer with the provincial leadership on Friday this week before seeking audience with the Head of State.
In an interview with the Daily Nation yesterday, Paramount Chief Mpezeni said the route traditional leaders from Southern Province were contemplating was a recipe for anarchy in the country and should not be encouraged.
He said it was unacceptable for traditional leaders in Southern Province to advocate a process which would take the country back 50 years.
The Mpezeni said the people of Southern Province should embrace dialogue in order to address any concerns they had with Government, adding that if they felt offended, there was a way to approach those in leadership rather than going for secession.
And Government has warned against advocating that Southern Province should secede from the rest of Zambia because such calls had the potential to divide the country has been united since.
Chief Government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili, told a media briefing at his residence in Lusaka yesterday that Government was disappointed that a small clique, purporting to represent the wider majority of people of Southern Province wanted to ride on one individual’s comments to justify why they should secede from the unitary State of Zambia.
Mr Kambwili warned people advocating for the secession of Southern Province that it was criminal for anyone to call for the dismembering of the country under Zambian Laws.
He said, Chapter 7 of the Penal Code under (c) was very clear that; “A person is guilty of treason and shall be liable to suffer death who (c) prepares or endeavours to procure by force the setting up of an independent state in any part of Zambia or the secession of any part of Zambia from the Republic.”