THE traditional leadership in North-Western Province has pledged its total support to President Edgar Lungu in his crusade to promote peace and unity in the country through the One Zambia One Nation motto.
The chiefs said they would not let President Lungu be the lone voice in preaching peace and unity and denouncing vices such as tribalism which were a threat to the unity Zambia was enjoying.
President Lungu yesterday met 32 chiefs from North-Western Province and discussed a range of developmental as well as governance.
The chiefs, led by Chief Ntambu who is vice chairperson of the House of Chiefs and Senior Chief Kanongesha, said they were happy with President Lungu’s style of governing the country, stating that the Head of State was a listening leader.
Chief Ntambu said Zambians should learn from other countries where there had been civil strife and other upheavals and should never allow their differences destroy the peace and unity the country had enjoyed since independence.
Chief Ntambu said most traditional leaders and their subjects were living along Zambia’s borders with other countries and had seen the miseries the people in those countries had gone through and would join President Lungu in propagating the messages of love and harmony alone.
The traditional leaders said they were encouraged that President Lungu had been to North-Western Province twice from the time he ascended to the presidency and that the Head of State had shown that he was a leader for all Zambians both in word and deed.
He commended President Lungu for listening to their demands to have the controversial land clause 296 in the Draft Constitution expunged because it had brought acrimony and antagonism between Government and the chiefdoms.
The chiefs also gave President Lungu a lowdown of the things they wanted done in the region among them being the construction of a bridge across the Zambezi River to link Zambezi West and Zambezi East.
Chief Ntambu said it was the common desire of the people of North-Western Province to have the provincial headquarters move from Solwezi to Mufumbwe which they said was more central.
He said North-Western Province was growing economically and there was need for the region to have a fully-fledged university and an agriculture college as well as a referral hospital.
The traditional leadership also complained that the road infrastructure in the region was bad and appealed to President Lungu to ensure that most of the roads were upgraded and tarred.
And President Lungu said chiefs were a critical part of the governance system and he would continue engaging them on how best the country should be run.
President Lungu said he had not invited the chiefs to State House to discuss politics but was aware that his critics were going to misconstrue his meeting with the traditional leaders as a campaign gimmick as there was a pending by-election in the region.
He said it had become a trend in Zambia where political contenders politicized everything but that he had called the chiefs to interact with them so that he could learn their priorities in development.
“I called you to State House so that we can interact but I know somebody will be saying I am politicking. I was in North-Western a while ago and it is a coincidence that you are here after the death of Humphrey Mwanza who was an MP in Solwezi East. Everything is political in this country but let us distance ourselves from politics in this meeting so that we can discuss your areas of priorities in development,” President Lungu said.
He said Government had embarked on a number of infrastructure development in the region and that the road network projects were under three phases and the chiefs should therefore be patient.