CHIEF Puta has demanded the immediate removal of Luapula Province minister Benson Kapaya who he has accused of campaigning against President Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front but the minister has dismissed the accusation, saying the traditional leader is UPND sympathiser.
Chief Puta of the Bwile people in Chiengi is angry that Brig General Kapaya was allegedly engaged in activities that were inimical to the principles and beliefs of the ruling party and has charged that the PF was becoming unpopular because of the provincial minister.
He told the Daily Nation that Brig. Gen. Kapaya has allegedly vowed that Chiengi district and the entire Luapula Province would never see real development as long as he would remain the minister.
Chief Puta said Brig. Gen. Kapaya had never visited his constituency and that he had allegedly refused to be involved in any of the activities in his constituency for unknown reasons.
He said although President Lungu was a popular and likeable leader, some of his members of Parliament and ministers were bringing the name of the Head of State down by deliberately frustrating his efforts to deliver on his campaign pledges.
The traditional leader accused the MP of clandestinely working against his chiefdom and his subjects by refusing to solicit for developmental programmes in his constituency.
Chief Put said the people of Luapula and Chiengi in particular had given President Lungu more than 80 percent of the votes in the January presidential election and their desire was to see the region benefit from the countrywide economic infrastructure development currently taking place.
But Brigadier General Kapaya said Chief Puta was a UPND supporter who had now realigned himself to the PF and wanted some people he came with from UPND to take over from him.
“My brother, it is personal. If you followed the January elections, you will agree with me that the chief was supporting UPND. After UPND lost the elections, he decided to realign himself to the PF. He came with some people from the UPND whom he wants to take over from me.
“He is rushing to the media to paint me as a bad person so that everyone can think that I am untrustworthy and if he can succeed in doing so, then it will be easy for him to bring on board those people that he wants,” he said.
Brig. Gen. Kapaya said it was unfortunate that the chief had resorted to divisive tendencies even in his chiefdom.
“He has also been accusing me of bringing confusion in the chiefdom, and really, how can I bring confusion in his chiefdom?
He just has personal issues against me that is why I have decided to distance myself from attending the traditional ceremony today (yesterday) because I have information that he wanted to use the occasion to embarrass me and since I don’t want problems with anyone, I have decided to stay behind.
“These things did not start today; he started a long time ago and the good part is, the people that he has been having meetings with, in order to sort me out have been giving me the information that I should stay away if I did not want problems with the chief,” he said.
He explained that he had previously asked for meetings with the traditional leader in order to iron out their differences but that the chief had continuously turned down his requests for an appointment.
“So, why should I go there when he is threatening to embarrass me? I have tried time and again to ask for an appointment to meet him but he has always refused. So, what should I do? If he doesn’t want us to talk to me, I will keep away because I don’t want trouble with him,” he explained.
He explained that there was no way he could camp against the PF, the party he had served so well and helped to come into power.
“De-campaigning the PF so that I go to which party? He just has a problem with me and now he wants to use the media in order to achieve his personal ambition of getting rid of me. He was in UPND and now is in PF and already causing problems because he wants to create space for his people he came with from UPND,” he said.