Minister ‘fires’ at chief

LUAPULA Province Minister Benson Kapaya has accused Chief Puta of the Bwile people in Chiengi of fomenting political divisions in his chiefdom by allegedly launching a malicious campaign against his political career.
But Chief Puta has branded Brig Gen Kapaya a ‘‘foreigner’’ who is working at putting a wedge between the Bwile people of Chiengi and President Edgar Lungu by claiming that the traditional leader was a sympathizer of the United Party for National Development (UPND).
Brigadier General Kapaya alleged that Chief Puta was fighting him because the traditional leader was allegedly campaigning for his preferred candidate to contest the Chiengi seat in the 2016 general elections.
He accused Chief Puta of working to destroy his name (Kapaya) so that he could not be re-adopted in the 2016 general elections.
Brig Gen Kapaya said he did not want to be seen to be quarreling with Chief Puta by responding to his allegations but branded the traditional leader a liar who was determined to destroy his political career.
He alleged that Chief Puta was working with someone who was aspiring to contest the Chiengi seat on the PF ticket in 2016 and had embarked on a malicious and slander campaign against him (Kapaya).
The Luapula Province minister maintained his allegations that Chief Puta campaigned for UPND president Hakainde Hichilema in the January presidential election and that after President Lungu won, the traditional leader was attempting to win the favour of the Head of State.
Brig Gen Kapaya said Chief Puta was deliberately provoking him so that the traditional leader could find a reason to brand him disrespectful if he was going to respond to the attacks.
“It is not a secret that Chief Puta campaigned for the UPND in the last presidential election and now that President Lungu won, he is trying to come back. The chief is cheating and the aim is that he wants to facilitate the adoption of his own preferred candidate next year to contest year. I do not want to be seen to be quarreling with the Chief…Ifyamusango ifi awe. You can see the direction the Chief is taking and its nothing but just to bring my name into disrepute. He wants to provoke me so that when I respond, he should say I do not respect him,” he said.
But Chief Puta denied allegations that he was a United Party for National Development (UPND) sympathizer and that as a traditional leader, he was not aligned to any political party but his allegiance was with the Government of the day.
Chief Puta warned that if Brig Gen Kapaya was going to continue to politically scandalize him, he was going to expose him (Kapaya).
The traditional leader said at no time did he belong to the UPND nor campaigned for its candidate in the January presidential election but that the Chiengi MP had become politically disillusioned and was working against President Edgar Lungu and the people of Chiengi.
Chief Puta said it was not true that he was supporting the UPND stating that as a traditional leader, he was not going to make his chiefdom to be inclined to a political party his subjects were of different political opinions.
The traditional leader said he was fully aware of the parental roots of Brig Gen Kapaya warning that the Luapula Province Minister should not push his luck too far because he risked being exposed about his origins.
“I have never directly or indirectly belonged to any political party as Chief Puta. As a traditional leader, I have always worked with the Government of the day and the Minister (Kapaya) should check his words because if he continues being careless, I will reveal his true identity because I know is not Zambian. Ask him to tell you where he came from. He is just bringing confusion in Chiengi and working at setting me against President Lungu,” Chief Puta said.

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