Mbunda activists write to Lungu over ‘intimidation’

THE Mbunda Royal Establishment has written to President Edgar Lungu asking him to remove civil servants alleged to have been abusing their authority in Western Province.

Mbunda Royal Establishment (MRE) spokesperson Kennedy Liale claimed in the letter that the civil servants were intimidating and threatening their chiefs with arrests.

He claims Article 165 of the amended Constitution provides that the Government or any other person or authority has no role to play in matters of tradition except the respective traditional institutions.

Recently, the representatives of the Mbunda people in Western Province held an indaba at Chief Chiengele’s palace to iron out various matters affecting the Mbundas in the region.

But Western provincial chiefs and traditional affairs office says that the chiefs in the region do not represent any tribal group but the people residing in a given chiefdom, a remark which has annoyed the Mbundas who accused the Barotse Royal Establishment of having control over the civil servants who were allegedly biased towards other tribes.

Mr Mubanga accused the BRE of having sponsored a group of people to rise against the Mbundas, saying the police officers were not fair and breached the provision of the Constitution.

“I may wish to remind your Excellency that this is an election year in which we expect a crucial election and therefore it is not wise to keep around public officers who deliberately antagonize the electorate in a critical election such as this one,” Mr Mubanga said.

But the Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers’ Association, that revived and protects the cultural heritage and tradition of the Mbunda people in Zambia, said claims by the Mbunda Royal Establishment have no consensus among the Mbunda people, therefore they did not represent all the Mbunda people since not all Mbunda chiefs were members of the so-called MRE.

Association chairman Ndandula Libingi said Mbunda chiefs were received by King Mulambwa of Barotseland when they arrived from Angola where they were persecuted by the Portuguese colonialists and given land on which to settle as well as their areas of jurisdiction.

Mr Libingi said the so-called Mbunda Royal Establishment must not blame anyone for the present status quo of Mbunda chiefs in Western Province because the authority to install a Mbunda chief still rests with the Litunga as the custodian of the land.

“The position of Cheke Cha Mbunda as custodians of the researched Mbunda history is that as we have repeatedly explained, the so claimed Mbunda Royal Establishment has no consensus among the Mbunda people and therefore it does not represent all the Mbunda people since not all Mbunda chiefs are involved.  Mr Libingi said the current status quo was that there was no Mbunda chief in Western Province with the authority to install the other, adding that not even King Mbandu of the Mbunda people in Angola had the authority over Mbunda chiefs in Zambia.

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