TRADITIONAL leaders in Southern Province have decreed that they will not condone political hooliganism and disrespect to the office of President because Zambia is a peaceful and civilized democratic country.
And the chiefs in the region have advised President Edgar Lungu to ignore the perception that people in the region do not like him but strive to develop the area just like any part of the country.
Speaking during a meeting with President Lungu in Zimba yesterday, the traditional leaders, who spoke through Chief Siachitema, said they were grateful that the Head of State had continued visiting the area despite the perception that had been created that people did not want him.
Chief Siachitema said it was not possible that all the people in the province would love him but called on the President to ignore people with negative attitude towards him because as a leader, he needed to bring his perceived enemies closer to break the barrier.
He said while God created Zambians according to tribes, there was need for people to co-exist because they were one and advised the President to look at people in the province as his own by addressing the challenges they were going through.
He said the chiefs were grateful that their request that President Lungu should be visiting the province to familiarise himself with the challenges that the people were facing was accepted.
“I personally asked you not to neglect this province and you have been coming to visit us and we are asking you not to listen to people who are saying that we do not want you here.
“It is not possible that all people across the country will love you but that does not mean that you should neglect us. Southern Province also needs development just like any other area and so, we want you to work with us. Let us co-exist,” chief Siachitema said.
And President Lungu said the traditional leaders had played a critical role in helping maintain peace in the country.
He said the call by traditional leaders to end violence had been heeded by the majority of Zambians who had changed their attitude even though there were still bad elements.
“I wish to thank you for helping us maintain peace. Your messages to the people are sinking on the need to end violence and going forward, since this is a democracy, people have a right to choose which party they would like to belong to without fighting.
“People are now beginning to appreciate that they have the right to choose parties of their choice without killing each other. The message has been taken but there still are few bad elements which am sure will be mopped up with the passage of time,” President Lungu said.
He stated that the meeting called last week by the church in trying to end political violence was successful and assured the traditional leaders that he would uphold the resolutions of the Indaba.
He also said contrary to perception that he was fixing some of his political opponents who were in court for various charges, he has never interfered with the operations of the Zambia Police or the courts.