Chiefs demand gratuity, better conditions

THE House of Chiefs has appealed to Government to consider introducing gratuity for its members as their term of office was equivalent to that of Members of Parliament.  

And the House of Chiefs has demanded that the new proposed land policy should immediately be withdrawn because some of its contents were controversial and had the potential to take away the authority over land from the traditional leadership.

New House of Chiefs chairperson Chief Ntambu of Mwinilunga said Government should consider paying members of the House of Chiefs gratuity as was the case with Members of Parliament.

The new House of Chiefs members paid a courtesy call on President Edgar Lungu yesterday to introduce themselves and laid before the Head of State a range of issues they wish addressed.

Chief Ntambu said it was important to motivate members of the House of Chiefs and that at the end of their term, there was need to appreciate their contribution to the governance of the country.

Traditional leaders also want their monthly allowances increased in light of the economic realities obtaining in the country.

He told President Lungu that the allowances for members of the House of Chiefs had not been reviewed for a long time and that Government should improve their conditions.

Chief Ntambu also said there was need for Government to consider raising sitting allowances for members of the House of Chiefs which had remained static for a long time.

“Members of the House of Chiefs serve for a term of five years and it is our appeal that Government should consider introducing gratuity for the members to motivate them. It is also time for Government to raise the subsidies for the chiefs and move with time.

‘‘Sitting allowances for members have remained the same for a long time. It is also important that there should be a separate budget line for the House of Chiefs if we have to operate effectively,” Chief Ntambu said.

And President Lungu said the proposed draft land policy was meant for chiefs to read and submit their proposals and that if they were not happy with some of the contents, Government was ready to listen and discuss.

President Lungu said there would be no chiefdom without land and that it was the desire of Government that the traditional leadership presided over traditional land.

He said Government would adopt what the traditional leadership would decide over the draft land policy, and it was unfortunate that some politicians had started politicising the issue.

He said some politicians were going round the country misleading traditional leaders that Government was about to grab their authority over traditional land.

And President Lungu reiterated that as Head of State, he had no power to recognise and gazette chiefs as that the authority had become the preserve of the traditional leadership.

He said some leaders had abused the law of the executive of recognising and gazetting chiefs and that some of the traditional leaders were appointed on the basis of political expediency.

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