TRADITIONAL leaders have hailed President Edgar Lungu for having listened to their plight to increase their monthly subsidies and have said the move should not be viewed as a political gimmick to use chiefs to win the coming general elections.
Chiefs Puta and Chisunka said traditional leaders deserved to have their subsidies increased because their current stipend had been eroded by inflation and the fluctuation of the exchange rate.
Chief Chisunka said the increase of the subsidies had been long overdue and that President Lungu should be commended for having decided to ignore sentiments that the traditional leaders should not have their subsidies increased.
He said in an interview that it was not correct for Chieftainess Nkomesha II to castigate Government for increasing the subsidies for the traditional leaders because the adjustment was not meant to bribe chiefs to influence the outcome of the August general elections.
Chief Chisunka said traditional leaders worked like police officers and doctors and were on call for 24 hours and it was economically
correct for Government to consider increasing their subsidies.
He said it was disappointing that some traditional leaders could chose to play politics about the increase in the chiefs’ subsidies and advised that as custodians of the traditional authority, the chiefs should desist from attacking government because their role was to work with the Government of the day.
“The increase in our subsidies is long overdue and as chiefs, we deserve the increase. We have made several appeals and petitions to Government starting from the time president Michael Sata was in office. We should be thanking Government now for the decision and it is wrong for any chief at this time to play politics over the increase. We are supposed to work with the Government of the day and should not be seen to be taking partisan positions,” Chief Chisunka said.
He said it was inappropriate for any traditional leader to turn against Government’s decision to increase the subsidies when for a long time, the traditional leaders had been asking government to revise their stipend.
And Chief Puta said President Lungu should be commended because he was the only Head of State who had listened to the plight of the traditional leadership in the country.
The traditional leader said chief had been pushing Government to consider increasing their subsidies for a long time and that chiefs were happy that their appeal had been answered.
“We can only thank President Lungu for this gesture from Government because we have been pushing for this increase for a long time. It does not matter when it has come but the truth is that we deserve the increase. Some of us have been failing even to pay school fees for our children and the money has come at the right time. It is not possible for Government to buy us and we do not want to talk about politics because as for now, we are just watching,” Chief Puta said.