By Nation Reporter
A TRADITIONIST has lambasted Chief Mukuni of the Toka Leya people of Southern Province for alleging that the pay rise given to chiefs by Governmnet was aimed at enticing them to support the ruling party ahead of the August 11 elections.
The chief has also been challenged to explain his wealth and shares he secured in the privatisation of Livingstone Inter-Continental Hotel when Dipak Patel was commerce minister and Hakainde Hichilema was involved in the privatisation programme.
Commenting on the statement attributed to Chief Mukuni that the just effected upward adjustment of chiefs’ salaries was aimed at enticing traditional leaders to support the ruling party, Gladys Mwenda described the report as unfortunate, adding that it did not befit a respected traditional leader like Chief Mukuni.
Ms. Mwenda said the statement did not contain any logic because chiefs deserved decent salaries, adding that the increment in their salaries could not corrupt their moral judgement on what they stood for.
She said chiefs were respectable people who deserved the best from the Governmnet and that salary increments would never be used to divert their attention as they still had the moral conscience to vote for the people they thought would make life better for their subjects.
She said it was wrong for Chief Mukuni to politicise and trivialise government’s decision to increase salaries for the chiefs because it was an indication that it attached great importance to their well-being, adding that dangling money to woo their support was the cheapest ploy that no Governmnet would employ to win votes.
“Chief Mukuni should not irritate us by making statements that don’t make sense. Can our chiefs really be enticed? Can our beloved traditional rulers, who are full of wisdom and in whom we place so much faith be enticed? Can the pay rise really cause them to abandon their morals and vote for anyone? “I would believe that they would just accept the pay rise but vote with their conscience. We have been told that the chiefs have been asking for an increase in the allowance. So now that it has been given, some chiefs are crying foul.
It’s actually chief Mukuni and Nkomesha who are disrespecting the chiefs by implying that they are cheap people who can be bought with a few pieces of silver,” said Ms. Mwenda.
Last week, Governmnet increased salaries of chiefs by over 180 percent with immediate effect, a move that has raised dust from some sections of society especially the opposition and its sympathisers who are claiming that the move was aimed at soliciting for votes in this year’s election.
The adjustment would see chiefs who had been getting as low as K4,000 now get K15, 000, K12,500 and K10,000 for paramount, senior and ordinally chiefs respectively.