By Tovin Ngombe in Sinazongwe
Tuesday March 27, 2007 [02:00]
Chief Sinazongwe of the Tonga people has said investors exploiting natural resources in his chiefdom will have to start paying royalties to ease the high poverty levels in the district. At the launch of the Maliko Community Development Trust at his palace, chief Sinazongwe said he could not continue begging from investors.
"I have been a stupid chief without having a traditional constitution. From now, no investor will get free land and they will be paying royalties either monthly or yearly. All business of any kind will have to pay royalties," he said. He said he was not proud to be chief with the poor infrastructure in the district which had not been developed for the past 48 years. Chief Sinazongwe said his chiefdom had no hospital, high school, good roads, and no good government infrastructure or electricity in the villages. He said the only infrastructure the district had was the Boma office and the Fisheries Training Centre.
Chief Sinazongwe said out of the 1,500 people in his chiefdom, he was the only one who had electricity. "I cannot be happy, I have no power in my villages. I cannot go to Kafwambila because the road is impassable. I cannot cross the Lake Kariba to visit my brothers because I have no means," chief Sinazongwe said.
He said Maliko Community Development Trust would be in charge of collecting royalties on behalf of his chiefdom. Chief Sinazongwe said he would ensure that money realised from the royalties would be used for the intended purposes. He said the district should not continue to wallow in poverty when there were many investors reaping natural resources without paying back to the owners of the land.
"Why should we be suffering? Don't we have natural resources in the chiefdom? Even in villages you will be paying royalties, because you brew Kachasu, a local beer that is destructive to our people so two per cent of that should be for royalties," he said. Chief Sinazongwe said the trust, which was started in 2004, was now registered under the Registrar of Societies.
And Kapenta Fishing Association chairperson Johann Jordann said there was need to start paying royalties for the wellbeing of the district. Jordann, who is also the proprietor of Zongwe Farming Enterprise, urged the Trust to avoid overcharging them as this would hinder future development in the district.