Thursday, April 17, 2008
By Sandra Mulowa and Agness Changala
Thursday April 17, 2008 [04:00]
SENIOR chief Kopa of Northern Province has asked government to consider giving chiefs loans to renovate and construct their palaces. And the House of Chiefs has constituted a team of seven chiefs to help resolve chieftainship wrangles in Petauke district including those involving paramount chief Gawa Undi's chiefdom.
Debating a motion moved by chief Hamusonde of Southern Province urging the government to construct palaces for chiefs and to renovate dilapidated ones, chief Kopa said it would be awkward to have good cars parked outside "thatched dilapidated palaces".
Chief Kopa's remark comes after an announcement that the government had purchased, through a loan, second hand vehicles for chiefs countrywide.
"Thatched houses can catch fire anytime and the vehicles can be affected. Government can also give us loans like it did with the vehicles so that we rehabilitate and construct new palaces," he said.
Other chiefs who contributed to the debate said many were living in shame and misery.
They said it was shameful for a minister, politician or president to visit a chief living in a palace that is "almost an insult". They also said it was an insult for flags to be placed at such deplorable thatched palaces.
The chiefs said some huts were so low that chiefs bend and sometimes hit their heads against the roofs when getting in and out of their palaces.
Chieftainess Chiyaba said she was living like a mad person because windows of her palace were broken during the liberation struggle.
She said she could not force her subjects to build a palace for her due to human rights. "We also need to have tiles and proper toilets," she said.
Chieftainess Nyakulenga of North Western Province wondered if it would be offline to use part of Constituency Development Funds to renovate palaces.
And local government minister Sylvia Masebo responding to senior chief Nzamane's motion urging the government to ensure provision of clean and safe drinking water in rural areas said the government was committed to ensuring that by 2015, accessibility to water was increased to 77 per cent from the current 37 per cent.
She urged the chiefs to revise the structure of their villages for placement of boreholes.