Thursday, April 17, 2008
Mwanawasa intervenes, orders House of Chiefs...
By TIMES REPORTER
PRESIDENT Mwanawasa has directed the House of Chiefs to help resolve the chieftainship wrangles in Petauke. Chairperson, Chief Mumena, informed the house yesterday that the President had directed that a committee to look into the wrangles in Petauke should be constituted. He said the committee would also study the conflicts surrounding Paramount Chief Gawa Undi’s chiefdom of the Chewa in Katete district.
Chief Mumena said a committee was formed and would start operating as soon as logistics and terms of reference had been discussed.
He said he was confident that the committee would succeed in its mission because the house had in the past managed to resolve such differences.
The seven-member committee comprises Chiefs Ntambu, Shaibila, Simaamba, Nsamba,Chinakila, Kashiba, and Chieftainess Chiawa.
And Local Government and Housing Minister Sylvia Masebo has advised chiefs to be mindful of their traditions and culture when demanding for anything from the Government.
Ms Masebo, who yesterday witnessed the debate of two motions in the house, said this after the chiefs demanded that the Government should build modern palaces besides renovating dilapidated ones.
She said some traditional rulers shunned the same palaces after the death of a chief.
The minister said the Government needed to know how many of the 286 chiefs were
“modernised” because some records at the ministry showed that some of them could not live in brick houses according to their traditions.
She said the Government at times experienced problems in handling matters of some chiefs who died at the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka in view of claims that their bodies could not be taken to the mortuary.
Ms Masebo said as could be demonstrated by the motor vehicles that had been bought for them, the Government cared for and respected chiefs and in situations where it failed to provide for them it was because of financial constraints.
She said as the Government had embarked on a programme to build houses, the traditional rulers should surrender land for the project as some of them were refusing to offer land for development.
About the call for Government to provide clean and safe drinking water in rural areas, Ms Masebo said the Government had formulated a strategic plan to reduce distances to water points.
The exercise was expected to take about 10 years and would cost K923 billion.
She said traditional rulers should encourage their subjects to have fixed villages to make it easier for the Government to provide water especially that communities would be involved in the exercise.