CHIEF Ishima Sanken’i VI of Zambezi says chiefs are intervening in what is happening in the country because the PF is abusing the power that Zambians gave them.
And chief Ishima says home affairs minister Steven Kampyongo is uncultured.
Chief Ishima was among the traditional leaders who on Monday addressed journalists and spoke against the incarceration of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
He said in an interview that he was not an illiterate leader who spoke without analysing issues in the country.
Chief Ishima said he was a university graduate with a Master in Public Administration and a Degree in Education hence would not speak on matters he did not understand.
He said chiefs by nature were politicians who since time immemorial had been leading, unlike political leadership, which unfortunately was being abused.
We cannot sit down idle on the bench or in the sun, sun basking when the situation in the country is not okay. Kampyongo must know that some of us chiefs are very educated. I don’t know whether he himself went to the university. We are not just common chiefs with no education who just sit in palaces. I have a second degree from the University of Zambia. I also have a masters degree from the same university,
chief Ishima said. “So we are educated chiefs who analyse these issues. We are looking at the situation in the country which is not conducive and that is why we speak. Politicians have turned even our traditional ceremonies, if you look at it, into battlegrounds. We are not happy and when we are not happy, when our children are fighting, we have a role to make peace and us we came in a very peaceful way. We are trying to say that if there are any problems between HH and Lungu, or UPND and PF, the best way to solve these problems is through dialogue. Let these people sit down and see where the problem is.”
He said PF had failed to govern the country and that was why chiefs were prompted to intervene.
He further said Zambians had given power to the leaders, which they were misusing and mismanaging.
We have given them power which unfortunately they are misusing and have failed to govern the country and that is why we have come in, chief Ishima said.
And chief Ishima said Kampyongo had no authority to respond to chiefs’ concerns and tell them off.
He said it was sad that people like Kampyongo showed that they were uncultured to respond to traditional leaders in the manner he did.
“I want to tell Kampyongo that as a historian, the institution of chieftainship was there even before the white man came. Kampyongo should know that Africa was ruled and governed by chiefs or kings and that is politics. He does not know that there were no political parties then; what political parties were there? I am now talking as a historian. Chiefs were there, we are still there and we shall still be there,” chief Ishima said.
We are not taking a political stance but we are just concerned. We are not just happy about what the country has become. Do they understand when they say ‘One Zambia, One Nation’? We are all connected. If we are saying we are one Zambia, One nation and a democratic country, a Christian nation, then let us live based on tenets of those beliefs.
He warned Kampyongo not to threaten chiefs who were simply concerned about the country.
“For him to start threatening us, we will not tolerate it. I know some of these are very uncultured children who are not able to listen and [they can] even insult chiefs. They are poorly cultured [in their] upbringing,” said chief Ishima.
We are not speaking from without, we are simply not happy. They are supposed to be talking about issues of bringing food on the table but then the situation in the country is bad and it’s not right for us as chiefs to simply sit down with our hands folded leaving the country to go to waste.
After a briefing by chiefs at Hichilema’s residence, Kampyongo said it was unfair and unfortunate for chiefs from Southern Province to issue threats to the government following the arrest of the opposition leader. Kampyongo said the traditional leadership in the province ought to know that the UPND leader was not above the law and that it was up to the courts of law to prove him innocent.
He said the chiefs should not be seen to be taking sides in politics because their role was to provide guidance and not to be partisan.
Kampyongo said the traditional leadership would be doing the nation a disservice if it continued “with this kind of antagonism”.