PRESIDENT Michael Sata has said the Government will continue placing chiefs and other traditional leaders at the centre of national development.
Mr Sata has also called on all the people to accord the chiefs the respect they deserved so they could effectively take part in the development agenda.
He said this in Lusaka yesterday when he met 10 Nsenga chiefs from Eastern Province, bringing the total number of traditional leaders he had met at State House to 54.
The chiefs that attended the meeting were Senior Chief Luembe, Senior Chief Mburuma, chief Sandwe, chieftainess Nyanje, Chief Nyamphande, Chieftainess Mwape, Chief Mumbi, Chieftainess Mwanjabantu, Chief Ndake, Chief Nyalugwe and some members of the Nsenga Cultural Association.
State House Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations, George Chella said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that during the meeting, President Sata directed Education Minister John Phiri to expedite the process of constructing secondary schools in chiefdoms.
He said the Government would ensure that sufficient resources were allocated to rural areas to facilitate the development of schools, hospitals, chiefs' palaces and roads among others.
President Sata also advised ministers and members of Parliament to be visiting chiefdoms whenever the House goes on recess.
The traditional leaders, who spoke through Chief Nyamphande, praised the President for revoking the recognition of Everson Mumba as senior chief Kalindawalo of the Nsenga people.
The chiefs said President Sata's decisive and swift action on the long-standing dispute had freed the Nsenga people and brought dignity among the chiefs and traditional elders in Nsenga land.
They expressed concern on numerous border disputes and requested Government to provide boundary maps for chiefdoms to traditional leaders.
In response, President Sata said the Government and the people should respect chiefs and place them at the centre of national development.
The meeting was attended by Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba, Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba, Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu, Agriculture Minister Emmanuel Chenda, Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkandu Luo, and Dr Phiri for Education.
Others were Local Government Deputy Minister Forrie Tembo, Mines Deputy Minister Charles Zulu and Agriculture Deputy Minister Nicholas Banda.
The rest were Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Susan Kawandami, Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone, Muchinga Province Minister Charles Banda and Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Mwamba.