Zambia: Govt Defends Chief Chiwala

GOVERNMENT has defended Senior Chief Chiwala who was accused of meddling in the compensation process of farmers displaced by the setting up of a cement plant belonging to Dangote Industries in Masaiti.

Last week, Masaiti residents accused the traditional leader of double-dealing in the compensation process of the displaced farmers.

They said they did not want him to be part of the negotiating team.

But Copperbelt Permanent Secretary Stanford Msichili said Senior Chief Chiwala had never been part of the negotiations for compensation because at the time the process started in January 2011, he was not even recognised by Government yet.

"Facts on the ground indicate that His Royal Highness Senior Chief Chiwala was not a chief at the time the negotiations for compensation were concluded by the farmers and, therefore, there was no way he could meddle in the negotiations on compensation," he said.

The chief was only recognised through Statutory Instrument Number 61 of 2011, which was signed by then President on June 24, 2011. Before that he was working in the Foreign Service in Kenya.

Mr Msichili said in a statement yesterday that at the time, the farmers categorically stated that they did not want anyone from the Royal establishment to be part of the committee on the negotiating table.

He said farmers formed a committee that engaged Dangote to oversee payments which the company agreed to settle.

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