23 February 2013

Zambia: Chiefs Back Sata On Succession Wrangles

TWO traditional leaders have supported President Michael Sata's observation that succession wrangles after the death of a chief impact negatively on national development.

Chieftainess Malembeka of Mpongwe District said yesterday that it was wrong for royal members to seek the court's guidance on wrangles involving succession after the death of a chief.

On Wednesday, President Sata observed that succession wrangles which arise after the death a chief impact negatively on the country's development.

Mr Sata said this in a speech read for him by Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Emmanuel Chenda in Itezhi-Tezhi on Tuesday when he and several other mourners paid their last respects to Chief Chilyabufu of the Ila speaking people.

She said members should not fight over traditional leadership as this undermined the royal authority and that courts of law were not competent enough to resolve succession wrangles.

"It is embarrassing because it gives no respect for chiefs to appear before a court which is presided over by a foreign judge who does not understand our customs and traditions," she said in an interview.

The traditional leader said wrangles on chieftainship succession have never happened in her chiefdom because deliberate measures have been put in place to avoid power vacuum.

Chief Chiwala of Masaiti said it was worrying for the royal family members because more people were interested to usurp chieftaincy each time a chief died.

He said succession wrangles would be addressed if Government could recognise the list of royal family trees that would be submitted to the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs.

"Right now, all chiefdoms are submitting their family trees to the responsible ministry and this makes it easy to choose the successor to the throne. This arrangement will reduce confusions that arise when a chief leaves the throne," he said.

He said it was encouraging that most chiefdoms have successfully submitted the list of the royal family trees to Government.

"Those people who cause confusion do not know what takes to be a chief and in fact are not even belong to the royal families," he said.

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