Chiefs from Muchinga Province have said they will support President Edgar Lungu in this year's election because it was naïve to think that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government could complete its developmental agenda within its first term in office.
Speaking on behalf of 24 other chiefs at State House yesterday, Chief Kabinga of the Bisa speaking people in Mpika said President Lungu deserved a new mandate so that the PF was given sufficient time to complete its development projects.
"We gave him total support last year and will give him our total support even this time around because it is naïve to think that the PF could complete all their projects within five years. He needs five years," Chief Kabinga said.
The chiefs were at State House at the invitation of President Lungu.
The other 24 chiefs were Senior chiefs Kopa, Kambombo, Nkula, chiefs Chikwa, Tembwe, Chifunda, Mulilo, Chibale, Lundu, Luchembe, Mpepo and Mukungule.
The others are chiefs Chikwanda, Mpumba, Chibesakunda, Kabanda, Mukwikile, Kafwimbi, Katyetye, Muyombe, Mwenewisi, Mwenechifungwe, Mkweto and Mubanga.
Chief Kabinga said even though Government was facing challenges in delivering developmental projects, because of the insufficient money, it was important that some matters were dealt with.
He said Muchinga Province needed more schools because the area lacked sufficient secondary schools.
It was equally important to complete the works on feeder roads, because they were the route to development.
Chief Kabinga said the chiefs needed Government to replace their vehicles and they required diplomatic passports.
President Lungu said it was imperative for the chiefs to meet him because they were partners in development.
He said while there were Members of Parliament, permanent secretaries, provincial ministers and District commissioners, it was cardinal to hear the perspective of chiefs because they had a special understanding of the people.
Mr Lungu said as much as chiefs were not supposed to participate in active politics, most issues that bordered on political decisions such as party candidates, affected them.
Therefore, he invited the traditional leaders to speak to him in confidence and tell him why they preferred certain aspiring candidates as compared to others.
"I have received reports that this chief wants this person and not this person. I wish to find out why, but reasons I will not buy are those based on tribe," the President said.
Mr Lungu said chiefs that had an opportunity to host more than one tribal grouping in their chiefdoms should treat all their subjects as one.
He said Zambia was a nation of diversity and chiefs had the obligation to accept all people as long as they were ready to live under the cultural norms of the hosting chiefdoms.