SENIOR Chief Puta of the Bwile people of Chienge district has counseled the ruling Patriotic Front to sit down and see where they have gone wrong.
The traditional leader believes the ruling party can still win elections in 2021 but that they should not force matters.
As for UPND, senior chief Puta says, “patience pays”.
The senior chief was commenting on political violence that has rocked the country, particularly during election contests that have resulted in deaths of people.
Recently during a council chairman by-election campaigns in Kaoma, a UPND member was shot dead by suspected PF cadres.
Lamenting the vice, Puta advised fellow chiefs to take a stand and not leave the country to politicians, whom he feared might destroy it.
“Ba Shamfumu mu Zambia, natwime, ici calo nga twalekelesha aba ba politician balaonaula (chiefs in Zambia, let’s stand up, if we leave this country in politicians’ hands they will destroy it), they are selfish,” Puta said in an interview.
He urged all chiefs to rise and not allow selfish politicians divide the country through tribal talk and violence.
Puta said the violence perpetuated by the ruling PF and opposition UPND was nonsense and should not be tolerated in a country known as a beacon of peace.
“We need to stop this nonsense of killing each other…what happened in Kaoma during the by-election is nonsense. Here in Zambia, you are enjoying peace because of the chiefs of Zambia. Without chiefs, the independence you are talking about was not going to be there but because of the chiefs, you are talking about 55 years of independence but me as a senior chief, I am talking about the Bwile chiefdom of about 300-400 years ago. When Kaunda went to London to meet the Queen, he went with chiefs. If the chiefs were greedy, the way you are greedy now, because you don’t want to share the cake of this country, we were not going to attain independence.”
Puta said three things – greed, power hungry and love of money – can take a leader out of power.
“Ifi fintu filafunya pa butungulushi (These things take someone out of power). Let us be fair, we are all Zambians. One Zambia, One Nation. I saw the PF and UPND; I am talking about two parties here and not one party. The PF and UPND in their party regalia were with pangas, no party had no panga there [in Kaoma]. And I am told there were even guns, which is very bad,” he said.
The traditional leader lamented that the PF was not ready to let go of power while the UPND think they were already in power.
He warned what was happening in Zambia now was not very different from the conditions that sparked a genocide in Rwanda.
Puta called on the PF not to force matters in their push to cling to power while he advised the UPND to be patient.
“When our forefathers fought for this independence…[Dr Kenneth] Kaunda is still there, you ba PF just sit down and see where you have gone wrong. You can still win elections in 2021 but don’t force matters. You ba UPND, patience pays. What I have seen, according to my assessment, the PF are not ready to let go of power and the UPND balemona kwati nabo nabateka nokuteka kale (Think they are already in power), which is not right. Let the people of Zambia choose intungulushi iyo balefwaya mumutende (a leader they want in peace). We have been voting since 1964 in peace but where is this nonsense coming from? In Rwanda, the genocide was about two tribes…I don’t know why chiefs in Zambia are quiet. But I know why they are quiet, a lot of them have told me that somewhere there is intimidation, somewhere, somehow there is intimidation but me I am ready to die for Zambia. I am not scared of anyone, I am only scared of God in heaven,” Puta said.
He said politicians did not care about the people and their lives as their only preoccupation was to enrich themselves.
“Politicians are too selfish. For them what they are thinking is only money, they are thinking that when he is President he will be rich,” Puta said. “The first chiefs that helped liberate this country suffered a lot, so let us not allow these politicians to spoil our country. These people, these politicians are killing are our children. Whether you are a politician, a president, you are a son of a chief. Whether preacher, pastor uli mwana wa mfumu, that’s why on your National Registration Card, there is a name of a chief where one hails from. Lekeni mwebantu twamipapata icibanda chi devil ici cifume mukati ka bwina (I plead with you, let this violent devil come out of) Zambians.”
Puta advised his fellow traditional leaders and the clergy to talk and tell off politicians when something was wrong, including when they were being ‘oiled’.
“I really do not know. Our preachers don’t be quiet whether uli pastor ulelyako but landa icishinka. If a child is wrong, tell him, that’s why we get a whip and beat a child. It’s not that you hate him or her but it’s out of love but you need to say that I don’t want this, what you are doing fyabunama. I really don’t know why we are all quiet when things are going this bad. The men of God are quiet when things are going this bad, why? Politicians have failed to control themselves,” Puta said.
He called for an indaba to put to an end the political violence that has characterised Zambian politics.
“We need you the churches, chiefs and politicians to have an indaba so that if it’s UPND who have a problem, we tell them off, if it’s PF, twabebelapo. After Kaunda lost [power], he went back to the drawing board and what came thereafter was the MMD playing soccer with UNIP in harmony,” said Puta.