[By Tobias Phiri in Sioma]
PRINCE Mwananyanda Inyambo Yeta, son of senior chief Inyambo Yeta of Mwandi District in Western Province, has pleaded with the traditional leadership in the area to sit down their members of parliament and ask them to put aside their political agenda and look at Bill 10 objectively.
Prince Yeta advised MPs to stop playing partisan politics over the Constitution amendment process or risk plunging the country into chaos.
He said there was need for continuous Constitution refinement until a good document is attained.
“I am pleading with the traditional leadership in this province to sit down with the MPs and ask them to support Bill 10, regardless of whether they are PF or UPND. The MPs must put national interest first before their party agendas,” he said.
“The Litunga used to appoint chiefs and you cannot just come and get powers away from him. We will not accept that. Tell them to put aside their agenda because if we continue like this, we will put this country into chaos.”
He said the traditional leadership would not accept the current status quo where their authority has been taken away in the Constitution while MPs who have the power to change it are engaged in petty partisan fights.
“Let’s stop playing partisan politics over issues of importance like the Constitution. The constitution also touches on the royal establishments. There is no constitution which has stood the test of time. All the laws change with time. What was important yesterday may not be important. I tend to wonder when people reject these amendments of the law,” he said.
“It is the responsibility of the MPs through the National Assembly to enact laws and therefore, my request to our royal highnesses is that we need to sit down our members of parliament and advise them to put their interests aside and put the national agenda first.”
Meanwhile, indunas under chief Sekeli Lukama of the Lozi people of Sioma and Shangombo districts have told Raphael Nakacinda that most of their people do not support Bill 10 as most of the provisions are about political power.
Speaking when Nakacinda, the chairperson of the parliamentary select committee on the constitution amendment, paid a courtesy call at his Kaunga Mashi Palace in Sioma, the Indunas represented by Maswabi Maswabi said they want powers of chiefs to be restored.
He said they welcomed the restoration of traditional leaders’ powers but needed to be given enough information on Bill 10.
“If what we are hearing is true that chiefs powers have been reduced by the current constitution, then am very sorry. It is our wish, we the Lozi people that the privileges and powers be restored to the traditional leaders,” he said.
“The issue that we want to look at critically is that before you want to change anything as government you should be meeting us before action. The information on bill 10 was not properly disseminated. If people are not aware then it is hard for them to contribute. You have come and talked about traditional powers but is this the only issue that affects chiefs?”
The indunas who sat in the Kuta with Nakacinda and his entourage discussing the issue of the contentious Bill 10 had many questions which the latter answered.
“This chiefdom has no benefit whatsoever from government, no grant or anything but I don’t want to bore you with that since it is not what you have come for. This issue of returning power to traditional leadership is important and we appreciate. That is welcome. But the main contentious issues in Bill 10 we have realized are not about traditional powers, it’s about political powers,” induna Maswabi said.
“How I wish you had given us time to sensitise our people about it. I believe most of our people don’t support this. But if someone says we want to bring back your powers which were grabbed, who can say no?”
Nakacinda assured the Indunas that he would make sure he works for the good of the people.
“I can’t come to bother you with issues that do not affect you. I have brought these documents which have other issues too but also contain what affect traditional leadership. I’m fighting to bring your power. We have a President, human as he may be, but when it comes to traditional leadership and authority he has committed that he would want anything the traditional leaders want, he wants it in the constitution. We are fighting hard to bring back what has been taken from you,” he said.
Nakacinda also donated face masks and hand washing soap to the chiefdom as a way of helping fight the Coronavirus of 2019.