[By Tuesday Bwalya]
Our Paramount Chief of the Bemba speaking people, Chitimukulu, has for long now been attacking United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema (HH) and his party.
The chief, in a series of articles titled: Kalulu tapusuka mipya ibili that appear in the Daily Nation newspaper has been accusing HH and UPND of planning to dethrone him when in power. Chitimukulu alleges that his relative, the deputy secretary general for the UPND had told some people in Ndola that once in power, the UPND government would dethrone the Chitimukulu, Mr Henry Kanyanta Sosala. Many people, including the writer of this article, have been disappointed to see our chief appearing in Mr Richard Sakala’s paper for bad reasons; for attacking the country’s main opposition party and its president for an issue that looks trivial and unfounded.
Many readers may recall that when the same chief appeared on Radio Mano in Kasama admonishing his subjects, the Bemba speaking people to vote on tribal lines, I said that the chief’s utterances were aimed at HH and the UPND. True to my conclusion, Chitimukulu has now come out guns blazing, attacking HH and UPND. This is disappointing and subtracts so much from his credibility. Slowly but sure, our paramount chief is losing relevance and respect many Zambians accord him because he has taken a partisan political stance.
I thought if the chief’s allegations were serious, he would have engaged the UPND secretariat and HH. I have many questions that our chief needs to answer. Did he contact the UPND secretariat and HH to clarify the hearsay? If so, what did the UPND and president HH say? I am also wondering why a family issue between Chitimukulu and Mr Mucheleka becomes a UPND policy. Even if Mr Mucheleka had told someone that when his party forms government the current Chitimukulu will be dethroned, how does an individual’s opinion become a party and HH’s position? I don’t think the chief’s attacks on UPND and HH are necessary; unless the chief is dethroned.
Chitimukulu should know that Ukubomfya umwaice kubomfyanya. Literally, it means that if you splash water on a child, you expect the child to splash back on you. The chief’s utterances in the media have made us, his subjects, to respond to him. I find it inappropriate for our chief to continue attacking the personalities and intellectual capabilities of HH and his alliance partners, Mr Charles Milupi and Mr James Lukuku. The chief is not in order to demean these three leaders who should be his subjects.
Chitimukulu seems to be the only intelligent human being in Bembaland because he has a chain of degrees. Yes, it is true the current Chitimukulu has a degree in History and other honorary degrees bestowed on him. But this does not mean that he is more intelligent than HH and Mr Milupi. If I may ask, what has the current Chitimukulu accomplished at personal level as compared to HH? Having degrees does not mean that one is wise; we have seen people with degrees who have failed to manage the affairs of the people and the country. It is also disappointing to see our respected chief blowing his own trumpet about the appointments he has received.
The recent ranting of our chief in the media makes me and other Zambians believe that late president Michael Sata and then chiefs and traditional affairs minister Professor Nkandu Luo were right not to recognise him as the Paramount Chief; they knew what Mr Sosala represents. We were all wrong to feel that Mr Sata and Professor Luo were mistreating the chief.
Further, the chief’s utterances make Zambians think that he is using his chieftaincy to campaign for the PF ahead of the 2021 elections. From the newspaper articles, one could conclude that the chief is in an alliance with the PF and they have realised that Zambians in 2021 will not vote on tribal lines but for a candidate who will grow the economy and create jobs, and HH represents such a candidate. To our Chitimukulu and the PF, the only way out is to provoke HH and UPND with baseless accusations so that in the process, they will say something, which could be used against them. The hope for Chitimukulu and PF is to incite the Bemba speaking people against their brothers and sisters, the Tonga speaking people so that votes in 2021 should be distributed on tribal lines like was the case in 2016.
Chitimukulu should learn to work with any political party in the manner Paramount Chief Mpezeni does. He embraces every political party and he eats silently with them. It seems our Chitimukulu always fails to handle politics. What the current Chitimukulu is doing happened even to his predecessor who was used by Rupiah Banda to attack Mr Sata, but all his efforts did not save Mr Banda from losing the 2011 poll. This surely will happen again in 2021 as Chitimukulu’s scheme will not bear fruits; his efforts will not save the sinking boat, the PF.
As I conclude, I wish to appeal to the Chitimukulu to stop the unnecessary attacks on individuals and political parties. His appearance in the newspaper for bad reasons subtracts immensely from the respect we accord his office. Further, the chief should stop dividing the country on tribal lines because if war breaks out in Zambia he will not be paramount chief; he will be like any other ordinary person running to save his life. Further, I wish to also ask Mr Richard Sakala and his Daily Nation newspaper to spare our chief; let the chief devote his time to attend to his subjects’ issues and cases, not writing divisive articles in the Daily Nation.
The author is a lecturer at the University of Zambia, department of Library and Information Science.
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