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Royal family dethrone Shakumbila over land issues

THE Shakumbila Royal Establishment Committee has dethroned chief Shakumbila citing rampant sale of land and displacement of villagers.

According to chairman of the Royal Establishment Ackson Shibalanga, who is also the installer of chiefs, a new chief will be crowned this Friday.

The royal establishment has since asked the dethroned chief to leave the palace immediately.

Addressing the press in Lusaka, Shibalanga, sitting with senior royal family member Neta Shimwambwa Shakumbila, said the family had dethroned the chief to preserve the dignity of the royal family.

“Following the resolution of the royal family members of the Shakumbila chiefdom of the Sala people of Mumbwa district made on the 11th October 2020, at the residence of the chairman of the Royal Establishment Mr Ackson Shibalanga, the royal family members resolved that the current chief of the Sala people of Mumbwa district, Patrick Chikumbe Chibamba be removed from the throne of the Shakumbila chiefdom with immediate effect due to the following reasons,” he said. “Since his ascension to the throne in the year 2007, Patrick Chikumbe Chibamba has been involved in rampant sale of traditional land to foreign nationals without consultation of the royal family as the norm could have been. The land is immediately converted into state land with the help of his office and the two districts presided by the chief.”

Shibalanga said most of the land had been fenced off denying subjects who have lived all their lives in the chiefdom as well as domestic animals access to such land.

“This has resulted in the massive displacement of subjects and shortage of grazing land. Proceeds earned from these land sales do not benefit the chiefdom, royal family members and subjects in any way except the chief and his family and close relatives,” he charged. “Further, the appointment of Patrick Chikumbe Chibamba as chief has brought massive divisions amongst the royal family, where only a selected few are allowed to interact with the chief.”

He added that there had been unrestrained harassment of other excluded royal family members and their relatives and subjects through impolite language and use of the police.

“This has brought about unnecessary ridicule to the royal family by subjects and members of the general public. The unbecoming and deteriorating behaviour of the chief has instilled untold fear amongst subjects leading to them losing confidence in the government of the day,” Shibalanga said. “This has adversely affected government programmes in the chiefdom as the local people feel let down by the government’s failure to deter the chief from his unjustifiable actions and injustices.”

The royal family further alleged that the chief keeps to himself what was meant for the entire royalty.

“Many a time farming implements, bicycles and other donations made by government to the chiefdom do not reach intended recipients. He has gone further to create un-gazetted villages and the appointment of pseudo headmen which is meant to entrench his control of the chiefdom by using the same headmen to sell more land at the expense of local development. These headmen are also surcharged between two-three cattle and unspecified amounts of money as favour to continue in their new appointments,” Shibalanga said. “Further, donations from government and other stakeholders towards the traditional ceremony, ‘Ikubi Lya Loongo’ also end up being donations for the chief rather than the purpose of the traditional ceremony.”

Shibalanga disclosed that villages: “are forced to pay amounts of not less than K500 per village each year towards the same ceremony. These amounts also end up for personal use by the chief.”

He said the complaints by the royal family were availed to the then minister of chiefs and traditional affairs Professor Nkandu Luo ‘earlier and the minister assured [us] to have the matter resolved in the shortest possible time. This didn’t come to fruition.”

He said they also presented the same complaints to Vice-President Inonge Wina when she presided over the same ministry, an ‘effort which also achieved no tangible results, allowing the chief to continue with the vices with unstrained impunity’.

“With the foregoing, the Royal Family members in the interest of the chiefdom and all the people therein, have notified the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs and other relevant offices of government on the royal family’s resolution to remove Patrick Chikumbe Chibamba from the throne as chief Shakumbila of the Sala people of Mumbwa district,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shibalanga warned members of public against regarding Chibamba as the chief or do so at their own risk.

“The resolution is supported by royal family members and related petitioners who unanimously appended their signatures against their full names to remove Patrick Chikumbe Chibamba from the throne,” said Shibalanga.

“We have written to all relevant offices starting with Minister of Traditional Affairs, the district commissioners, the police and all to inform them of our resolution and on Friday this week, we shall be installing a new chief.”

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