-Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Permanent Secretary Coillard Chibbonta has called on traditional leaders in Banamwaze Chiefdom in Itezhi tezhi district in central Province to resolve their succession differences amicably.
Mr. Chibbonta said such differences can lead to a situation where the chiefdom will have no chief for many years adding that such differences have negative impact on the development of the chiefdom.
He said this during a meeting attended by Bashimukowa (the traditional Electoral College which selects a chief) from Banamwaze Chiefdom at Banamwaze Basic School, Itezhi tezhi central Province yesterday.
The meeting was attended by Senior Headman Shamang’aza of the Ila speaking people from Banamwaze and 12 other members of the Bashimukowa.
Also present at the meeting were District administrative officer Akatama Malikana, who was representing Itezhi tezhi District Commissioner and Itezhi tezhi District Council Secretary Cheembo Mang’watu and other district officials.
The meeting was aimed at finding solutions to the bitter succession wrangles that have emerged following the death of chief Chilyabufu in February this year.
Mr Chibbonta said Traditional Leaders play an important role in assisting government in various local administration issues.
He said in most chiefdoms in the country embroiled in succession disputes which have left them without gazetted chiefs for years.
Mr. Chibbonta said despite these succession conflicts in Banamwaze chiefdom, people must learn to unite and live in peace.
He called on Traditional leaders to adhere to their traditional procedures in selecting chiefs and to put their succession disputes aside and focus on development.
Mr. Chibbonta reminded the Traditional Leaders that government had no role in the selection of chiefs apart from endorsing the chiefdom’s selection.
The PS further informed the Traditional Leaders that his office has not yet gazztted the new chief hence his reluctance to respond to the challenges.
At the same meeting, Seniour headman Shamang’aze who is one of the Bashimukowa in the chiefdom thanked the Government for their prompt response to the succession disputes in the Chilyabufu chiefdom.
Headman Shamang’aze who is the chairperson for the electoral college which selects chiefs in the chiefdom assured the Permanent Secretary that in light of the bitter succession disputes that have emerged , all Headmen in the area will convene at a given date to re-do the selection of the chief.
He also said that the Bashimukowa will forward the minutes and other information of the selection of the chief to the government as per procedure.
The Headman further noted that it was better to find solutions to the succession problems immediately than to allow them to culminate into fights.
But Itezhi tezhi District Council secretary Cheembo Mang’watu told ZANIS in a separate interview that he was reluctant to go back to the chiefdom to re-do the selection of the chief because the Permanent Secretary or the courts have not nullified the earlier selection which took place in March this year.
He said that only when there is nullification by the Permanent secretary or the courts of law of the earlier selection will he be free to go back for another selection of the chief.
Chilyabufu chiefdom was recently engaged in skirmishes following the selection of Dennis Shanungu, 66, son of Azania Mpompo as the new chief Chilyabufu of the Ila people of Itezhi tezhi district.
Mr. Shanungu, 66, was selected in March this year to succeed Keith Hornwell Shikabasa Namaaso who died on 16th February 2013 at the University Teaching Hospital-UTH in Lusaka following a long battle with cancer.
Mr. Shanungu is a retired public service worker who was educated at tertiary level at National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) where he graduated with a certificate in Stores Management and worked at Livingstone City Council as Chief Buyer and Stores Controller.
The selection process of the chief in March flopped twice when some faction within the royal family were not in favour of the anointed Chief despite the majority of the people approving him.
This led to mild violence which led to the postponement of the process twice and it was only on 12th March, 2013 when it succeeded.
But recently a losing candidate from amongst aspirants for Chief Chilyabufu throne, Obert Mukobela has petitioned the chiefs and traditional affairs Permanent secretary through Itezhi tezhi district commissioner for choosing Dennis Shanungu who was chief for six years but was ordered by the high court in 1997 to step down for the late chief Keith Hornwell Namaaso.
A faction from the Members of the Chilyabufu chiefdom including some children has challenged the selection of Mr Shanungu as the new Chief, citing several anomalies in the selection procedures.
The members have alleged that the Bashimukowa [electoral panel] which undertook the selection was not composed of people who were members of the Chilyabufu Royal Establishment.
The members have observed that the throne for Chief Chilyabufu deserved attention towards selecting a suitable chief, adding that there was need to painstakingly trace ancestral lineage with reference to the royal family tree.