THE House of Chiefs has called for calm among traditional leaders following concerns being raised on matters of land.
House of Chiefs chairperson, Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II appealed to the traditional rulers to remain calm until the contents of the final Draft Constitution were made public.
She assured traditional rulers countrywide that the House of Chiefs had communicated their concerns on land as enshrined in Article 296 of the Draft Constitution to the Government.
Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya said in a statement in Lusaka yesterday that if the concerns would not be addressed, the House would again engage with Government and continue to advocate for the removal of Article 296 in the Draft Constitution.
“Recently, there have been comments attributed to chiefs regarding the Draft Constitution in relation to land.
“First and foremost, I wish to inform the nation that the final Draft Constitution has not been released to chiefs and the comments from the chiefs are based on the first Draft Constitution of April 30, 2012 released to the general public,” she said.
She said in April 2012, the House, at the National Convention of the Technical Committee on drafting the Constitution, discussed the Articles dealing with land and rejected the provisions of Article 296.
Senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya said due to the importance of the matter, the issue of land was again discussed by the House of Chiefs in July 2013 and the resolutions were communicated to the Technical Committee drafting the Constitution.
“To enforce the matter, some members had an audience with the Minister of Justice and communicated chiefs’ concerns on the issue of land.
“In both cases, the House voiced its concerns and rejected Article 296 of the Draft Constitution which classified almost all land as State land and gives provision to erode chiefs’ powers over customary land by converting it into State land,” she said.
Some traditional leaders have been quoted in the media claiming they had rejected the Draft Constitution as it indicated that they would not have power over land.