President Sata meets with the Litunga in an historic occasion


IN what has been described as a defining and historic occasion, President Sata yesterday met with the Litunga of the Lozi people at Limulunga la Mulena in Mongu before he proceeded to Lukulu East to drum up support for Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Aileen Imbwae who is contesting a by-election.
This was the first time President Sata was meeting Litunga Imwiko Lubosi, the King of the Lozi people, since he won the 2011 elections that saw him unseat Rupiah Banda in a popular poll.
Mr Sata was met at the King’s palace in Limulunga la Mulena by all the Indunas of the Kuta or royal court led by Ngambela (prime minister) Kalenga Siisii before he was escorted in the palace’s Kashandi or private office where he held an almost one hour-long meeting with the Litunga.
Western Province permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba said, “the closed-door meeting between President Sata and the king appears to have gone very well and the President has instructed us to do some major face-lifts to some areas of the palace such as the roof including the land-scaping and the grass because as you know, President Sata likes immaculate surroundings and well-watered lawns…he hates half measures.”
The Litunga thanked President Sata for taking development to Western Province in form of an ultra-modern multi-million Kwacha stadium, a university to be constructed soon in Mongu and a special eye clinic at Lewanika General Hospital, which is the only one of its kind in Zambia and only exists in Kenya and Malawi, taken to Mongu on President Sata’s instructions.
The President, who has a long personal history of friendship with the Litunga dating back to the post-independence days when the Litunga worked for Indeco, took time to joke about the old Indeco days as he did a quick tour of the palace grounds.
President Sata openly said it would have been “unfathomable” for him to visit the Western Province, “without paying my respect to the Litunga”, as he warned those fanning divisions in Western Province with stern police action.
“The Litunga did not apply for the job of Litunga,” Mr Sata said. “he is a Litunga by God’s will…he was born a Litunga, therefore those that are trying to fight him will face police action.”
President Sata told the Litunga that he would have loved to attend the prestigious Kuomboka ceremony that pulls huge worldwide crowds as a premier tourism event, if it was not for his tight work schedule, but immediately instructed Vice President Guy Scott to represent him at the April 20 event.
“I think another important thing worth noting here is the fact that his Excellency President Sata met the Litunga accompanied by his Vice President Dr Guy Scott, this symbolically and also shows clearly the importance the Government attaches to the Western Province and the royal family,” Mr Mwamba said.
The historic meeting brought to an end speculation that relations between the President and the Barotse Royal Establishment were not that cordial as circulated by the opposition.
President Sata who was received by a huge crowd at the Mongu airstrip later proceeded to Lukulu on a marathon campaign tour that comes on the back of a similar tour in Kapiri Mposhi where he campaigned for Patriotic Front candidate Eddie Musonda.
The President has not rested since he returned from a tour of China where he held high-level meetings with the President of the second largest economy in the world Xi Jinping and signed multi-billion Kwacha development agreements.
Mr Sata was accompanied by Minister of Home Affairs Edgar Lungu, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Emmanuel Chenda, Minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina, Western Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta and provincial permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba.