Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister, Josephine Limata, says government, through President Micheal Sata, has initiated massive developmental projects in the Northern Province to benefit the local people and called for their hard work.
Mrs Limata also praised all the high Royal Highnesses and the people of Mbala and Mpulungu districts for the great support they have continued to render to government under the able leadership of President Sata.
She was speaking during the 14th Umutomolo traditional ceremony of the Mambwe-Lungu people in Mbala over the weekend.
Mrs Limata said traditional ceremonies are important in that they bring unity and remind the people of the customs and traditions, adding that a society without culture is a dead one.
She said President Sata wants people to be united for development to take a centre stage and called on the traditional leaders to settle their disputes through her ministry.
Mrs Limata also revealed that government does not want to see the dignity of chiefs to go to waste, adding that the state will start constructing Chiefs’ palaces in July for all the Chiefs’ across the country.
She also said government is committed to reduce the poverty levels by continuing to subsidise agricultural inputs to all small scale farmers, adding that government was on course in the distribution of Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for the 2014/15 farming season.
The deputy minister also revealed that a committee chaired by three Provincial Permanent Secretaries has been set up for the Northern Tourism Circuit to spearhead the investment promotion of the untapped resources in the region.
Speaking earlier, Mutomolo ceremony organising committee chairman, Charles Simuyemba, appealed to government to open an airport in Mbala district to allow quick travel for tourism and other business purposes.
Mr Simuyemba further appealed to government to open a railway line for easy transportation of goods and services feasibility studies were done years back.
Meanwhile, Chief Mpande, speaking on behalf of Mambwe/Lungu Chiefs also appealed, to government to construct grain silos for maize, rice and beans storage in Mbala as it is the country’s major producer of the said food crops.
Chief Mpande further appealed to government to construct or facilitate for the construction of a veterinary hub and dipping treatment satellites, modern abattoir, cold storage facility and a food processing plant for beef, fish, beans and vegetables and urged government to look into the poor state of the roads in the district.
He also expressed concern at the high levels of deforestation and environmental degradation taking place in Mbala and Mpulungu districts and called for government’s intervention.
Chief Mpande observed that Kalambo Falls was under threat due to the environmental degradation on Kalambo River and surrounding areas resulting from deforestation.
The Umutomolo ceremony is a historical annual event of the Mambwe/Lungu people held to cerebrate and give thanks to God for the successful crop harvest.
Notable present at the ceremony were Northern Province Permanent Secretary, Hlobota Nkunika, ZAMTEL Managing Director, Mupanga Mwanakatwe, sponsors of the event and Zambia Open University Vice Chancellor, Mutale Musonda who also received certificates of recognition towards the hosting of the event from Chief Mpande among others and SEED-CO Market Development Manager, Brian Mhango.