BREBNER Changala has charged that paramount chief Chtimukulu of the Bemba speaking people is PF cadre number one who should not hide in the throne.
Speaking at the launch of the Movement for Voter Sensitisation at Chipata College of Education the other week, Chitimukulu said if Eastern Province rejects President Edgar Lungu, Bembas would also reject him.
“I found this very interesting at a bus shelter here in Chipata. It says ‘osaiwala, wanu ni wanu’, but to me it is something like ‘osaiwala, wako ni wako’. That’s what I found in one of the bus shelters and that’s a challenge,” Chitimukulu told the gathering. “The whole thing about the election especially of President Lungu lies in your hands, because if you reject him, how shall we receive him? A reject in his own province, ah! So, the whole thing about President Lungu lies in the hands of Eastern Province, you know him. If you reject him, we shall also reject him. Why accept a reject? So, you see the challenge of wako ni wako, wanu ni wanu.”
But Changala, a good governance activist, said Chitimukulu’s partisan conduct was disgraceful.
“The Chitimukulu now, he cannot hide behind the throne; he’s a PF cadre number one. And he’s a beneficiary of the PF mismanagement of the economy, mismanagement of our national unity and the failing moral standards in our country. The Chitimukulu is now a disgrace. He has lost respectability, he’s now a total disgrace in our Zambian way of life where we hold our traditional leaders in high esteem,” Changala said. “It is very worrying, the conduct of our chief Chitimukulu in recent months. Since it dawned to him and some of his senior subjects that somebody from some region that they don’t seem to appreciate and like might just take over power sooner rather than later, the chief has been conducting himself; that is chief Chitimukulu, in a very suspicious manner and dangerous manner that is inimical to national security in terms of One Zambia, One Nation.”
Changala said it was in public domain that Chitimukulu has been campaigning for PF on tribal lines.
He reminded the Mwinelubemba how one of his predecessors lost power together with Dr Kenneth Kaunda in 1991.
“The chief has been peddling lies and walking on fear mongering, that although he’s speaking in parables, we know the targets – it’s the Tonga speaking people. That is his target. He has been telling the people of Zambia that if you don’t vote for Lungu you will cry, you will suffer. What does he mean?” he asked. “And I want to remind him that, that position that he’s sitting in as chief Chitimukulu, there’s a chief Chitimukulu who was a member of the central committee during the Kaunda days. Despite being a chief Chitimukulu and being a member of UNIP, UNIP was kicked out in 1991. Zambians can see through when a chief is becoming much like a nuisance and abusing the respect that is accorded to him or to her.”
He said it was very shameful that a senior traditional leader like Chitimukulu could be championing tribalism.
“You cannot keep the Tonga speaking people perpetually sad and humiliated. That is unacceptable and barbaric. The Tonga speaking people’s contribution to this country is immense as opposed to the regions that Chitimukulu is representing, which is a talking shop,” Changala said. “So, Chitimukulu is projecting the Bemba superiority or Bemba/Ngoni superiority as opposed to these other regions. This agenda cannot go unchallenged, and it must be fought forthwith. It’s high time they let go, that other people who introduced the struggle for independence were not the northerners. It was the westerners and the southerners. They were the people who started the African National Congress and other trade unions, who are being sidelined today and hijacked by the same northerners that the Chitimukulu is trying to project for eternity.”
And Changala said he regretted supporting Chitimukulu when late president Michael Sata refused to have him installed to the throne.
He said probably Sata was justified in his actions towards Henry Kanyanta Sosala, the current Chitimukulu.
Changala said Chitmukulu “has no mandate or power or leverage to make every Bemba to be a member of PF”.
“But I must go further that all of us who supported him during the period that he suffered under Mr Sata are now regretting. For we now realise that Mr Sata must have known this man to be a very unpatriotic citizen. Mr Sata must have known that this chief was not fit to be a Chitimukulu. And only Mr Sata and Guy Scott, and probably madam [Christine] Kaseba (Mrs Sata) know the reasons why Mr Sata could not recognise his own Bemba chief,” Changala said. “Since the true colours of the Chitimukulu have now come to the fore, he should be considered as a chief who the people of Zambia must watch very carefully. He does not mean well. He’s abusing the throne for other personal and tribal benefits. This is a country with almost 85 per cent young men and women who are below 35, whose desire to be governed by a failing tribal inclination has been rejected. This generation does not believe in what the chief is trying to propagate and advance on behalf of the government. We know very well from the time he started supporting Bill 10, I personally realised [that] we are dealing with a wrong person.”
He advised Chitimukulu to speak through his representatives to avoid lowering himself.
“But with due respect, I’m asking the chief to stay away, out of politics, and to try by all means to speak through indunas, and not trying to mess around with the current politics which are toxic and divisive. He must keep his lane. He has done more harm to our national unity,” said Changala.
“It is a well-known fact that in Zambia and elsewhere any reasonable chief speaks through the indunas or his right-hand man. Any reasonable chief works in the best interest of his people and the nation, whatever his plans. Chitimukulu for the last eight, nine months has been, with great controversy, appearing on radio stations, agitating for things in the name of his chieftainship that are very dangerous and tribal in nature. Now, he has survived the onslaught due to Zambians’ culture of respecting chiefs and their position in our national heritage which is highly respected.”