Luapula chiefs complain against provincial administration

Tue, 27 Dec 2016 11:46:19 +0000


By Prince Chibawah In Mansa

SOME senior government officials in Luapula Province are allege dly refusing to work with the traditional leadership in matters of development in the region.

Chiefs in Luapula Province are now fearing that the cordial relationship they have been enjoying with the Patriotic Front (PF) government was under threat because some senior officials at Provincial administration in Luapula were allegedly refusing to work with them.

Speaking on behalf of other chiefs, Chief Chisunka of the Ushi people said he and other traditional leaders in the province were being sidelined in key matters pertaining to the development of the province.

“We are disappointed with our provincial leadership. On several occasions, we the chiefs in the province have tried to engage the provincial administration on various developmental issues affecting our province but we are always turned down,” said Chief Chisunka in an interview.

He said currently, the chiefs were feeling undermined by the attitude of the officials in question.

“I cannot hide, my fellow chiefs and I are not happy with the current situation. We feel undermined, it is like they think we do not exist. It is very painful,” the traditional leader said.

Chief Chisunka explained that it would be hard for Luapula Province permanent secretary Bulleti Nsemukila and his team to address the economic challenges facing the province if they continued operating in isolation.

“We are supposed to be a link between government and the people. Now, how do you expect us to contribute towards the implementation of development if we are not engaged or informed about these projects?” wondered Chief Chisunka, who is the secretary of Luapula Chiefs Royal Council.

Chief Chisunka further complained that the provincial leadership had also been shunning all the meetings called by the chiefs in the province to discuss developmental matters.

“Luapula Chiefs Royal Council comprises all the chiefs in Luapula province. And last month the Council called for a meeting at Teja Executive Lodge (in Mansa) where we invited our provincial permanent secretary and some heads of  government departments to discuss important issues affecting our people in our respective chiefdoms but to our surprise, none of them showed up. We were shocked that even the permanent secretary could not send a single representative to attend the meeting,” complained Chief Chisunka.

He cited late distribution of fertilizer by Government to farmers and high level of unemployment among the youth as some of the key issues begging for solutions in the province.

“We believe the problems which our province is facing can easily be addressed if we combined our efforts. I do not think the permanent secretary or the deputy has all the solutions to all these problems,” he said.

Chief Chisunka, however, revealed that it would be unfair for the affected chiefs to blame President Edgar Lungu for the current situation.

“We will not engage the President in this issue. President Lungu is innocent. He has a lot of national matters to attend to. We are putting the entire blame on the people that have been appointed to serve at the provincial administration. The permanent secretary should not expect us to go to the Head of State in order to attract his attention,” said Chief Chisunka.

And Chief Chisunka questioned the criteria which Luapula provincial administration was using to recruit civil servants in the province.

“My fellow chiefs are also concerned about the manner civil servants or public service workers are being recruited in the province. We want to find out why our local leadership can decide, for instance, to recruit a person from Lusaka or Copperbelt just to come and clean outside a clinic or school here in Luapula,” Chief Chisunka complained.


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