South mayors blasted for involving LGAZ in politics

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 10:03:00 +0000




CALLS for the unconditional release of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema using the Local Governmnet Association of Zambia (LGAZ) by some mayors and councillors in Southern Province are misplaced and should be ignored, Luanshya mayor Nathan Chanda has charged. 

Heads of councils in Southern Province have called on the State to unconditionally drop the charges slapped on Mr. Hichilema.

The district council chairpersons and mayors said they believed that the charges levelled against Mr. Hichilema were trumped up and were meant to silence him.


But Mr. Chanda told the Daily Nation yesterday that such moves were misplaced, ill-conceived and should not be tolerated and warned heads of councils in Southern Province not to propagate their political motives using LGAZ because it was a non-partisan entity.

He said it was disappointing that his fellow leaders in the province had failed to distinguish between politics and the role LGAZ played in promoting and protecting the interest of the local government system to make it more efficient.

“Our colleagues’ demand is misplaced. LGAZ’s principle objective, regardless of our political affiliations, is to protect and promote the interests of local government in Zambia. So, as mayors who are the elected leaders of a municipal government, we must concentrate on managing local authorities as government at local level with the many responsibilities under devolution.  “Instead of protecting law-breakers, we need to put the interest of Zambia first. Calls for the release and unconditional dropping of charges against Mr. Hichilema are baseless and lack merit and =logic. I call on these UPND mayors to act honourably and objectively because many people look up to them. We are representing everyone, hence the need to be unequivocal,” Mr. Chanda said.

He said there was need for councillors and other leaders to exercise patience and allow the due process of the law to take its course, saying everyone had the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law.

He added that just like any other person, Mr. Hichilema had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. He noted that the charges Mr Hichilema was facing should not be politicised because they endangered the life of the President and that of other ordinary Zambians.  He said just like PF members were not calling for the sentencing of Mr Hichilema, UPND members needed to follow the law to the letter and allow justice to prevail over the incarceration of Mr. Hichilema.

“PF, as a party in power, has members who have been convicted and others are before the courts of law yet we have not asked any high office for interference in the process. Our provincial chairman Mr Stephen Kainga and my own vice youth chairperson Stanley Chandindi were once before the courts for suspected obstruction of police after blocking Mr Hichilema on the Copperbelt, did we condemn the police?” he asked.

He called on the LGAZ national leadership to discipline members calling for the release of Mr. Hichilema for bringing the name of the association into disrepute.


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