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 2010-05-19 06:20 pm Back to NEWS
Luapula chiefs complain over Chiluba’s meeting
Chiefs from Luapula at the closure of Chiluba's 'developmental' meeting at Mansa Hotel last SundayThe Post

Chiefs in Luapula Province have protested against former president Frederick Chiluba's 'developmental' meeting and the endorsement of President Rupiah Banda.

Highly-placed sources who attended the closed-door meeting revealed that most of the chiefs were unhappy with the meeting and Chiluba's involvement.

"You know, when some people read what the state newspapers are saying and what was said on television, they might think we are in support of what Chiluba is doing. But I can confirm that if there are chiefs that were happy with whatever was going on in that meeting, it's just about four," the source said. "Otherwise, the rest, we were not happy and we felt used and treated like children. We were so upset that they could get us from our palaces and parade us like animals. No one should cheat you. Even the chairperson of the Luapula Royal Foundation, Chief Chisunka, was told about our complaints over that meeting.

"We told them that Chiluba and these rebels just want to use us to get votes for ba Rupiah Banda and after that they will just dump us. We complained and we were vindicated and see how they came up with embarrassing resolutions like asking ba Michael Sata to apologise. Ask the person who was reading those resolutions about ba Sata, that who passed them? As far as we are concerned, that issue of President Sata even brought debate.

"Chiefs rejected the proposals that we include the demand that ba Sata apologise over his differences with Chitimukulu. The general feeling was that there was no need for ba Sata to apologise.

"In fact, I remember one chief even arguing that 'why should ba Sata apologise here when we were not even there when they differed with Chitimukulu.' It was actually Chief Puta who was pushing that ba Sata apologises. But the other chiefs strongly felt that it was unnecessary to even consider that as part of the resolutions."

The sources disclosed that there was a protest over the statement that the opposition should be sidelined.

"When ba Chisunka said whatever he said, he received protest notes. You ask him if nobody sent him a note over that issue. There was a protest because that was not what we agreed on. No one should stop ba Sata from coming to Luapula because whether opposition or MMD bonse bana, they are all our children. So as chiefs we have to embrace them," the source said.

"On Chiluba, they just wasted their time because we know what Chiluba did and how he behaved as President for 10 years. We spoke amongst ourselves as chiefs concerning the issue of Chiluba and voting for ba Banda and the PF 'rebel' MPs, so no one can cheat us."

The sources also said that chiefs protested against the K1 million they were each paid.

"Some of us were given K1 million each and the senior chiefs, I am told, were given something higher than that. Even ba Chisunka, we know that he was given about K5 million and other things.

"In short, the conveners of that meeting came to lobby for support for ba Banda and the PF rebel MPs. They were really behaving like children in their effort to try and get us to their side. Balewaminikisha filya!" the source revealed. "They were projecting themselves as nice and genuine people but from what we heard amongst our colleagues right there, they didn't succeed in convincing anyone.

"They were promising us the usual stories that they will construct schools, hospitals, roads, build bridges in areas where there are none and also take electricity to palaces that are not connected.

"They even went to an extent of promising us that they will bring animals so that as chiefs we can be in-charge over those animals in our areas. The desperation was so clear that they really wanted us to support and endorse ba Banda.

"And they were even saying that if we don't want to vote for ba Banda, at least we should vote for someone else because if ba Sata wins he will come and destroy the country, can you imagine? How can Chiluba today stand up and say that about ba Sata? Does he think we are children?"

The sources disclosed that in privacy, a number of chiefs disapproved most issues that were raised.

"I can confirm that there were serious attempts to try and convince us and when I say attempts I mean real attempts to try and paint themselves good to us. But I can assure you that a good number of us were not amused with the whole so-called 'developmental meeting'," the source said.

"In fact, even amongst ourselves as chiefs, some were even saying that 'Ala efyo bacitufunisha kufi pango ififine ukwisa mukumfwa? Even on the money they gave us, we were not happy. Surely can they move us from our palaces just to come and give us K1 million each, what's a million? We felt disrespected and lowered."

The sources said nothing substantial came out of the meeting.

"In our private conversations, other chiefs were even saying that 'Chiluba is saying all these things and trying to be nice pantu naba mulekako kuli Banda. Chiluba is trying to be nice because President Banda has freed him. I also noticed that The Mwata never took anything, unless I didn't observe correctly.

"But I don't remember seeing him take a drink or even water, he was just observing what was happening and he looked so detached. Even on introductions, while others were giving their full titles him just said, 'I'm Mwata' and he sat," the source said.

"I was surprised to hear some of the speakers talking like that because one of them was even telling us that naine nshalefwaya ukwisako bampatikishefye. Ultimately, the whole meeting was a flop. There was nothing substantial that came out of it. Even those resolutions you heard are just the same things they always talk about so there was nothing new really.

"In fact, that meeting also caused problems because ba Kapaso, chief retainers, protested since they were not given anything. There was some commotion outside. They felt left out that whilst us as chiefs we got a ka K1 million, they didn't get anything. They actually complained to ba Chisunka.

"You can ask him if you want. In my opinion, PF should not even worry because we are not children to cheat and even after the meeting, we spoke amongst ourselves so we know where we stand on these issues. Let them just convince the voters and not us because it's the people who vote in numbers, not us. If they convince the people, then they have the votes."

And when contacted and asked about the concerns raised by the chiefs over Chiluba's meeting, Chief Chisunka yesterday responded: "I can confirm that a number of chiefs approached me and complained. But I will give a comprehensive response to that after I have phoned many more other chiefs to get their feelings and observations about the meeting."

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