NDANGWA MWITTAH, Choma
CHIEF Chipepo of the Tonga-speaking people of Siavonga district has come under attack by some suspected United Party for National Development (UPND) members and officials for reprimanding members of Parliament for Gwembe, Chirundu and Siavonga constituencies for allegedly not working for the electorate.
But Southern Province minister Edify Hamukale, who is on record to have chided the lawmakers from the province, has come to his rescue and wondered why people are attacking the traditional leader when what he had said was true.
Chief Chipepo recently charged that UPND members of Parliament for Gweembe, Siavonga and Chirundu have not been working to expectations of the electorate.
Because of the remarks, the traditional ruler has since come under attack from some suspected UPND sympathisers who have been admonishing him on a community radio for the statements.
The attacks and insults, which have mainly come through phone-ins and interviews to local radio station, Kariba FM, prompted the traditional leader to lodge a complaint with district commissioner Lovemore Kanyama’s office.
Mr Kanyama, who is shocked and disappointed at the attacks, confirmed receipt of a complaint from Chief Chipepo himself.
“Yes, he has come to complain to my office that some people have been insulting him on radio for simply complaining about the performance of the MPs in the three constituencies,” he said.
He said the attacks and insults on the chief were uncalled for.
“Let’s not waste our energies on insults, but in developmental programmes that will better the living standards of our people. My office will continue protecting the royal highnesses from individuals and politicians as they form part of the government governance system,” he said.
Mr Kanyama said his office had information that those spearheading the hate speech against the chief are actually UPND members and officials from Monze, Kalomo and Chikankata districts.
But commenting on the matter, Dr Hamukale maintained his position and backed Chief Chipepo saying, indeed, most parliamentarians in the province were not working.
Dr Hamukale said even when in parliament, the law-makers from the province would rather debate baseless politics as opposed to talking about development.
“They should be ashamed of themselves. You have a law-maker from Kasama coming to donate here in Choma. That should tell you something about our MPs,” he said.
He said it was for this reason that he preferred working with a few committed councillors, mayors and council chairmen and not “lazy” members of parliament who on many occasions shun even public functions of national interest.
“Except for a few such as Sinazongwe MP, these MPs here are not working. They don’t even know how many people and youths are unemployed and which areas need schools and clinics but they can tell you the number of polling stations in their constituencies,” he said.