KAPALA CHISUNKA, Zambezi
THE Mukanda Nkunda in Zambezi was a hive of activities last weekend as thousands gathered for the annual historic traditional ceremony; the Lunda Lubanza.
Both young and old majority of whom were decorated in their traditional attire; gathered to witness the ceremony for the Lundas of Senior Chief Ishindi of Zambezi district.
By mid-morning, the main arena was brought to life by a host of entertainment groups mostly from the Lundas of Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as Zambia as they waited for the arrival of Senior Chief Ishindi.
Senior Chief Ishindi has 54 chiefs under his throne in Zambia, DRC and Angola.
The Lunda Lubanza traditional ceremony which bares strong resemblance to the Umutomboko traditional ceremony is held to commemorate the coming of the Lunda people from Kola in DRC. The ceremony is a symbol of unity of all Lunda speaking people that have settled in Angola, DRC and Zambia.
The event is ceremonious as it is also the occasion Senior Chief Ishindi comes out of his palace to meet his subjects as well as discuss matters affecting his kingdom. His coming out of the palace to meet his subjects is the climax of the event.
There was â€˜organisedâ€™ commotion as people failed to contend their excitement when Senior Chief Ishindi made his grand entrance into the main arena carried on his palanquin brandishing his fly-whisk. People danced and sang while they followed their traditional chief around the arena.
This yearâ€™s traditional ceremony was graced by President Lungu who was accompanied by Government and Patriotic Front (PF) officials.
The event was also attended by members of the opposition political parties and traditional chiefs from DRC and Angola.
In his speech, President Lungu said traditional ceremonies are important as they offer an opportunity for people to assimilate the values of the Zambian cultural heritage.
President Lungu said traditional ceremonies are an effective way of safe guarding cultural heritage and provides a platform for dialogue between Government and the traditional leadership.
â€œThese ceremonies are also a platform through which good morals are inculcated in our youth. They are also important because they play an important role in the promotion of the tourism industry for employment and wealth creation for our people,â€ he said.
However, President Lungu said traditional leaders have a responsibility to ensure that practices such as sexual cleansing, inheritance of widows, early marriages and Gender Based Violence that do not add value to peopleâ€™s well-being are discontinued.
â€œGiven that these practises are well entrenched among our traditionalists, Government will do everything working with you to ensure these customs and practices are not continued.Â We would like to work with you to promote and protect the girl child.
We would like to work with you to promote the involvement of our women in the development of this country. As we move forward we will work as PF to ensure that we have at least 50 percent women participation in the electoral process,â€ he said.
He said the challenge was now up to the traditional leaders to show openly that they support the cause to discontinue such traditional practices.
And President Lungu said Government has embarked on numerous developmental projects to uplift the lives of people in North-Western Province.
He highlighted some of the development projects in various sectors including agriculture, health, education and road sectors.
â€œGovernment is also spearheading the implementation of the revised national decentralisation policy which is being carried out in phases. The process will culminate in some central government functions and staff being transferred,â€ he said.
And senior chief Ishindi, who described the Presidentâ€™s visit as historic, commended Government for the on-going developmental projects in the district.
Speaking through his spokesperson Kenneth Kankinza, the traditional leader said the people in Zambezi are happy with President Lunguâ€™s leadership because he is unifying the country.
The traditional leader however urged Government to come up with legislation that will empower chiefs to participate effectively at both local and national level. He said traditional leaders have a pivotal role to play in national development as they interact with local people.
â€œWe also call on you to speed up the enactment of Traditional Leaders Act to empower chiefs to act on issues of governance and national development. We also commend Government for the national decentralisation policy which will enhance community participation and accelerate rural development,â€ he said.
And Senior Chief Ishindi said the Lundas are peace-loving people who want fair play and justice to prevail with their neighbours.
â€œYou can count on us in your endeavours for unity, peace and development. We appreciate your efforts to unite the country through the â€˜One Zambia, One Nationâ€™ motto. Your determination to embrace all Zambians is commendable,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, the Lunda-Lubanza Cultural Association chairperson, Anthony Samuhandu, said traditional ceremonies are cardinal in the promotion of culture and tourism because of their ability to create economic opportunities through sustainable development.
KAPALA CHISUNKA, Zambezi