Press Statement By Chairperson Of The House Of Chiefs On Fred M’membe’s Proposal To Appoint Chiefs As Provincial Ministers And District Commissioners

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Press Statement by HRH Chief Chisunka, Chairperson of the House of Chiefs
House of Chiefs Advises Politicians to Respect The Constitution

February 12, 2024 – The House of Chiefs Wishes to address the recent proposal by Socialist Party President Mr. Fred M’membe to appoint traditional leaders into state offices at provincial and district levels, This proposition, the House firmly believes, directly contradicts the fundamental principles enshrined in the Zambian Constitution.

Firstly, I want to make it plainly clear that the House of Chiefs, under my leadership, finds this proposal incompatible with the very
foundation on which this nation is built on, which is the Constitution. Furthermore, the House expresses concern that appointing chiefs to state offices could potentially disrupt the peaceful coexistence of various tribal groups since traditional leaders are seen as unifiers of all people regardless of their political associations.

‘The constitution clearly assigns functions to chieftaincy and traditional institutions as custodians of
customary law and culture over defined territorial boundaries.

Article 165 (1) provides as follows; “The institution of chieftaincy and traditional institutions are
guaranteed and shall exist in accordance with the culture, custom and traditions of the people to
whom they apply.”

Article 168 (2) expressly prohibits chiefs from participating in state affairs by stating; “A chief who
seeks to hold office in a political party, or election or appointment to a state office, except that of
councilor, shall abdicate the chief’s throne.”

Section 6 (2) of the Chiefs Act CAP 287 of the laws of Zambia reiterates the position of the
constitution as regards the functions of chiefs to be preservation of the African customary law
Within their limited respective geographic jurisdictions. The House of Chiefs does not support the
idea of installing traditional leaders in state offices because of its potential to create disharmony
‘among tribal groups which are peacefully co-existing presently.

While politicians are free to offer ideas of how they want this country to be governed, they should
desist from propagating ideas which are outrightly divisive.

HRH Chief Chisunka
Chairperson, House of Chiefs
Chairperson , Luapula Province Chiefs Council

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