Chiefs demand a lot of respect from their subjects. It is that respect that, since the reintroduction of multiparty democracy, chiefs have been used for political gains.
There was a time chiefs were used to drum up support for the unpopular Third Term bid in the early 2000s which was aimed at extending the term of the presidency. Chiefs have also been used to support or to fight land reforms.
Memories are still fresh of how our traditional leaders were used to fight the much-needed Electoral Reforms (Amndment) Bills when almost anyone was of the view that the country needed them.
And today, we are shocked to hear that Traditional Authority Mwankhunikira is stopping traditional leaders under his jurisdiction from attending rallies organized by Leader of Opposition Lazarus Chakwera.
We are baffled because it is the same chief who just recently told the Leader of Opposition he has goodwill of chiefs. What message is Senior Chief Mwankhunikira sending? And which one should we believe?
To say the truth, this behaviour by chiefs of entangling themselves in politics is uncalled for. They are supposed to take care of subjects of different political affiliations.
When a chief issues a directive that his subordinates should not attend rallies of opposition political parties, is he trying to say he should be the only one attending such rallies? Or is he just confused such that he does not know what he is talking about? In the circumstances, we agree with what social commentator, Charles Kajaloweka, says: that Mwankhunikira’s conduct is “politicalmcorruption”.
We agree with Kajoweka that the chief has no right to ban his subordinates from attending other parties’ rallies apart from those of governing Democratic Progressive Party.
We are of the strong view that with political temperature now rising, it is important that hiefs should be as neutral as possible. They should be principled and desist from being used by politicians.
We, therefore, advise all chiefs that if they are to continue receiving what remains of their respect, they should stay away from politics and leave it to those who are in the field.
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