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Friday, 18 July 2008

Quote of the week (Silvia Masebo)

The first "video quotable" of the weekly quotable series, comes from Ms Masebo on her threat to de-register the two chiefs at logger heads with each other.

This is the second time Ms Masebo has issued such a threat. Under the Chiefs Act (1965) -found under the
Laws of Zambia, Volume 16 - the President does indeed possess the power to withdraw the recognition of a chief, senior chief (etc). But as Ms Masebo noted in 2005 Daily Parlimantary Debate on Southern Province Chiefs, the President cannot stop people from recognising someone as a chief or stop someone being a chief. Interesting to note that in the same session, she also cautioned against playing politics with chiefs and promised us a new draft chiefs policy. The former seems to have overtaken her, and the latter remains undelivered:

Now, I know that a number of hon. Members like to play politics with the issues of chiefs. We advise that politicians should not get involved in these traditional issues because, at the end of the day, we will just create more problems than solutions.

Mr Speaker, it is in this House where one hon. Member brought a question on why a chief was not given the status of paramount chief. I gave the same answer then, but it is as if it is I, Masebo, who does not want this particular chief to be made into a paramount chief, and yet it is the policy of this Government and not just this Government, but that of the preceding Governments as well. However, this does not stop anybody or any traditional grouping from calling a particular person whom they think is a born and established chief. However, from the Government’s point of view, we have decided, for now, to maintain the status quo.

Obviously, the Government is looking into all these issues, taking into account the various queries that have come in. We have developed a draft policy for chiefs. The policy will take into account all the issues of upgrading or recognising chiefs, chiefdom boundaries, issues of palaces and the general welfare of chiefs. It is in this policy that we hope that some of these issues will be addressed. I would like the hon. Members to assist us by waiting until the policy is endorsed. In the meantime, it would be appreciated if they could understand what the current policy is and explain it to their royal highnesses. The policy of the Government is not to bring up issues just to create confusion and problems.

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