Find us on Google+

Friday, 19 December 2008

Insights from Chiefs (Senior Headman Mtonga)

"During colonial times the whites found chiefs here and not politicians; even MPs are supposed to be under us because we are the owners of the land..."

Senior Headman Mtonga arguing that it is wrong for chiefs to be barred from politics, when it was "chiefs that brought independence". The question on the extent to which chiefs can be or are effective agents of political change will be discussed early in the new year as part of our blog specials on traditional authorities. A previous blog in the series Traditional Authorities - Part 1 : Chiefs in colonial Zambia has touched on the role of chiefs in the independence struggle. Whilst they didn't bring independence, they played a critical role in facilitating the struggle, especially through funding.


  1. In the promised land, chiefs are the glue that binds community, culture, the land and the resources it supports. By definition they therefore form the upper chamber, the benign aristocracy, and cannot sully their massive responsibility in the tawdry politics implanted by an alien culture. Their massive responsibility is to eschew the feudalism of the likes of the old Mpezeni and Chitimakulu, embracing an enlightened and more democratic way for their people whose destiny is inextricably linked with the land. Having 'created' the chiefdoms over much of the territory under 'Indirect Rule' - with all its faults, we turned our back on the chiefs, choosing instead the waPolitishi class, setting Zambia back many decades. The way forward, the only enlightenment, is through chiefdom trusts as accepted by the House of Chiefs. From this Zambia will go on to re-discover its genius.

  2. Chosanganga,

    "The way forward, the only enlightenment, is through chiefdom trusts as accepted by the House of Chiefs."

    Might be useful for you to explain a bit more on these trusts. How would they work?


All contributors should follow the basic principles of a productive dialogue: communicate their perspective, ask, comment, respond,and share information and knowledge, but do all this with a positive approach.

This is a friendly website. However, if you feel compelled to comment 'anonymously', you are strongly encouraged to state your location / adopt a unique nick name so that other commentators/readers do not confuse your comments with other individuals also commenting anonymously.