MP Kalonga tells govt to stop intimidating Chiefs who attend opposition rallies

Chiradzulu North lawmaker Willet Kalonga has challenged government to stop ‘intimidating’ Chiefs from attending political rallies conducted by the opposition.

Kalonga: Free the chiefs

Kalonga made the statement during a political rally which the United Transformation Movement (UTM) conducted at Ndata primary school in Chiradzulu on Sunday.

His remarks were in direct response to alleged intimidation chiefs face from government whenever they wish to or attend opposition rallies.

Several Chiefs have been spotted at UTM’s rallies that have been held across the country.

According to government, the Local Government Act (Chiefs Act) stipulates that local leaders are supposed to work with the government of the day in all it’s endevervours despite their political affiliation.

This they said literally means that traditional leaders must not support or accommodate opposition parties.

However, this has for a long time attracted criticism from various quarters, as they argue that the trend limits rights and  freedoms of association on the part of the Chiefs.

Many argue that despite being leaders, Chiefs also have rights to choice and association, hence the need to allow them join, let alone attend meetings of a party of their choice.

Kalonga said: “I would like to urge government to stop intimidating chiefs regarding their political affiliation. Chiefs have rights too and government has no mandate to fire them on political grounds”.

He further assured them of their protection from dismissal.

In her remarks, UTM’s Secretary General, Patricia Kaliati urged the Chiefs who attended the rally, to be firm, saying chieftaincy comes from bloodline.

She said no political party in government should scare Chiefs, because they are chosen by their royal families.

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