THE level of inter and intra disputes and wrangles among chiefdoms in Zambia seem to have escalated to a worrisome level and require government’s urgent attention as it has potential to disturb national peace and development.
Chiefs Affairs and Tradition Affairs minister, Lawrence Sichalwe, assured the nation last year that government was committed to addressing factors which led to instability in chiefdoms such as chiefdom boundaries and succession disputes, inter and intra chiefdom disputes and undocumented family trees.
That assurance was made in December last year but four months down the road, the wrangles, especially among chiefdoms in the Gwembe Valley, still persists and have now even degenerated to physical confrontations between people.
Reports of the recent free-for-all physical fight between the subjects from the Sikoongo and Chipepo chiefdoms, which resulted in the murder of a headman, merely over the burial in one chiefdom of a person who hailed from the other chiefdom, should act as a wakeup call to government on the need to immediate address the problem of wrangles between chiefdoms.
This is not the first time that the subjects from the two chiefdoms have engaged in physical fights over seemingly simple and easily solvable issues. The altercation between the two Tonga Chiefdoms have been going on for some time now and yet nothing seem to have been done about it.
Although some wrangles come from very far, and are due to some perceived enmity, emanating from time immemorial, what is worrying is the extent to which warring parties are ready to go to silence each other. They are now even ready to kill, as has been exhibited in the Chirundu case.
This new pattern and level of chiefdom wrangles is very worrying because it seen seems to be growing and slowly becoming a danger to the nation’s peace, political, economic and social stability.
Zambia has always been a place where people of different origins and tribal backgrounds, have learnt to live together as one in peace and harmony.
Therefore the reported segregation amongst the people of Sikoongo and Chipepo chiefdoms over solvable issues, like land boundaries, need to be urgently addressed before it degenerates into serious bloodshed.
The two warring chiefdoms have so far shown that, on their own, they are incapable of sitting down to resolve their differences and therefore require the intervention of a third party like government.
It is a matter which requires the serious and urgent attention of the Ministry of Chief and Traditional Affairs because it seems to be slowly but surely degenerating into a deadly affair between subjects of the Sikoongo and Chipepo chiefdoms.