BORDER TENSION: Chief Puta writes to HH
… to resolve differences with DRC
By ADRIAN MWANZA
FEARFUL of escalating border tension, Senior Chief Puta of the Bwile people of Kaputa has petitioned President Hakainde Hichilema to expedite the settlement of the growing border row between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in his area.
Chiefs in the region have appealed to Government to consider halting the beaconing and alienating of land exercise being conducted on the Zambia/DRC border.
The exercise being conducted by the Surveyor General has caused serious consternation on account of encroachment and loss of villages to the DRC which the chiefs believe has been caused by failure by officers to consult them widely.
The development has also been confirmed by Former Finance Minister Katele Kalumba who is also Headman Natende of Senior Chief Puta’s chiefdom.
Dr Kalumba said this emanated from the fact that the two countries had for some time been facing border rows and that it was only prudent for the government to look into the matter.
“I can confirm that Senior Chief Puta has written to President Hichilema to look into this matter which if left unchecked would cause chaos and problems in the future,” he said.
At the heart of the conflict is a handful of villages spread along the border on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
The disputed stretch of border between lakes Mweru and Tanganyika is only 205 kilometres and has been the source of strained relations since 1959.
Since May, 2020 there has been military deployment by both governments to secure the disputed area.
The exercise if completed would take away land belonging to Zambian Chiefs and Zambian people.
Senior Chief Puta however disclosed that he had written to President Hichilema over the border row between the two countries.
He said the border issue started a long time ago and in the process some Zambian villages had been lost because of this problem.
Recently, Defence Minister Ambrose Lufuma said the two countries would meet to discuss the matter involving the border row.
Mr Lufuma said that the government was aware of the challenges people in Kaputa were facing and that it was on high alert.
He said Covid-19 had stalled the meeting which was supposed to be held last year but would be done in the first quarter of this year.