TRADITIONAL rulers occupy a distinguished position in any society, the reason why they are treated with due respect and consulted on cultural and societal values.

Their disposition both in private and public is thus expected to be above board and should at all times execute their traditional functions fairly and with due decorum. They are role models in their chiefdoms and beyond.

In Zambia, the citizens through a popular mode resolved to further protect the institution of chieftaincy by precluding them from partisan politics. This is the practice in many other countries.

Unfortunately, Chief Mukuni of Kazungula district has decided to remove his traditional garb to embrace partisan politics through tantrums from a solitary
posture, much to the chagrin of citizens.

One of the reasons why chiefs must stay clear of partisan politics is that, by nature, they are expected to be neutral because they superintend over subjects who hold different political inclinations.

Partisan politics for traditional rulers would present them as divisive.

The other reason is that political debates are highly emotive and as such some people may scream blue murder at their chiefs. In the end, they would lose
respect.

Even in advanced democracies such as India and the United Kingdom, the political space does on many occasions become highly charged and characterised by exchange of bitter words.

Thirdly, it would be too much of a burden for chiefs to carry out their traditional roles and at the same time engage in weighty political undertakings.

We, therefore, urge chief Mukuni to refrain from partisan politics which, in effect, has unmasked his frustrations because his preferred candidate partner Hakainde Hichilema has disastrously lost presidential polls five times running.

As Zambia Republican Party (ZRP) President Wright Musoma says, chief Mukuni’s frustrations are borne out of the fact that he has realised that his support for Mr Hichilema is a failed project.

Indeed, it appears that the traditional ruler does not realise that he has transformed himself into an ordinary political cadre whose pre-occupation is to disparage even the positive attributes about the Government.

He has clearly lost flavour and muscle as a traditional ruler because he had expected his personal fortunes to blossom had the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader won the presidential bid.

Clearly, the chief requires serious introspection for him to regain his sobriety so that he can resume his dignified traditional functions. It is not too late!

As it stands now, his subjects have seen through his outbursts and manoeuvres that the man has
unresolved issues with himself.

He is in fact at liberty to meet Government leaders instead of issuing disparaging media statements towards the ruling party. He has unfettered access to Government authorities.

The House of Chiefs is equally another institution available for him to present his issues in a sober and orderly manner. It would not do for him to continue grandstanding and complaining in wrong platforms like a cry baby.

It is time the traditional ruler stopped abrogating the supreme law of the land, but should instead start expending his energies on traditional matters. He is also free to offer advice on national matters in good faith.

Chiefs are allowed to participate in national issues as long as they remain non-partisan.

The country is in a hurry to develop through critical sectors of the economy, a feat that requires support from all citizens including traditional rulers like chief Mukuni. Malicious approach to issues is counterproductive.

Chiefdoms are embroiled in boundary disputes, accusations of witchcraft, early marriages, chid delinquency and traditional disputes. Crime has not spared these chiefdoms.

We expect that chief Mukuni could confront such vices head-on instead of involving himself in issues
outside his jurisdiction. It is embarrassing.

The traditional ruler is off side!

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