Eastern Province SINDA Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace coordinator Davide Pontino Phiri says chiefs publicly endorsing President Edgar Lungu for next month’s elections are doing so to say ‘thank you’ for their allowances which the PF government raised at a wrong time.
In an interview, Phiri said chiefs should keep their decisions secret.
“It’s not in order for a traditional leader like village headmen and chiefs to announce to the public their preferred candidates because that brings confusion in their areas and it is also compromises their positions since they are expected to provide guidance to every politician. But for them to endorse candidates, that soils their leadership…What the community requires them to do is to provide peace and love,” Phiri said.
“Now what are they going to tell UPND candidates if anyone knows that they endorsed ba Lungu? Sicifunika yai chifukwa ngakhale ulemu umatha. Comwe chifunika nikusungila cinsinsi cao mumtima (that’s not right because even respect for them vanishes. What is needed is for them to keep their decisions to their hearts).”
He said chiefs should not deny the fact that they were endorsing President Lungu following his directive to have their allowances and subsidies increased.
Phiri advised traditional leaders not to be entangled in politics because their positions were above politics.
Phiri further advised them to take keen interest in sensitising their areas about the advantages of voting to avoid voter apathy.
Last week, Mpezeni, the paramount chief of the Ngoni, endorsed the candidature of President Lungu. Mpezeni claimed his endorsement of President Lungu had nothing to do with the allowances the PF government had increased.