Senior Chief Muchinda, Kankomba Welala the third, of the Lala people of Serenje District in Central Province has revealed that some of his subjects were seeking asylum in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after losing their land.
Muchinda urged government to treat the matter with seriousness, claiming that the royal establishment had video evidence of those seeking asylum.
In a speech read on his behalf by his Royal Establishment Secretary, Eliud Katyoka, the royal father said, during a traditional leaders caucus in Serenje district, that the challenge arose because of displacements due to mining activities and conversion of the affected party land into farm blocks.
The Senior Chief said that government’s desire for excess land resulted in 155,000 hectares of land being converted into Nansanga Farm Block.
He further alleged that there was greediness and corruption among some of those running government machinery.
To mititgate the situation the Chief donated ten bales of second hand clothes to old men and women in his Chiefdom, and secured ten hectares of land to cultivate fields for them.
“Mining has come with challenges. One of the schools has no pupils to write Grade 7 examinations because all the children have gone into mining,” he said.
Meanwhile, Serenje District Commissioner Paul Masuwa said he was concerned with the unfolding events following installation of Chief Muchinda in a space of two months.
Masuwa reminded the Senior Chief that his Chiefdom cannot develop in isolation but by work with government.
On the issue of child labour, Masuwa said the government would investigate and arrest culprits involved in child labour as it was an international and domestic crime.
“I am the one who installed Senior Chief Muchinda two months ago. Remember that there was a gap of 13 years without a Chief. We were all anxious to have a Chief. This is because government needs to work with Chiefs to develop.
“But I am very concerned with what is happening in Muchinda Chiefdom. You said you want to be the best Chiefdom but that can only happen if you work with government,” he said.
Furthermore, Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) Board Member, Emmanuel Mutamba, said chiefs should be free to contact his organization to research on provisions of the law on several matters including displacements.
“We have an effective research department Research which can help to render an informed legal perspective on all issues affecting the Chiefdoms,” he said.
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