Chiefs are a highly un-democratic concept
I find chiefs a puzzling concept. Here we are in a democratic country – at least government likes to call us that – and at the same time we have chiefs who have been holding on to their thrones for decades, 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 60 years! Their regime is highly autocratic. Not a hint of an election in sight! Either, chiefs inherit the throne, or they are chosen by a council of elders, leaving the whole process wide open to abuse. Yet, they reign supreme in their local communities, disregarding the principle of separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, as they make, effect and interpret the rules. As such they constitute a parallel system to government, albeit at the local level. However, they are useful to government, as they serve as a convenient way to influence the electorate.
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly