THE 2019 Umutomboko ceremony on Saturday temporarily came to an abrupt end in Mwansabombwe after Paramount chief Mwata Kazembe collapsed in the main arena and was rushed to his palace for 'resuscitation'.
Everything started as planned with the traditional leader having finished his speech through his representative where he highlighted some of the challenges the province faced
But as Minister of Energy, Mathews Nkhuwa, was delivering his speech as guest of honour, the Mwata collapsed, sending panic among his handlers who quickly whisked him away, throwing the programme into disarray.
About 20 minutes later, a convoy of vehicles screeched onto the arena, announcing the coming back of the paramount chief, throwing the crowd into wild jubilation.
The paramount chief re-entered the arena with pomp and aplomb much to the excitement of the people.
The traditional leader was then ushered onto the stage "to show that he was alive" and danced around as traditional gunshots rattled the sky.
All this was happening, the programmes coordinator continued announcing that whoever was involved in the unfortunate development had failed, branding those suspected of being behind the collapsing of the chief as kids.
The traditional leader however did not last long as he was moved out of the arena, signifying the premature end of the event as people also started leaving.
The presentation of the gifts was haphazardly done as most of the people, including the invited guests, started to leave.
And some of the elders who refused to be named said the paramount chief was being 'tested'. They described the development as sad but not surprising as witchcraft was not something new in the area.
They were however disappointed that some people could use the Umutomboko ceremony to "showcase" the power of their charms, with reckless disregard of people who had traveled from far and wide to grace the occasion.
"People don't play with witchcraft here and it could be that there is a group of people who put their charms together to disrupt this event.
"All this is aimed at showing their witchcraft prowess and prove that the traditional leader is a baby. This is not surprising at all but it is a shame. We cannot have a situation where people are ganging up to purposefully embarrass their own traditional leader," one of them said.