THE House of Chiefs says it is saddened by the death of Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people in Northern Province.

And Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people in Eastern Province says he is shocked by the chief's death.

In an interview yesterday, House of Chiefs chairperson chief Madzimawe said Chitimukulu's death was a big blow to the institution of traditional leadership.

"We are so saddened as House of Chiefs and actually a dark cloud has befallen the country because him (Chitimukulu) being one of the four paramount chiefs that we have in the country, his death has affected the entire country. You know as the institution of traditional leadership we look up to these four paramount chiefs for guidance so his demise is a big blow to the country and indeed the institution of traditional leadership," chief Madzimawe said.

He said chief Chitimukulu's death was also sad to the Ngoni people and him in particular.

"This is sad to the House of Chiefs and indeed personally because I used to interact very well with the late king of the Bemba land so it is a very big loss to all of us. I had developed a personal rapport with the paramount chief because sometimes my paramount chief used to send me to Kasama to represent him on certain things," he said.

Chief Madzimawe said the House of Chiefs was praying for the late chief's subjects so that they could mourn him in peace and dignity.

And chief Mpezeni said it was sad that chief Chitimukulu had died.

"You know I visited him (chief Chitimukulu) in Hospital when he was just brought to UTH and I spoke to him and his condition was not very bad," said chief Mpezeni.

Chitimukulu died shortly after being taken to UTH's Renal Clinic on Tuesday. The late Ackson Chilufya Mwamba ascended to the throne in 2007 and was officially recognised as Paramount Chief Chitimukulu on May 7, 2007 through Statutory Instrument No.36 of 2007.