Editor General, Barotseland Post
Incarcerated Barotseland Administrator General, Hon. Afumba Mombotwa and other three co-accused members of the Barotseland provisional government have indicated their position regarding government of Zambia's committal of their trumped up case to Kabwe high court. In a letter addressed to Zambia’s commissioner of prisons, the four Barotseland officials have categorically stated that they will not appear before any Zambian court pending advise from Barotseland international lawyers. They have also argued that they are political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.The letter was written and delivered to the prison authority, and also copied to The Litunga King of Barotseland as well as the entire nation of Barotseland.
They are charged on the account that on unknown date but between March 1, 2012 and August 20, 2013 while in Sioma district the four, Hon. Afumba Mombotwa, Hon. Kalima Inambao, Hon. Pelekelo Kalima and Hon. Paul Masiye jointly acting together with unknown people conspired to secede "Western Province" (Barotseland) from the rest of Zambia. On 26th January 2015, the Mwembeshi magistrate court ruled that their case be committed to Kabwe High court for commencement of trial, having been in maximum incarceration since the 5th of December 2014.
Here below is a copy reproduced for public records only.
27th January 2015
The Commissioner of Prisons
Zambia Prison Service
Mr. Percy Chato
Mwembeshi Maximum Security Prison.
REF: OUR POSITION
As political prisoners and prisoners of conscience we have taken a stand not to appear before any Zambian court but rather remain in Mwembeshi Maximum Prison, at the pleasure of the police until our international lawyers on the issue between Barotseland and Zambia advise.
The reason being that the Barotzish and Zambian police operate on two different concepts which are far apart.
The Barotzish operate on the principle of law and justice while the Zambian police and Zambians operate on the principle of coercion and forced assimilation.
Justice does not allow Zambia to determine her own course, to be precise;
1. Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) signed a treaty with Barotseland
2. Zambia terminated the Agreement (treaty)
3. Zambia enacted draconian laws with intent to deprive us our rights.
The current state of affairs is that:
Zambia is the complainant and the aggrieved.
Zambia is the one arresting, killing, persecuting and adjudicating over her misdeeds.
Our understanding is that ‘a state that entered into a treaty cannot invoke her internal laws as justification for violating the treaty viz laws of treaties.
We believe there is no law that we transgress by remaining in jail until we have recourse to a neutral international court on the issue of Barotseland.
Prisoners of conscience.
CC. His Majesty the Litunga of Barotseland
Barotseland here we are at it again, the sixth Zambian republican president appearing so innocent soft but cunning, fashioned in strategic hate, wickedness is his desire, nothing hopeful for the children of Barotseland.
So dangerous is his strategy to harm and silence Barotseland forever. Look at the three strategies he plans to employ this time;
1. His hate desire to call for referendum is to apply the same rigging strategies he used to ascend to his throne…. So; rigging strategy….
2. Separate Barotseland on tribal lines by supporting the Nkoya brothers to feel marginalized by the rest and revolt against Barotseland…. So; Nkoya conflict-separation strategy….
3. Creating a wide boarder of Barotseland to mask the opinion of the true Rotse ….. So; wide voter strategy…..
As noted and resounded by most Barotseland intellectuals, we are way beyond referendum and not necessary. The BNC Limulunga declaration should be responded to not fooling us and think we can be excited… NEVER! …..The Rodger Chongwe commission of inquiry to be released, nothing more…. First in first out.
First, Barotseland should move fast and ahead to legally and intelligently seal all the gaps of suspected strategies to weaken the struggle. All I know is that the Litunga has declared his support over this issue through the Kuta. Therefore, THE LITUNGA, KING OF BAROTSELAND, THE BRE AND THE KUTA, BNFA and LINYUNGANDAMBO should be seen to be ONE with one voice and only one spokesperson …. It is war and needs to be managed well… this time around.
Second, THE GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBIA SHOULD UNCONDITIONALLY RELEASE ALL THOSE ARRESTED OVER THE BAROTSELAND FREEDOM.
Third, the people of Barotseland should all understand that the declaration for our independence was done and the Zambian Government decided not to respond to it.
Fourth, all the Barotseland activists and Barotseland people should guard themselves against saleouts and those who want to pretend to be on our side yet not. The call for separation of north western, southern provinces together with Barotseland should not blind our mission already attained.
Finally, this is just the same devil putting on a different small jacket. It’s time to pray.
BULOZI KI NAHA SHANGWE!!!!
The recent suggestion, by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to hold a referendum over the Barotseland issue is not only laughable but also embarrassing to every Zambian who loves his country and knows its fifty years history. Such a move will not only be unrealistic in Barotseland’s case but also unjustifiable due to several undeniable factors which can only be ignored by someone out rightly ignorant about the relevance of a referendum, let alone its meaning. As such, we reject the idea with due respect while understanding the mentality of those outside Barotseland who may be in its favour.
Seemingly, the Honourable President may not be aware that a referendum over the same issue actually took place in 1969. Below are some of the reasons why such an exercise may even be termed a plot from the very pit of hell. Before going any further, it is worthwhile to point out that it is an accepted view that, from the very beginning, the Zambian government never committed itself to honor the Barotseland Agreement 1964. This is proved by the deliberate enactment, from 1965 leading to 1969, of several legislations which were in direct breach of the BA ’64.
The 1969 Referendum
In 1969, after having deliberately destroyed the Barotse Native Government in its bid to completely absorb the Barotse nation, the Zambian government of the day decided to organize a national referendum from which it hoped to legalize its illegal complete takeover of Barotseland. That referendum (commonly called, “lifu la ndambo” in Lozi – directly translated as the death of a neighbour ) was subjected to the entire Zambian populace of the time. Majority of people in Barotseland had voted against joining Zambia while basically all non Barotse voted otherwise. The outcome was obvious; and based on that, the Zambian government decided to unilaterally terminate the BA’64 and renamed what they were already maliciously referring to as “Barotse Province”, “Western Province”. The original Western Province was subsequently renamed “Copper Belt Province”.
Any sensible person would have known that this was not only unjust but also day light robbery. There was no way that the population of Barotseland would have been anywhere near the population of the rest of Zambia in number. It was going to be understood to some extent had the referendum been conducted only in Barotseland as was the case in Quebec, Scotland and Cataluña in Spain. Besides that, a referendum on Barotseland was still wrong in that Barotseland only got associated with Zambia via an international treaty which the latter decided to unilaterally terminate.
Following the resounding “No” vote in Barotseland in the 1969 referendum, the Zambian government realized that its trick had been unmasked as some Barotse kept on calling for the honouring of the Agreement despite the referendum’s outcome. The Kaunda regime then hatched another diabolical plan of populating Barotseland with non Barotse under the guise of one Zambia one nation. Some indigenous Barotse, particularly the skilled and learned ones, where transferred to the eastern region while Barotseland was flooded with dull non Barotse; so dull that they could not even learn Lozi. On the contrary, the Barotse who went elsewhere were forced to learn local languages since the tribes they found could, for obvious reasons, hardly understand English.
The other purpose for this exercise was to create a division among Barotse nation consisting of Nkoyas, Mbundas, Luvales, Luyanas, etc. It was also in order to cause insubordination to the Litunga and senior chiefs like Senior Chief Ilukena in Mankoya or Luena. The very name change of Mankoya to Kaoma was in line with this brain wash.
Furthermore, all refugees from Angola and the Great Lakes area who refused to be relocated back to their native countries were naturalized as Zambians and resettled in Barotse territory. This was done to even those refugees who had been previously kept in places like Luapula. The idea was to corrupt our culture and customs since these resettled refugees felt indebted to the Zambians and would only want to communicate in languages foreign to Barotseland. The Radio Liseli non Lozi songs and programs issue is only another example. A financial support scheme was set up under the same guise of resettlement in order to economically empower naturalized refugees at the expense of the locals. This deliberate tempering with our demographics was done with a future localized referendum in mind when the majority will look negatively at anything to do with the Barotse nation outside Zambia.
The legality of Zambia’s Claim on Barotseland
Barotseland was never originally an integral part of Northern Rhodesia but only became associated with Zambia based on a legal document called the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. When this international treaty was breached by the Zambians, Barotseland was legally free to go it alone. However, our people wanted to do so in a peaceful manner, yet while nursing the possibility of reversing the unilateral abrogation. Barotseland finally accepted the termination on 27th March 2012. However, our previous calls for the restoration of a treaty that never saw the light of day was read as weakness on our part. The Zambians mistook our diplomacy as acknowledgement of our helpless “unity” with them.
One may understand calls for a referendum in a situation where the Agreement was being honored and where some people felt that such a legal co-existence alone was no longer enough. Ours is a situation where one party deliberately decided to get out of the Agreement. Surely the party that is left does not need a referendum to determine whether it is still part of the separated part or not. Zambia left us alone and we must fend for ourselves. This is exactly what the March 2012 Barotse National Council decided to address. There cannot be a Parallel Tabulated Votes (PTV) on that.
We are glad that finally President Lungu has understood the seriousness of the Barotseland issue and our determination to stand on the BNC Resolutions. It is also gratifying to learn that the honourable Zambian President, like his predecessor, also acknowledges the position Barotse activists hold on this matter. We, therefore, take this opportunity to remind His Excellency that whatever talks he hopes to hold with us will not be fruitful while the key players in the matter are still in Zambian prisons. We call upon him to unconditionally release Hon Afumba Mombotwa and the rest Barotse activists in the interest of peace. Their continued incarceration does not help anyone and as such, only makes the bad situation the Zambian Government is in worse. We already passed the time for a referendum in 1969. Now is a time for peaceful disengagement or else the Zambian Government must file its opposition to our independence claim at the International Court of Justice. Mr. Lungu has only a year to act wisely on this issue. As a lawyer himself, he surely cannot handle our justified claim unwisely.
"Luyanas are descendants of Mwambwa while Nkoyas are descendants of Ñoya. Mwabwa and Ñoya were blood sisters, both daughters of the same mother, Noshaa"
I would like to shed light on the genesis of the Nkoya tribal group of Barotseland, in order to disprove the innuendo being peddled that certain tribal extractions are under subjugation of other tribal groupings in Barotseland. This incorrect assumption is being engineered by political stewards who are our brothers and sisters from the group that professes to be of the "Nkoya" extraction which claims not to belong to Lozi nationality. They have argued that Nkoyas are not part of the Barotse-speaking people. According to a Nkoya traditionalist, Robert Litungu.
It is better to explain this issue because the matter is being exaggerated and fueled by forces outside Barotseland who are Zambian politicians aiming at bringing division among the diversified ethnic groupings of Royal Barotseland Kingdom. It is therefore, proper to discuss this matter honestly in order to remove the unnecessary innuendos on this argument. To start with, let us examine who the "Nkoya" people are?
It is stated that the "Nkoya" people are descendants of Sioka Nalinanga and that this argument is not carried forward beyond this level. If you go further, though, you will see that Sioka Nalinanga is a descendant of Ñoya sister of Mwambwa the Luyana founder.
The fact is that the name "Nkoya" was adulterated from the name Ñoya who was a sister to Mwambwa and both of them being daughters of Noshaa.
On the occasion of the death of their mother while residing along the "Loi" River in the present day Congo DR, the first dispersal took place which saw the moving away of notables like Inyunyi, Mbukushu, Yutoya, Ngambwa, Imanga, Kayawe, Nyimbwamoyo, Mbakala and many, many more. The dispersal was ignited by the desire to change leadership from women to men and that there were problems of disposal of the chattels of the departed leader (their mother Noshaa). Notables, among others, like Isimwaa had resisted the idea to replace the leadership from women to men. Following this episode, the first group went away leaving others including Mwambwa and Ñoya with their children.
After sometime, the group decided to take a similar movement which brought them to the present settlement of "Ului" which was derived from the name "Loi" River in present day Congo DR.
While on the trek, incidentally, they found or stumbled on Yutoya while others had gone in different directions, which were later located. During this time, Mwambwa was the leader who was supported by Ñoya and the other people. Ñoya had daughters by the names of Nalinanga and Nolea who later had sons by the name of Sioka and Imatakwana who later became famous and got known as Mange.
Sioka, being a nobleman, was given responsibility to look after the royal regalia during the reign of Mwambwa. In the meantime, Ñoya had moved to settle in a land which became known as Ñoya which is sandwiched between Mwito under Induna (chief) Mayankwa in Lukulu district, Luambuwa under Induna (chief) Kabilamwandi in Kaoma district while the other side is in the area of Sikusi under Induna ( chief) Iloke and Luena / Sitoya under Induna (chief) Sibetta in Mungu district respectively.
The land of Ñoya is eulogized by people who truly confess to be members of the Ñoya stock. As to the position of Sioka, true members of the Ñoya stock, will say:-
" Ami Kankoya ka Shihoka Nalinanga, bantu ba tula mikabo baka kulya nshima kuanga. Ba Mununga, ba nungile mpanda mwilu", meaning, “I am a Nkoya of the line of Sioka Nalinanga, one who eats nshima having climbed a tree".
The differences between the Nkoya people and the rest of Barotse tribes does not arise and is a non issue which should not be politicized. The insinuation of this matter is too dangerous to Barotseland and Zambia as a whole. The BRE is more democratic than the Zambian government. The Zambian government is democratic in theory, but for the past 50 years has marginalized and abused power. Kenneth Kaunda Zambia's first president was a semi-dictator under one party participatory democracy, whatever that means?
Before Zambia’s independence in 1964, the people in Barotseland were voting their Legislative council in power, representing their constituencies. The Litunga does not rule by decree or creed. There is no force.
Also note that the Litunga does not speak. This is how decisions are made and not by the Litunga.
There are three chambers in the Kuta, Bana Ba Malena, Commoners and the Indunas. This is how Barotse Royal Establishment is composed of. Also it is good to note that all tribes in Barotseland are in the governance systems of Barotse Royal Authority (BRA) or Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) according to Zambian imposition.
The BRA is not intending to go back to the days of slavery and enslave Nkoyas.
As a matter of fact, Litunga was the first African leader to end slavery. The name Litunga ‘Mulambwa’ signifies people should stop slavery but buy and sell dogs instead. This was way back in 1830. Lewanika upheld anti- slavery tendencies.
To add a bit on the relationship between the Luyis’ and the Nkoyas’, Mankoya/Kaoma had also been invaded and subjected to Makololo rule and was only reclaimed by the Luyi impis who wiped out the Makololos.
Makololos are the ones who imposed Lozi language across Barotseland and Mankoya had equally been headed by the Makololo, just like all other ethnic groupings of Barotseland.
This, therefore, should surely explain the connection between Mankoya and the rest of the people of Barotseland. As explained from the historical narration, the Nkoya people are from the root of Ñoya who was a blood sister to Mwambwa, therefore, the children of them are relatives of the same stock.
Finally, the Nkoya people should not violate historical and ethical codes of professional decency, thereby, being untrue to the History of their genesis in Barotseland by allowing themselves to be used by politicians with historical theory mixed with errors and polluted with political propaganda.
Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu.
Research by Saleya Kwalombota
News reported in some sections of the Zambian media that president Lungu wishes to engage with Barotse Royal Establishment and the activists so that they could show him the boundaries of what he referred to as the “so called Barotseland” so that he could possibly allow for a referendum, should not excite Barotseland even a bit as president Lungu is at the very least bluffing or he has no knowledge of what the Barotseland issue is really about.
The fact is, the people of Barotseland do not even require a referendum to be conducted on account that there is no legal reference of their existence within the union with Zambia. Zambia used its parliament to destroy the treaty that it did not create. Therefore, Zambia should instead respect the views of the people at the March Barotse National Council (BNC) of 2012 by withdrawing its administration from the territory they do not legally own.
Referendum in Exercise of Self-Determination
Recently Barotseland Government Lawyers wrote this on the issue of using a referendum as a means of implementing the disengagement between Barotseland and Zambia. Here below we share some of what they had to say on this matter.
The exercise of the right to self-determination requires, by its very nature, the expression of the will of the people. The holding of a referendum in order to establish the will of the people with respect to a change of status matters is a widely accepted act of self-determination. By way of example, Scotland recently held such a referendum on its independence. The Conference of Experts however noted that the act of self-determination is not reduced to a referendum but is seen as an integral process to which the referendum is but one of the elements. They further cautioned that where only votes count, a people or community which is numerically inferior has no control over its destiny. To this end, if a referendum is to be conducted then it has to be carefully formulated and the group of people allowed to vote clearly defined in order to ensure that the people of Barotseland are the ones that ultimately make the decision. If the vote is left to all of Zambia then the voices of the people of Barotseland can be quite easily drowned and the essence of the referendum defeated.
However, on the other hand, the people of Barotseland do not require a referendum to be conducted on account that there is no legal reference of their existence within the union with Zambia. Zambia used its parliament to destroy the treaty that it did not create. If Zambia was led by clever and sane people, they would have respected the views of the people at BNC of 2012 by withdrawing its administration from the territory they do not legally own. Over 50,000 people had gathered at BNC 2012 to resolve that Barotseland shall now become independent and it shall then determine its future whether good or bad.
It is not within the powers of Zambia to decide the fate and prospect of Barotseland; the independence of Barotseland is not hinged on Zambia to decide. Barotseland has a right to decide on its own, just like it did in 1964 when it resolved to join Zambia, and in the same way, it has decided to come out of it. There is no ambiguity in that.
The people of Scotland went for a Referendum because there was nothing that they had agreed upon with Britain that they did not respect; the rules and conditions of their union were rightfully followed, but still the people of Scotland felt they were lacking the element of being Scottish as a people coming from the independent Nation of Scotland. So they sought to come out of it, and the legality of any case determines whether referendum should be considered or not.
As for the case between Barotseland and Zambia it is such a straight forward one; it requires the respect and sincerity of both parties to be exercise maturity, or else it can result in deadly conflict which could have been avoided.
The true position of Barotseland within Zambia is that, Barotseland wants total independence granted through the 2012 BNC; to actualize it, it will go ahead to sue Zambia in the International Court of Justice just to lay claim and charges against Zambia, so that Zambia can now pay for all the misfortune it has caused on Barotseland in the court of law. If Zambia feels it has a legal claim over Barotseland, then let it advance it.
It must be noted that previous attempts by the Barotseland to engage the Government of Zambia in any form of meaningfully dialogue has fallen on deaf ears. If Zambia continues to skate around the matter of peaceful disengagement by bringing in no-issues such the referendum proposal then they are clearly showing that they are not serious about settling this matter peaceably.
We, therefore, wish to caution Barotseland nationals not to be duped by promises of referendum. If Zambians are failing to organize elections whose outcomes are agreeable to all, what guarantee is there that the organized referendum will yield acceptable outcomes?
If Zambia does not with draw their administration, the more credible routed is to take them to an international Court where they can produce their legal claim to administration of Barotseland.
Barotseland should not lose focus by paying credence to Mr. Lungu’s statement. In our view he is just setting up for the Lozi vote in Zambia’s 2016 general election. If he is serious he must firstly talk about his plan for withdrawing his troops from Barotseland, releasing all political prisoners in Zambian jails, such as His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Afumba Mombotwa, Administrator General, Rt. Hon. Likando Pelekelo, Secretary of State for Agriculture, Rt. Hon. Sylvester Kalima, Deputy Secretary of State for Agriculture and Rt. Hon. Masiye Masiyaleti, Deputy Secretary of Defense, including the four BNYL officials; Boris Maziba, Nayoto Mwenda, Sikwibela Wasilota and Hon. Mubita Waluka, who are unjustly serving jail sentences. These must be freed without any conditions and further delay.
Besides, The Zambian government already knows what the people of Barotseland want, not only through the BNC 2012 resolutions, but also the Rodger Chongwe Independent Commission of Inquiry which to date government has refuse to make public, only because the commission recommended the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. So what do they now want to achieve through the proposed referendum other than creating a platform to dupe Lozis once and for all?
Malozi, alutone! Busile. Bulozi kibwaluna Kupale Kumane. Abashi referendum!
The recent unfolding event where Barotseland provisional government leaders have been committed to Kabwe high court is hard to bear. These are ex-diplomats of another country and it is interesting to note how the accused will be tried in the High court of Zambia without violating the principle of justice. The people of Barotseland and world over should stand to condemn this nonsense. The way the whole issue is handled is like the master- servant relationship and as if Barotseland is a Zambian conquered territory. We don't remember when Barotseland was at war and conquered by Zambia to be under hostage where our people are tossed left and right at Zambian government's discretion. The wonders will never end in this circus of Barotseland autonomy struggle. Zambia on the other hand behaves as if it is innocent in this issue when it is the major culprit, it arrests, detains and drags our people before her courts without condemnation from her citizenry or international community. Where is justice, when the power that may be arrests and subjugate the people of Barotseland and at the same time is the complainant and prosecutor?
One may be confronted with a question of where the once brave and fearless men of Barotseland have gone. The docility being exhibited among elite Lozis is worrying, for how long should we stand and watch our Leaders being bundled up like wastage assets for disposal? The KUTA must also add its voice to push for the agenda that will bring the end to human rights violation. It is immoral for any well meaning Mulozi to ignore any longer the sufferings our activists endure in the hands of Zambian authority. All genuine Activist groups should put off their pride and lay out a genuine plan for Barotseland government take off, while the legal pursuit to overseer disengagement is in process.
Academic freedom fight will take us centuries to actualize our resolve if we ignore effective ways such as protests, rallies and wide spread patriotism. These are no way classified violence activities because our issue is of political nature that requires act of presenting something to sight. The people involved are defenseless and subdued by the armed power that does not recognize what we might consider peaceful approach, by way of engaging international courts.
I would like to borrow the words of former dictator, the president of Zambia Dr. Kenneth Kaunda that when demanding independence from an African power, "use a Gun", but from a White power, use "the Brain". The approach taken so far of using brain is recommendable but does not work well because the power that besieged our territory is African hence the need for game changeover consideration now.
We are dealing with the government that made a position in regard to Barotseland Agreement 1964 as been stale under the late president Chiluba, still the same government under the late president Sata that rubbished the Dr. Chongwe commission of inquiry of 2011 Mungu saga that recommended the restoration of BA64, still the same government that refused to assert signature to have the issue settled at international court, it is the same government that militarized our territory in readiness to hit back at any possible uprising, the list goes on and on. In this regard, it leaves us to conclude that Zambia is not standing for peaceful settlement of Barotseland case.
It is important to note that freedom from decolonization is achieved with the atonement of blood of freedom fighters and freedom is not given on a silver plate but should be demanded by the whole being of human life.
The independence decision was arrived at by the people at the BNC meeting in 2012; the resolutions are biding and the basis for our independence patriots’ power to organize and to legislate in our territory.
What more than this are we still waiting for? Power is synonymous with governance and given to leadership by people, the will of the people is paramount where power is concerned.
Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu
By Saleya Kwalombota