AFUMBA MOMBOTWA: A True Patriot’s Day in Court!

17 August 2018
Author  Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
FILE: Afumba Mombotwa at Zambia’s High Court, Kabwe

 

When the much-anticipated trial of the four Barotseland independence leaders had resumed on Thursday, 26th November 2015, following Tuesday’s adjournment prompted by the defense’s need to have certain videos and documents ready for submission as evidence, the court session started at around 10:23 hours local time and ended at about 13:42 hours, with the co-accused each giving part of their testimony.

One could sense that there was just something regularly amiss about this particular trial as, apart from the five or so family members, the rest of the slightly over twenty court attendants were police officers and state security agents, reminiscent of a court-martial! It was no ordinary trial, after all, and more security officers swarmed the court periphery while some Linyungandambo and Barotse sympathizers waited anxiously from four or so hundred meters away!

It would indeed appear that the Zambian government did not wish for the greater Zambian public to hear what these men, who the state had branded as enemies of the state, had to say. As such, the only twenty people who would be allowed inside the court were to RSVP a special accreditation police invitation card! Never had any trial in the country imposed such ridiculous conditions before now!

Appearing before the presiding high court judge, honorable Dominic Yeta Sichinga, Afumba Mombotwa, the sworn Barotseland Administrator General began to give his testimony immediately after the court formalities in which he described himself as aged 58, a Limulunga Royal Capital resident, and leader of the Linyungandambo Movement!

And when asked as to what Linyungandambo really is, he said with unfettered confidence that Linyungandambo was a network of people worldwide who love Barotseland, and who believed in truth and fairness, and are not allied with hypocrites, as he continued with his testimony as below:

AFUMBA: We are appearing here before this honorable court not because of any offense committed against Zambia but on account of Barotseland our Country. And this court must know that there is nothing wrong we did against Zambia because whatever we have been doing is for our country Barotseland and its people.

First of all, I wish to say that the issue before this court is a Political, Human Rights and Legal issue. Political and Human Rights because it talks about issues of people’s Independence and Liberty supported by International Charters and Conventions and Legal because it centers on an Agreement that was signed by two formerly separate nations of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia.

There is a Cabinet circular number 82 of 1964, dated 18th July 1964 in which Secretary to Cabinet, Mr. I.M. Eldridge, was warning all those who would take positions in government that the relationship of Barotseland with Britain was guided by Agreement and that the same must be applied to Zambia. It so happened that Barotseland was betrayed.

(He was interrupted by the honorable Judge to the effect that he should restrict himself to the issue before the court: between 12th March 2012 and 30th August 2013 and that he should not bore the court with history from 1964. NB: These interruptions continued throughout Mr. Afumba’s testimony).

AFUMBA: My lord, there is no way I can say anything without mentioning the people because the issue is for the people. However, that realization led to the proposed meeting of the 14th January 2011 where people wanted to gather concerning Barotseland but unfortunately that led to the loss of lives of our people.

I wish to begin with the Notion that Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) made one country or Nation.

The truth is that the relationship that existed between Barotseland and Britain was to be exactly the same relation between Barotseland and Zambia. This is self-evident from the fact that there was an Agreement between Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) arrived at and concluded at Commonwealth Relations Office in London. No part of Zambia entered into Agreement with Zambia.

In construing Agreements, it is not words written that matters but the intention. Therefore, by the Barotseland Agreement 1964, Zambia simply inherited the obligations of Her Majesty the Queen of Britain over Barotseland. Barotseland did not surrender her Sovereignty to Zambia. Obviously, the Constitution of Zambia 1964 confirmed transfer of obligations by the Queen [viz; Independence Order, Section 20].

The Agreement was a presupposition intended to enter into force at Northern Rhodesia’s Independence. However, it was terminated by the Parliament of Zambia in 1969 before entering into force; and by law, the Agreement that has not entered into force is not legally binding.

Our Position has not been to question the validity of the Acts of Parliament of Zambia. No Lozi person could do that, but what we do not condone is the idea of terminating on one hand and longing or claiming to enjoy the rights derived from the Agreement that is terminated on the other. This is unlawful and heart-breaking to the innocent part. To entertain such an attitude is not only to support injustice but to love what is evil.

Dr. Kaunda’s Policy of coercion and hegemonic dominance led to the abrogation of the Agreement. No question about it.

Now with regard to the period 12th March 2012 to 30th August 2013, what I know is that there was a meeting of all Chiefs of Barotseland in Mongu held on 6th March 2012 where we were invited as members of Linyungandambo and what I could term “by-resolutions” were made; out of which major or National Resolutions would be derived.

The agenda was to determine the fate of Barotseland, and over 100 people met at Limulunga Kashandi Kuta (court), about 100 meters from the Police Station.

Similar meetings were held in all Districts of Barotseland for the purpose of coming up with such resolutions. These meetings were not organized by us.

After a couple of weeks, between 26th March 2012 and 27th March 2012, a Congress, the Barotse National Council, was convened at Limulunga. The purpose of the Barotse National Council (B.N.C) was to enable the entire people of Barotseland to declare publicly the destiny of Barotseland, and to accept the unilateral termination of the Agreement by Zambia; a civilized way in pursuit of liberty. It is also important to know that over 5,000 people from Barotseland, and others from abroad, including diplomats, attended the meeting where the resolutions by the Kutas were submitted.

DEFENSE LAWYER MWEEMBA: Did you personally attend the meeting?

AFUMBA: Yes, I did.

MWEEMBA: Who else attended?

AFUMBA: The Provincial Minister, Permanent Secretary, Regional Defence and Security Chiefs and others I have already mentioned did attend the BNC, including Chief Mukuni. At the close of the B.N.C, the Resolutions were made, derived from the resolutions presented by Districts and Liberation Organizations. There is a video on this event.

MWEEMBA: What was resolved? AFUMBA: Barotseland was to reorganize herself as a Sovereign Nation.

After the BNC, about five months, in March 2013, people started making phone calls; inquiring how long it would take before Resolutions would be implemented. Some even visited my home to that effect. In response, we visited the District Kutas (Mileneng’is), viz; Mwandi, Kaunga, Lwambi, Naliele, Libonda to get the views on how they considered the B.N.C Resolutions. We learned that there was a mutual understanding on the matter, viz; Resolutions were not trivialities.

Then on 12th August 2013, we committed ourselves to the service of the people of Barotseland by making a vow to God in Livingstone at Mr. Kalima’s house. MWEEMBA: What was the oath about?

AFUMBA: That I will pay allegiance to the Litunga—the Sovereign Ngocana—King of Barotseland and that we should exist as a political entity and support the Litunga. MWEEMBA: Do you think it has a connection with this charge?

AFUMBA: No. It has no connection with the offense because it has nothing to do with Zambia but Barotseland our Nation, and we are NOT Zambians!

MWEEMBA: Did you take the oath at Mr. Masiye’s house?

AFUMBA: We did not do anything at Masiye’s house.

This is an account of what we know about the occurrences between March 2012 and August 2013. It is therefore unrealistic to accuse us of having been involved in unlawful activities against Zambia with unknown people. Police have opted to be instruments of injustice. When they arrested us on 5th December 2014, they found us (with no guns) but now they have become part of their evidence; something that is startling. We do not solve matters with guns or handcuffs.

MWEEMBA: There are some materials tendered as evidence against you, did you produce them?

AFUMBA: No. I didn’t. What I know is that some of them started appearing on the internet just after the Rodger Chongwe Commission. Note also that I am just a leader who oversees all the efforts towards the realization of the Independence of Barotseland.

There are so many different committees within the Movement with different roles, and there are so many Movements all over Barotseland. I personally had no role in their production.

MWEEMBA: Was there any violence used?

AFUMBA: We did not use any violence as per advice from UNPO. We are a civilized people and we don’t work on rumors but truth. We have a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice against Northern Rhodesia and at the same time, the African Union is looking at the very issue. In that regard, there are correspondences by our Attorneys in Botswana to President Lungu to this effect.

JUDGE SICHINGA: What do those initials stand for?

AFUMBA: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples’ Organization; where Barotseland is a Member State.

MWEEMBA: Would you agree that your inauguration caused problems to the operations of the Zambian Government or can be termed unlawful?

AFUMBA: No. What I did was only to take the oath, and an oath is an act before God and not before man. It was in Barotseland and there were only 10 people in the house. The government was put in place with the whole purpose of achieving the Independence of Barotseland, not Zambia.

MWEEMBA: There is a video of your inauguration before this court. Did you prepare it?

AFUMBA: Yes, the video was shot by Kelvin Lubinda and was not meant for Zambia but Barotseland our country. It was to be taken for studio production.

MWEEMBA: What were you doing at the time of your arresting?

AFUMBA: I was in Barotseland, and when we were arrested, we were from paying a courtesy call on Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta at his palace in Mwandi on 5th December 2014 with Mr. Sylvester Kalima and Pelekelo Likando.

MWEEMBA: Who prepared the Cabinet Structure?

AFUMBA: I just said words and the structures were produced by the electronic media and I did not instruct anybody.

MWEEMBA: What do you say concerning the charge?

AFUMBA: We were not trying to secede because our understanding is that the matter before this Zambian court is Political, human and legal. This is not a domestic matter, but International. It is to do with Charters, Conventions and Treaties.

And if seeking Independence is a crime, then Zambia also committed the same crime in 1964.

COMMENT

Cross Examination failed to raise any tangible significance as Administrator General, Afumba Mombotwa cleared the notion that Barotseland is not Western Province. On the question regarding the failure of the BRE to swear-in someone, Mr. Afumba said it was not their role and tradition does not allow them.

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