The time for the annual Kuomboka ceremony has come again after last years’ ceremony was cancelled as Barotseland was mourning the queen who died weeks before the ceremony was scheduled to be held.
The ceremony has always been graced by a guest of honour from the Zambian government mostly the President or Vice President.
This trend should however not be a routine as Barotseland declared independence from Zambia and is at liberty to invite a guest of honour from within Barotseland or any friendly country.
Since Zambians have refused to peacefully vacate Barotseland and have maintained their presence by force, they should not be invited to grace our ceremony because this will be tantamount to shooting ourselves in the foot.
The Zambian government has so far refused to listen to the people of Barotseland and has continued to arrest and terrorise our leaders and people but want to officiate at our ceremony to mislead their people and the international community that all was well between Zambia and Barotseland.
It is however time for the people of Barotseland through the Barotseland Royal Authority (BRA) to send a clear message to Zambia that we are no longer interested in their make believe (Mandwani) games by not inviting them to officiate at the ceremony.
If the Zambian government is interested in attending the ceremony, either through President Lungu or Vice President Inonge Wina, then they should attend just as tourists.
We are determined to restore our country's self determination, even though faced with resistance, but the process of overcoming resistance is the beginning of freedom. We will forever shame our oppressors (Zambia) as we courageously contribute to Barotseland’s independence struggle, and make strides to statehood recognition among the international community. Just like climbing a high mountain, those who are committed to justice don't expect to get to the top in one climb. They recognize the need to establish a base camp and then a series of more advanced camps before the final push. If Barotseland lacked the fabric of justice, it would have been at war with Zambia by now because our oppressors walk not in the interest of peace and justice but of deception and treachery.
Barotseland independence campaign will not be silenced by oppressive measures taken by our enemy by prolonged detention of Barotseland's Administrator General and three members of his cabinet. We draw our motivation logically from moral principles that govern our conscience and actions. The sad part is that the Zambian authorities together with their Zambian civil societies think that the occupation of Barotseland is "irreversible". That word - "irreversible" - is not in the vocabulary of Barotseland people because people are well enlightened on the issue.
Yet - thanks to the important work of citizens journalism and members of freedom movements through our platforms like Barotsepost, Linyungandambo secretariat, Barotseland broadcast network, Barotse voice, Barotseland free state and mutomo for their informative articles - the "irreversible" will soon be reversed.
Despite being faced with extraordinary challenges, including resource constraints to expand our communication platforms and paying for our own programs, isolation from media coverage (especially Zambian controlled media houses) and 'overwhelming odds'. The people of Barotseland have remained resolute and continued to campaign for independence focused on internationally agreed principles, eschewed ideology and non violent methodology. It will be a good gesture for every Mulozi to contribute to the struggle at all levels to maximize use of the international systems, media and civil society networks.
It is of importance too, in our independence demand to draw attention for justice. The Barotseland independence struggle should be embraced by all people who precisely believe in justice and rule of law. Unity is the foundation of achievement, in like manner; it is difficult in the absence of unity to attain our desired independence. We are dealing with a rogue state that does not respect the sanctity of human rights and preservation of public international law. I am of the view that it is important to call things by their correct names. It's not wrong to call "Zambia a rogue state and the genesis of Zambia is founded on lies". We must call an end to the ongoing illegal occupation of Barotseland by Zambia with affirmative "NO" demand. Barotseland must be free.
It seems Zambia has failed to adhere to our demand to release all our people detained on Barotseland related matters and have the impasse settled before the impartial court i.e international court of Justice. Nevertheless, we are thankful to our international lawyers’ standing- in for the Barotseland provisional government on behalf of the people of Barotseland to take Zambia to the international court of Justice despite Zambia's unwillingness to corporate.
Barotseland must be free. Tukongote wa Mwana Nongolo.
The entire history of the freedom movements is replete with the saga of bravery, sacrifice and political sagacity of great men and women from all walks of life. Their stature often gives us an erroneous impression that it is only a man's movement. But it is not so. Many prominent women in some parts of the world played a leading role in the freedom movements. In Barotseland, the first name that comes to mind is that of the famous Grace Muyangana (M.H.S.R.I.P). She led her campaign for Barotseland liberation against the Zambian brutal government that landed her in Zambian prison. Even her enemies (Zambia) admired her courage and daring. She fought valiantly even after her release, she refused to surrender but chose to fall as a warrior should, fighting the enemy to the last. Her remarkable courage inspired many men and women in Barotseland.
As such, I wish to recommend strongly to the freedom movements to review the contents and spirit of the 2012 BNC resolutions, with a view to accurately and objectively reflect the sacrifices and contributions of all who have lost their life opportunities due to maiming and arrests by Zambian security.
We should take cognizance of the 2012 independence declaration as our compass and navigate within the right attitudes and longitudes of the resolutions, bearing in mind that BNC is the highest policy making body in our motherland.
Seriously, this calls for genuine participation as patriotic advocates for our country’s freedom. Women no exception! Women stand up and be counted. Join the ranks of our young men who contributed immensely to the extent of losing their lives and some even incapacitated due to bullet woods and torture.
Women should brace for bravely participation at various resistance movements levels in the rural or urban Barotseland, illiterate or literate it doesn't matter. All can play a passive or active contribution as comrades of their men folk.
Everyone and anyone has the right to play a role based on his or her values and the passion he or she has for Barotseland.
Tukongote litunga ni lyetu
By Saleya Kwalombota
Media, especially the Print Media, has all along been the backbone of all mass movements or popular upsurge in other countries as a vehicle to total liberation and Barotseland independence struggle is no exception. Right from the time of BPF of Mutangelwa in the 1990s. In fact, many of the leaders of the Freedom movement themselves turned into journalists too, and used the press to propagate their ideas to the masses.
The value of the media in the development of nation-state campaign is prominent in nationalism against subjugation and colonialism. As such, as the struggle intensifies, we should inaugurate a process of tactical dissemination of information to reach the rural populace through any form of communication for proper awareness. However, I am of the view that;
1. During our Independence struggle, the media and newspapers should not be established as profit-making business ventures but should be seen as rendering national and public service to the people.
2. The media Impact should not be limited to towns; but aim to reach remote villages from North to south and from East to west of Barotseland territory.
3. The media should serve the purpose of not only political education but also of political participation where every Mulozi should be free to express his or her political views.
4. Government act and policies should be put to public awareness through the established media platforms.
5. In a scenario where most people are illiterates, even the press can hope to achieve only partial success; hence, theatrical drama could be of useful alternative.
Since media is synonymous with dissemination of information, the Acting Administrator General should look at the following raised concerns by our people at the grassroots for possible consideration;
a) Establish information center at Regional / constituency levels
b) cabinet to be pro-active - each government minister must function.
c) There must be harmony between the Royal Barotseland Government and the Barotse Royal Authority in order to foster liaison committee to be set (established).
d) Strong, patriotic, courageous and down -to-earth youth wing.
e) International relations and media liaison committee to be set (established).
f) Seriously engage the BRE to change the name to Barotseland Royal Authority (BRA), to remove an ethical divider of Zambian creation -BRE.
g) Consider putting the Radio on free to air satellite dish to improve our reach to a wider audience and cover news in all districts of Barotseland.
h) Launch the football league even at amateur level.
i) Organize peaceful demonstrations against Zambia at the UN HQ, Zambia embassies in UK USA and Botswana for international media attention of our issue (and SADC HQ).
Finally, the overwhelming critical features of the press in its relationship to the information dissemination can no longer be ignored at this crucial time when we are faced with fake propaganda from the Zambian side that is trying to project to be in good relationship with Barotseland to the international community when in fact it is the other way. The misinformation and half truths have characterized our independence struggle within and outside our territory due to lack of platforms where we can debate, discuss and layout our achievements towards Barotseland emancipation. The rational interest is however, to unfold the proper character at the point at which the media is acknowledged as a social force and tool in the promotion of political agenda, especially where peaceful approach is concerned.
Self determination is no respecter of persons. It leaves no stone unturned. Royal or commoner, it comes with a challenge, and this is the challenge that the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and all of us are meeting face to face today. By the way, whose face is it putting on?
Therefore, BRE has no option other than making itself relevant to this unstoppable process of self determination. Doing otherwise will mean BRE will join other royal foundations who never liberated their territories. This happened when the African freedom fighters realized early that their kings / chiefs were turned into colonialist agents, and so they opted to move on to independence without them. Thus today there are very few countries headed by kings or queens, instead the commoners rule these states, and kings/chiefs are now monumental citizens needing governments to recognize and gazette them.
Similarly, Barotseland's self determination is not wholly dependent on BRE, but rather we the people. However, this process can be accelerated exponentially with the full participation of the BRE and the Litungaship. BUT it will not stop (without them.) It may just be delayed by key stake holders. Otherwise the process thus far is impressive. The mood in the people of Barotseland is a key indicator that we are going home.
It may not be today or tomorrow but believe me, we as a people, even in our commonness, will get there.
This period, therefore, gives an opportunity for BRE to provide their age old leadership and launch another constitutional monarchy in Africa like Lesotho. I have no doubt in my mind that BRE is definitely in touch with the realities on the ground and are definitely doing the best for Barotseland. They may not beat their own drums of praise but suffice to say that this activism we are enjoying today is evidence of their able patriotic leadership.
Long Live HRM Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II, Long Live Royal Establishment, Long Live Royal Barotseland Government. Long Live all Activist movements, Long Live you and me, Barotseland nationals.
Please publish this on our popular front, the Barotseland Post.
As usual I periodically take time to remind each one of us most importantly we the youths. We need to take part in making sure we are not enslaved by Zambia. We need new tactics, new ideas and new thinking! This can only be done by us, Fresh thinkers.
I read in the media that President Lungu wants to engage BRE to chat Barotseland Agreement,
This is wrong and unacceptable. BRE should redeem itself by engaging the Barotse populace, I am reminding you that Zambia do have a standing Army aimed at annihilation; this Army is stationed in the entire Barotseland with many in our Nations' Capital, Mongu. They want to wipe us out should we voice out, again you have a chance and you want to waste it! We must tell President Lungu that everyone wants out!
To the youths of Barotseland, secession is our hope. Some Zambians say we can't secede, Isn't that like telling your wife she can't divorce you? We are not equal partners. Our neighbors have an agenda of perpetual enslaving us. 'We are equal before the Creator and it’s so insulting to be downtrodden by fellow individuals.' Arise Barotse! Barotseland is our Land and we know, no other, lets brave on. Aluta!
To the BRE, Its common knowledge around Barotseland that everyone wants to leave this treacherous union. Since 1969 we have cried foul to have the BA 64 recognized. My plea is be true to yourselves and to your children, we together with you the BRE have been going down this road for far too long; we are grown ups and you the BRE can no longer fix this, your people (including Nkoyas and Mbundas) want to leave this treacherous union no one wants to stay with Zambia. Of course I know some would want to cash in on us but please, look at the bigger picture.
My advice is to include all the activist organizations: Moreba, the Linyungandambo - Government In-Waiting, Mr. Sinyinda and his BNFA, The Barotse Patriotic Front under Mr. Mutangelwa, and other senior Citizens. I myself support the numerous organizations because I fear that because of the love of money, a few will compromise our resolve of leaving Zambia for a few pieces of silver. I know some people are getting wealthy by falsely representing us and getting resources from the colonizer! This is shameful. We do not want to be in misery at your expense. Itaba maswabisa kuli munge kapene nikusinya taba nikulibala bana bamba bao batamilwe ni bao seba pumuzi kataba ye!!!
To the Zambian Government, I am ashamed that you forcibly want us to stay when you are the same people through your Nyasa brother, Mr. Kaunda that abrogated our Union Treaty. You say the treaty doesn't provide for secession. Does it provide for abrogation you? We are not claiming any land outside our borders; we are claiming our land not claiming peoples. If there are people who are dissatisfied then better they move to those areas considered friendly because as far as me and others are concerned Barotseland is a Lozi Nation to which all these peoples fall and are equally LOZIs as long as they are within the borders of Barotseland.
To President Lungu, kindly release all our Political detainees, call back your standing army currently in Barotseland and then sit at the table, and chat the way forward. Barotseland shall be free.
The author is an Agriculture Consultant in Huambo, Angola. Holds a Bsc in Agriculture from the Wageningen University, The Royal Netherlands.
I would like to dwell on Kaunda's speech of 26th August 1969 to the nation dubbed "I WISH TO INFORM THE NATION", where his unquenchable desire to "fix" the people of Barotseland was manifested two years after the independence. It is disheartening to note the level of visible hatred the Kaunda regime made against the people of Barotseland as a whole. The incidences of hatred are traced way back before independence of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1964 and continued to date.
IN REFERENCE TO 1969 BAROTSELAND REFERENDUM
The people of Barotseland had utterly rejected the maneuvers under the referendum as indicated below but Kaunda's deceptive manners could not honor the true figures but instead opted to manipulation of the outcome
"All these reforms which have had been announced affecting the political, economic and social fields are possible now, thanks to the referendum, thanks to the support which the people in this nation gave me, the party and government." END OF QUOTE.
It was an aberration in the act of referendum for Kaunda to have cheated that the people of Barotseland had voted in favor of government reforms to have control over Barotseland natural resources and possessions, when in fact the results indicated that they had given an unequivocal NO vote representing 62.08 percent against a paltry YES vote representing 37.92 percent.
UNDER CUSTOM AND WILDLIFE
"Hitherto, under custom, wildlife and indeed fish, in certain areas have belonged to individuals, Indunas and other traditional leaders." END OF QUOTE.
It must be emphasized that these insinuations were directed at the leadership and the people of Barotseland because this is the only area where people own natural resources such as "Masa" (Weirs), "Mishitu" (thickness of forests), "Likuma" (thickness of papyrus), "Masimu" (gardens) etc, etc. This position was acknowledged by Professor Max Gluckman (commonly known as Makapweka) who had stated that the Lozis are the only people, in the world, who own and know the extent of their land without the aid of beacons.
IN REFERENCE TO BAROTSE NATIONAL SCHOOL
In his, insatiable, appetite to destroy the property of the people of Barotseland by removing all the known vestiges and in reference to the Barotse National School this is what he said;
“The Barotse National School is to assume another name, for we cannot have a nation within a nation.” END OF QUOTE.
Let it be explained that this school (now known as Kambule secondary school) was built from the money arising out of 10 percent of the collections which was committed to the development of education in Barotseland at the signing of treaties in the 1880s.
IN REFERENCE TO BAROTSELAND NAME
In his misguided outbursts and in reference to Barotseland he had this to say;
"Barotse province is now to become Western province. The present western province, which bears no relationship to the direction, will become copperbelt province." END OF QUOTE.
Let it be explained that the purpose of renaming Barotseland and changing her status was intended to down grade her to levels of other provinces in order to justify the denial of her proper share of entitlement which was accruable as a result of being a "territory" like her equal partner, the “territory" of Northern Rhodesia.
In his endeavors to disturb the affairs of Barotseland, had this to say with respect to “chiefs",
“I know, for example, that certain chiefs in the Western province have been performing the functions of chiefs without Government recognition. I wish to announce that I am making investigations ..." END OF QUOTE.
It is surprising that former dictator president Kenneth Kaunda could infer that there were only six chiefs in Barotseland when they are more than 100 silalo indunas or "chiefs" as they are referred to within Zambian terminology. These are responsible for certification of documents for the purpose of obtaining national registration cards. Personalities such as the Litunga, royal highnesses the Litunga la- mboela, Mboanjikana, Prince Inyambo, prince Anananga, Amukena and Lukama are not chiefs in Barotseland context but are sitting princes and princesses while His Royal Majesty, the Litunga is King heading the kingdom. This is why you will never see the aforementioned reflected on the national registration cards as required under the Zambian National Registration Act because they are princes and princesses under the Kingdom and territory of Barotseland, and not chiefs in Zambia. So, while you may find a Zambian national registration card (NRC) holder with chief Mpezeni, chief Mwatakazembe or Chief Chitimukulu, for example, you will never find any Zambian NRC holder with Chief Inyambo, Amukena, Anangana, Lukama (let alone 'Chief' Litunga).
The Barotseland equivalent to the Zambian chiefs are the Silalo Indunas, who equally perform the functions which other "chiefs" do in parts of Zambia, although, unfortunately, they are not catered for in terms of benefits such as enumerations, houses (palaces), motor vehicles etc, like the chiefs in other provinces of Zambia.
In conclusion, the people of Barotseland should come to the realization that this discriminatory tendency of the Zambian government against Barotse nation was the backbone of Kenneth Kaunda's (Zambia's first president) treacherous acts that led to the abrogation of BA64 (an honorary and binding treaty), and his atrocities, arrests and detentions of over 200 Barotzish that were to follow from 1969 to this day!
This, therefore, calls for serious consideration to redeem ourselves from these conditions of slavery, servitude and bondage that we find ourselves in today. The people of Barotseland should accept the reality that the Zambian government hold the worst consideration of Barotseland as a country and worse still, considers the Lozi nationals as subservient citizens of Zambia.
The struggle to liberate Barotseland is the only valuable spirit that encompasses all, therefore, a journey started is a journey completed, Barotseland must be free.
Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu
By Saleya Kwalombota
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean LOSS OF YOUR LEGALLY ACQUIRED WIFE, HUSBAND, CHILDREN or FAMILY, whether they be Zambian, Barotzish or any other nationality
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean LOSS OF YOUR LEGALLY ACQUIRED PROPERTY in Zambia, Barotseland or anywhere else in the world
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean LOSS OF YOUR LEGALLY ACQUIRED JOB in Zambia, Barotseland or anywhere else in the world
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean YOU WILL BE CHASED from Zambia, Barotseland or any other country of the world
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean LOSS OF YOUR TRIBE or ETHNICITY whether that tribe is Zambian or Barotzish and regardless of where you chose to live
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean YOU WILL BE FORCED TO CHOOSE to be Zambian or Barotzish. CITIZENSHIP will be by choice and in accordance with prevailing Citizenship Laws. A Lozi can choose to be or remain Zambian and a Zambian can choose to apply for Barotseland citizenship and be a LOZI or BAROTZISH. In case of DUAL NATIONALITY, one will be able to choose to be a citizen of both Barotseland and Zambia
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean WAR and BLOODSHED between Zambia and Barotseland
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean LOSS OF FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT between Barotseland and Zambia
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean LOSS of TRADE and COMMERCE between Barotseland and Zambia
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean No more MUNGU or NAKONDE rice
- Barotseland Independence Does not mean...Please, add to this list all your fears?
There are LAWS that govern and will continue to govern Barotseland just like there are LAWS that govern Zambia. THIS CHANGE WILL BE GRADUAL rather than INSTANTANEOUS. Time will be given for everyone to make decisions about what to do with their life, families, businesses and property.
So RELAX as we look forward to a HEALTHY and HARMONIOUS bilateral relationship between Barotseland and Zambia. After all Barotseland and Zambia will be neighbors forever, hopefully.
Having looked at the background of the Barotseland Agreement and the origin of Zambia as a unitary state in the last article, we will now look at the thorny issue of the boundary of Barotseland and whether there is need for a referendum.
We will also sample some quotations from the man who created the problem before us, Kenneth David Kaunda.
The boundary of Barotseland proper has always been maintained by the Barotse though the boundaries of Barotseland North-Western Rhodesia kept changing through the numerous Orders-In-Council.
The boundary currently under claim is that of Barotseland proper as it was from 1900 to 1947 without taking areas that were regarded as her subject or dependent territories into consideration. (See Th Barotseland Boundary Case of 1903-1906 [Britain Vs Portugal] under the arbitration of Italy here: http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/The-Barotseland-Boundary-Case.pdf) or on the United Nations website: http://legal.un.org/riaa/cases/vol_XI/59-69.pdf
The eastern boundaries stretch from Itezhi-Tezhi to the confluence of the river Chiababi with the Zambezi (Longitude26 degrees East) (East of Livingstone) and northern boundaries shall stretch from the confluence of Lufupa river with the Kafue river, westward, to the Lungwebungu river (Longitude 22 degrees East) The boundary on the west shall stretch from Lungwebungu river (latitude 13 degrees 28 minutes south) then southward to the Cuando river, down to the confluence of the Cuando with the Luena river extending to the Katima Mulilo rapids, running along the Zambezi, eastward to its confluence with river Chiababi (Longitude 26 degrees east.)
This boundary is roughly the current Western Province but with the entire Kazungula, Livingstone and the Kafue National Park west of the Kafue river falling within Barotseland and small areas of North Western Province bordering the current Western Province.
The boundary between Barotseland and Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe remains the same as it is currently with Zambia.
Before we consider the implications on Southern, North Western and part of Central provinces, we shall first look at the issue of holding a referendum.
Holding a referendum on the lines of the one recently held by Scotland does not apply to Barotseland because there is currently no treaty in force between Barotseland and Zambia as the agreement or treaty was abrogated by Zambia and Barotseland accepted the abrogation on 27th March 2012 at the Barotseland National Council.
A referendum only applies were a treaty is in force like in the case of Scotland or Tanganyika and Zanzibar in the union of Tanzania but one of the parties wants to pull out.
Barotseland does not need a referendum to withdraw from the unitary state of Zambia because it does not exist. Both Zambia and Barotseland have no treaty obligations because of the 1969 abrogation.
Southern, Parts of Central and North Western Provinces
The dependent areas that fell within the control of Barotseland, (Trust and reserve Land) for which Barotseland was being paid by the British for taking care of them, include Southern Province, parts of Central and North western provinces.
These areas fall outside Barotseland proper but have the right to hold a referendum to choose where they want to belong whether to remain with Zambia or pull out.
Barotseland and Zambia should now commence the disengagement process which will see the exchange of defense forces and civil servants willing to relocate.
The sharing of government assets, repaying the &78.5 million pounds that Zambia looted from the Barotseland treasury,(with interest from 1965) loss of revenue from the mines, reparations and other damages will be handled by the International Court of Justice since Zambia has so far refused to cooperate.
But what will happen to those who have intermarried?
Marriage does not affect someone’s citizenship in any way; Zambians who are married to people from Rwanda or Zimbabwe still remain Zambians.
But I have properties in Zambia, what happens?
You can belong to any country without affecting your property. There are so many people with properties in Zambia like the many Chinese nationals in Zambia yet they are not Zambians but continue running businesses.
What about the Nkoyas?
The Zambian government has for a long time been using the divide and rule formula by sponsoring a few Nkoya brothers to create division.
The 1964 treaty however was signed between two countries and not tribes. It was signed between the government of Northern Rhodesia, the government of Barotseland and the British government as witnesses.
Kenneth Kaunda however later dissolved the Barotse government and renamed it as Barotse Royal Establishment and later changed the name of Barotseland through degree at a rally in Matero and named it Western Province and changed what was then called Western Province to Copper belt.
Kenneth Kaunda said the following on 26th August 1969 at Matero in a speech dubbed ‘I wish to inform the nation.’
‘Barotse Province is now to become Western Province. The present Western Province, which bears no relationship to the direction, will become Copper belt Province. Logically, Barotse Province should have been Western Province in view of the geographical location of North Western Province.’
Even before the change of name to Western Province , Kaunda defied his own Attorney General’s legal advice, the most respected legal adviser, Mr James John Skinner who, when delivering a Ministerial statement in Parliament on 18th September 1965,had advised that:
‘The legal name of Barotseland was Barotseland and not Barotse Province.’
Kenneth Kaunda had made the following assurance when he addressed the Litunga and Barotse government at Lealui on 6th August 1964:
‘I am glad that the basis of the agreement is that Barotseland is an integral part of Zambia and I can assure you, Sir Mwanawina and all members of the Barotse Royal Family and of the Barotse government, that government has no wish to interfere with the day to day running of the internal affairs of Barotseland. This is the responsibility of the Barotse government and the intention of the central government will be to give the Barotse government maximum assistance and cooperation.’
In one of Kaunda’s earlier visits to Barotseland to beg the Barotse government to proceed to independence as one with Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) Kaunda knelt down and cried before the Litunga and it was out of this action that the line ‘One land and one nation is our cry’ was picked and crafted in the Zambia national anthem.
Kenneth Kaunda has however elected to remain mute on the problem he created through his love for power
TODAY, 3RD FEBRUARY 2015 witnesses the 110th anniversary of the birth of Mbikusita Lewanika, the Founding President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress and King of Barotseland. And, by the way, he was an unsurpassed Barotse African traditional paddler, drummer and dancer, before kingship inhibited him.
MBIKUSITA LEWANIKA was a Prince, by occurrence of birth at Lealui, on 3 February 1905. He was enthroned as King of Barotseland at Lealui, according to centuries-old tradition at Lealui, on 15 December 1968. He had died at Lewanika General Hospital of Mongu-Lealui, on 7 February 1977. He was buried as per tradition for a Barotse King, on 11 February 1977. However, contrary to uninformed perceptions and popular presumption, the royalty factor in his life has been more often a spear thrusting into his flesh. His distinguishing life service factor is that he lived and worked with this spear eternally injuring his every service endeavour and constantly obstructing every step paving people’s way forward. His life was a stipple jump race over spikes of hindrances at every turn, rather than being born with a silver spoon in his mouth, as some imagine of Royalty. The events and circumstances of Mbikusita Lewanika’s royal birth and kingship is not of substantive concern. The unremarkable factor of being a prince or being enthroned and buried as a king is not a distinction. History records are full of unworthy princes and kings and full of worthy persons of regal associations.
THE LIFE SERVICE OF MBIKUISTA LEWANIKA IS OF NOTE, in the context that an earlier generation of Western educated African natives, born around the turn of the 20th century, founded African freedom movements, thus sowing the seeds of independence. They had intensive upbringing in, and life time unbroken linkages to, African traditional leadership, to whose values, culture and governance they were positively predisposed at pre-colonial formation level. They made effort to acquire and understand what they could from Western education, Christianity, modernisation and governance systems at conglomerate colony level. They embraced this duality comfortably, but with determination to retain and recover traditional Africa and its lost autonomy, while steadily mastering and taking charge of new skills, operations and institutions of European colonialism. They strived to reach a happy medium outcome combining the best of European modernity and even democracy, while preserving what is anchoring and pleasing from traditional Africa, where possible and positive. Members of this generation were pathfinders, long distance runners and cautious petitioners for African sovereignty. Of these, John Langalibelele Dube (11 February 1871 - 11 February 1946) of South Africa and the Zulu Kingdom and Dr. Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah (December 1895 – 4 February 1965) of the Gold Coast and the Ashate Kingdom, among others, correspond to Mbikusita Lewanika (3 February 1905 – 7 February 1977) of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland, all of them deserve full and positive recognition as planter of Africa’s trees of independence.
MBIKUSITA LEWANIKA’s life start with the distinction of having overcome the perils of being tossed about as an infant and out growing mal-adjustment in early school years at Luatile School. Thereafter, it is distinguished further as he became a good academic performer at the Barotse National School and, through his own stubborn insistence, he managed to get a South African Lovedale College education. He followed this by taking an independent minded path leading to becoming Founder Secretary of the Livingstone African Welfare Association in 1929, at the age of 24.
In the 1930s, in his youth, he was a principal participant at the Kafue first attempt to found an African National Congress north of the Zambezi, served as Private Secretary of the King of Barotseland, wrote the first full length English language book by a native in his part of Africa and embarked on translation of the Bible into SiLozi and the classic Pilgrim’s Progress.
In the 1940’s, he refused to be destroyed or incapacitated by the astounding shock banishment from the summit of the capital of Barotseland on bogus and malevolent charges. He marshaled the strength of mind to move on to another world and different life at Nkana-Kitwe, which did not depend on royalty. From a prince, he became a proletariat, owning no functional means of production but selling his services to capitalist for wages. He labored, for twenty years, as Senior African Clerk, Senior Welfare Officer, Personnel and Public Relations officer for an Anglo-American Corporation copper mine. At the same time, he became a leader of his fellow African proletariats, and served in a voluntary capacity as Founder President of the Kitwe African Society, proposer of the formation of the Northern Rhodesia Federation of African Welfare Association, pioneer promoter of trade unionism and Founder President-General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress. Not only this, he also took wrote several other books and publishing newspaper and magazine articles, in Africa and overseas, in addition to man voluntary civic services for Africans, when there were few people available to do so.
In the 1950, in one of his many firsts, as President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress, he met Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and consummated what has become the Indo-Zambia bilateral relationship at state and people levels. He initiate programmes for sending young future leaders for overseas higher education, at least three of who were to be in the first post colonial Cabinet of Ministers. He followed this by becoming the first and only African from Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland (and even Zambia since) to address a meeting attended by Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, at Westminster, in London – he spoke against the proposal to establish the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. He also corresponded with Kwame Nkrumah, in the run up to, and after his appointment as Prime Minister of the Gold Coast (Ghana) and met with leading African nationalist leaders in Kenya, including Mbiyu Koinange and Jomo Kenyatta, hence, pioneering cross border consultation and cooperation among leaders of the African freedom movement.
During the rest of the 1950’s he was Founder President of the Mines African Staff Association, a student at the University College of Wales at Swansea, a Member of Parliament of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and a facilitator for domestic and foreign higher education for hundred of Zambians and Barotse individuals, both men and women. In the 1960’s, he as a Parliamentary Secretary in Ministry of External Affair of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland; undertook a couple of years post retirement job in the personnel department of Wankie (Hwange) Collieries; and engaged in some Limulunga village and Wusakile Township retail trading business to finance his children’s education and make an independent living, in an unfriendly post-colonial environment. As if to complete the circle and bring closure to his life, three decades after expulsion from the capital of Barotseland, he has resurface and returned to be enthroned as King of Barotseland, in December 1968.
Despite all this, Mbikusita Lewanika is a victim of a cultivated campaign of history denial, which is motivated by three intentions. The first is the urge to justify the propaganda that architects and heroes of African independence are only those who inherited the button on the last stretch of the relay race to new African nation-statehood, who are actually harvesters and not planters of independence. The second is to avoid any challenge to the established denigrated portrayal and, sometimes, double standard condemnation, of the earlier generation of political leaders representing a different approach to independence and governance. The third is justify the decolonisation dispensation that retained both the colonial geographical and governance legacy, while effectively preventing the return power to the African governments and peoples from whom European colonialism took it. In effect, it obstructs minds and actions of Africans from reviewing and reconstituting the independence dispensation. This is unacceptable, because independence has failed to liberate Africa and Africans from vestiges of European colonialism and to set it unto the path of truly independent, effective sovereignty and human dignity. This lack of factual and well digested history hides and causes problems.
Distorting history poses problems for the present and is a fundamental stumbling block for Africa’s future. It erases and misrepresents contributions of those who planted African independence. It negates opportunities of establishing internal inclusiveness and consensus in the formation of the externally designed new African nation-states. It discourages consideration of optional paths towards overcoming impediments to political advancement, economic development and social liberation. Furthermore, it blind leaders and citizens from seeing whatever wisdom and positive guidance that may be in the legacies of the fore-runners of post-colonial leaders. In short, it creates and endorses an incorrect history that misinform and handicap people’s enlightened freedom for the self-determination and sovereignty that is the promise of independence.
In the case of Zambia, it is portrayed as if the freedom movement begins and ends during the last five years before Independence, under the sole leadership of UNIP and its office holders, which is a distortion of history. It like doctoring the Bible by rewriting the Exodus story, with all credit to Joshua and none to Moses! This topic is being raised now, in the light of unfolding anniversary cerebrations highlight and ignore selected parts of history with consistent partiality. The year 2017 marks the 40th Anniversary of the passing away of Mbikusita Lewanika. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the demise of his father, King Lewanika the First of Barotseland. 2015 shall witness the 110th anniversary of his birth, while 2014 witnesses the 50th joint-anniversary of his labours’ fruits, which are Zambia’s Independence and the Barotseland Agreement 1964, which provided for Barotseland to be an integral part of Zambia after independence.
In reflecting upon these anniversaries, it is instructive that the subject personality is Mbikusita Lewanika is founding President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress from 1948 to 1951. He reigned as the last son of King Lewanika the First to seat on the throne of Barotseland, from 1968 to 1977. His place in history has been denied and distorted, for personal, partisan and sectarian reasons. He has a record of outstanding broad, varied and pioneering public service, from 1929 to 1977. The history and essence of the establishment and independence of Zambia is incomplete, unbalanced and unintelligible, in fact unacceptable, without appreciation and taking positive account of the life service of maligned figures, such as Mbikusita Lewanika. This is part of Zambia’s undoing through personal, partisan and sectarian history denial and distortion. It may be too late to say it, now - BUT THE WRITING HAS BEEN IGNORED ON THE WALL FOR FIFTY YEARS!
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.