Zambia state police are alleged to have killed three young people in Lusaka for merely wishing to peacefully gather and rally with their opposition political party of choice. It is widely believed that the police were carrying out orders from ‘higher’ command, reportedly from the outgoing president Edgar Lungu, in his desperation to stop his main presidential challenger of the opposition party, Hakainde Hichilema, from wrestling power from him in the August 2016 polls. On the material day, Friday, 8th July, 2016, the police are said to have used teargas, gun bayonets, rubber bullets and live ammunition on the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres to try and stop them from attending a political campaign meeting the police had earlier authorized in one of the densely populated part of the capital, Chawama, saying the rally had been suddenly cancelled on security grounds.
The senseless killing of the three members of the opposition party supporters has sparked widespread anger and condemnation, and rightly so. Any arbitrary extrajudicial killing of innocent citizens in their exercise of constitutional rights of assembly, freedom of expression, choice and conscience should make horrendous reading anywhere in the world. What is more appalling is that the suspected killers are the police who are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that all citizens freely enjoy these rights as offered in the national constitution. Zambians have every right to be angry and demand that the responsible murderers are prosecuted.
What is more atrocious, however, is that this whole episode reminds the Barotse of what they went through on the 14th of January 2011, when at the hands of the same brutal state police, nineteen (19), and not two or three innocent Lozi people, including two infants, were killed as the police shot, bayoneted and tear gassed a peaceful procession of Lozi who had similarly wanted to go and attend a peaceful public gathering in Mongu. The injured were denied medical attention as both the Red Cross and Lewanika Hospital medical staff were threatened by the killer police not to dare render any attention to them. The state killings or rather massacres were unprovoked as the Barotse were unarmed and peaceful. Their only crime was to desire to gather peacefully with their traditional and royal leadership so that they could deliberate on the future of their political and social participation in the country they have known since 1964 to be theirs. The Barotse have a legitimate political grievance that is no fault of theirs, and they have every right to seek peaceful redress on what they believe is wrong with their citizenship in Zambia. As a people that can read, and also having been tutored by their parents, the Barotse argue that they only became part of Zambia through the conditional and express terms of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 signed with Northern Rhodesia and the British, which never saw the light of day because Kenneth Kaunda’s first Zambian government unilaterally repudiated and abrogated it by 1969. Consequently, they rightly felt cheated and peacefully wished to know how and why the people of Barotseland should be termed as ‘Zambians’ in the absence of the 1964 pre-independence treaty that would have legally sealed their Zambian citizenship.
However, perhaps the Lozi like the UPND members were so naïve and deluded to believe that the Zambian constitutional provisions of freedom of association, conscience and freedom of expression were indeed real. Alas, that dark 14th day of January 2011, and somewhat the incident of last week Friday the 8th of July 2016, may have just proved that human rights in Zambia are a façade and a preserve of only a few. Perhaps one needed to belong to a special breed or section of Zambia to enjoy certain constitutional rights to the fullest. It is reported that while members of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party, enjoy free assembly, free expression and easy daily access to the national media, the UPND like the Barotse are denied the same. In fact, it is reported that the only free independent media that gave coverage to the Zambian opposition parties were either threatened or completely shut down by the state, a fate too familiar with any media that has dared to cover Barotseland issues differently from the state propaganda on the matter.
HOW MUST THE BAROTSE FEEL AT THE STATE POLICE KILLING OF 19 IN 2011?
In 2011, the Barotse also sadly learnt that Zambians, unlike now when they have spoken in outrage at the killing of the three UPND cadres, were largely and conspicuously silent during their gruesome ordeal. Even the Zambian church, human rights watch groups and the Zambian legal fraternity all went mute in the face of such state instigated atrocities against the Lozi. In fact, the many Zambians who spoke through various social media platforms actually mocked them and spoke of how the Barotse ‘deserved’ being ‘dealt with’ in such a heavy-handed manner from the government and state agents. It was not uncommon to read on many such platforms cruel mockery of ‘kufipaya fye!’ meaning the Lozi deserved to be killed as they were allegedly 'stingy' and/or 'selfish'.
Unfortunately, what many Zambians don’t know is that 14th January 2011 was the turning point for most Lozis as they realized that they were actually an 'undesirable' group of people in Zambia to the extent that instead of drawing strength and support from the Zambian public, they were being mocked in their repression.
In the present sad situation, however, we see solidarity to the opposition and the innocent killed, and this is how it should be. In fact, the Zambians should have recommended another day of national prayer, fasting and repentance at this sad and barbaric killing of the innocent young souls. However and sadly so, in the case of the innocent Barotse killings in 2011, no one has to this day ever apologized or taken responsibility from the national leadership for the death of the 19 Lozi. There were no official funerals, but government leaders were seen trying to outdo one another in their justification of the shooting of the Lozi, through their propaganda media and their parliament, and the people of Barotseland were portrayed as criminal ‘secessionists’ who had committed the capital crime of 'treason' by allegedly seeking to set the so-called peaceful Christian country on fire.
Yet, these assertions were lies and mere propaganda, as the Rodger Chongwe commission of inquiry draft leak would show later, that in fact this was an act of senseless killing of unarmed Barotse. The Zambian government even lied through their propaganda national media ZNBC that only two (2) people were killed; one for wanting to set a service (gas or filling) station ablaze while the other was killed by a strayed bullet. The government constituted Chongwe commission of inquiry, however, would later reveal that actually 19 people died instead of two. Although, the inquiry findings have never been made public, this singular fact was preempted by Dr. Rodger Chongwe himself, a renowned lawyer and chairperson of the commission, as he officially submitted the commission's conclusive findings to fifth republican president Michael Sata.
Can Zambians imagine how this senseless killing must feel in the hearts and minds of the Barotse? Is it any wonder that many Lozi are no longer interested in Zambia, but have simply adopted a silent revolt, like the now growing ‘watermelon revolution’ where UPND cadres wear green PF party regalia on the outside while their under garments are the red regalia of the opposition party for fear of reprisals from the violent PF cadres? The Lozi in Zambia have similarly had to learn how to bear their pain and heartache in silence because they know that if they openly showed their emotional distress caused by their torturous existence in Zambia, they would attract government and police reprisals without any Zambian sympathy. In fact, the quickest way for any Lozi to get imprisonment today is voice out publicly or audibly what one really thinks about Barotseland. What is distressing is that to the Lozi, Barotseland is home, and now they are forbidden to even talk freely or read literature about Bulozi (Barotseland), their home land!
If the death of one or three Zambians at the hands of the state police hurt Zambians so much, can one imagine how the similar senseless killing of 19 innocent Lozi must feel in the hearts of the Barotse?
It is no longer a secret that the 14th January 2011 Barotse massacres were so gratuitous that even the presidency seems too ashamed to release the findings of the Chongwe commission four years after it was submitted, although the inquiry gobbled over K5 billion (about USD1 million) tax payers’ money at the time.
The political pronouncements promising to restore the defunct pre-independence Barotseland agreement whenever critical elections are imminent by successive presidents of Zambia is now an overused political gimmick aimed at nothing more than garnering electoral votes from the people of Barotseland. First republican president, Kenneth Kaunda, did it at Senanga grounds on the campaign trail in 1991, FTJ Chiluba did it in 1996, so did Patrick Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda. Michael Sata did it at Mongu’s Blue Gum grounds on the campaign trail in 2011 and now Edgar Lungu is doing exactly the same at statehouse. What is disappointing is that the same Barotseland Agreement 1964 document becomes treasonable immediately after the politicians win the elections, with mass arrests of the Lozi people who remind them of this one electoral campaign promise.
How the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Litungaship keep buying into this cheap political treachery beats the imagination of any rational thinking, and the common citizen of Barotseland can no longer be fooled by it and they are right not to. In fact, the people of Barotseland have said that they are no longer interested in the restoration of the defunct agreement because they have already unanimously declared Barotseland independent in 2012, and it is the pursuit of this independence that the progressive Lozi are now devoted to. The BRE, with their shameful insistence of dragging the people backwards, defying the popular and unanimous wishes of the people of Barotseland should be ignored.
However, it is important to understand the political matrix that drives the excitement around the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. It is becoming very clear, for instance, that both Lusaka and Limulunga use this matter to seek desired attention using the common Lozi in Barotseland. Whenever Limulunga has felt that they no longer receive due attention, financial and otherwise from Lusaka, they have often used the people of Barotseland to sing the Barotseland independence song and Lusaka would immediately rush with hefty goodies, literally bribing the BRE, to calm their people into silence. This way, Limulunga would get their desired attention once again, while the ordinary people remain yearning for their real freedom. On the flip side, whenever Lusaka feels that they are in real danger of losing Zambian elections as a ruling party, or if they need the Barotse vote to win it, as was the case with Mr. Sata in opposition, all they have to do is dangle the Barotseland Agreement restoration carrot, and the Lozi would be excited to give them the vote in the hope that they would truly have their self-determination. In fact, the Lozi love their Barotseland or ‘Bulozi’, as they call their homeland, so much that it is almost the only thing that they really want to hear about from the politicians in Lusaka. Sadly many don’t know the difference between the ‘restoration’ of the 1964 agreement and the ‘independence’ of Barotseland. They think it is one and the same thing.
Below outlined are a couple of reasons why Barotseland Agreement 1964 restoration will still not satisfy the ordinary person in Barotseland.
The Barotseland Agreement 1964 promises power and ‘benefits’ only to the ruling class of Barotseland in some autocracy style government, while the poor common Lozi would remain impoverished. It was this undesirable phenomenon why many commoners in 1964 desired to be part of the new republic of Zambia, if only to escape from the excesses of the ruling royal class. Many loathed the ruling aristocracy at the time and hoped the republican government in Lusaka would put the royal authority at Limulunga in check. Sadly, however, such a political status would now benefit the ruling class in Lusaka because they will now only have to satisfy the few Limulunga aristocrats, and together they would rape the vast virgin resources of Barotseland such as timber, diamonds, oil and others which are in prospect. The ordinary people would still be nowhere in the equation.
Secondly, the restoration of the 1964 agreement is also very undesirable in the minds of many Zambians who see it as a creation of a ‘special’ prestigious status in the Lozi ‘tribe’. The Zambians do not really understand, and those that do understand do not really wish to accept that the Lozi can be and should be treated more ‘special’ than the rest of the ‘tribes’. The reality, however, is that this is not a matter of Lozi superiority but rather that the Lozi have always had their own national status different from Northern Rhodesians and only joined Zambia even at independence through this defunct treaty. Historically, Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia were two separate British protectorates which were administered jointly by the British for mere administrative convenience because of territorial proximity, and having amalgamated the two territories in 1911 – 1924. In essence, these were and needed to be administered as two separate countries, a status unacceptable to most Zambians currently who blame the British for having given such status on the Lozi to merely serve as surrogates of colonialism. In fact, many Zambians would only be more open to a situation where such devolution of power is granted to all the other provinces of Zambia, except that the Lusaka ruling elites rejected such proposed devolution of power in the new draft constitution last year.
Therefore, in the restoration of the 1964 agreement, only the ruling class at both Limulunga and Lusaka benefit while the people of Barotseland will remain impoverished, ever desiring their total freedom.
In 2011 – 2012, the BRE again found themselves needing attention from Lusaka because they had supported Rupiah Banda’s MMD which lost the 2011 election, having massacred 19 Lozi youths extra judicially barely 9 months before the September elections, while the ordinary people supported Sata’s PF in opposition who promised to honour the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 in 90 days of his presidency if the Lozi gave him the presidential vote. However, Sata reneged on his Lozi electoral promise, angering the ordinary Lozi who voted for him, while the BRE needed to reestablish attention with Lusaka under the new Sata government. This created a common rallying point. The BRE and the people of Barotseland could now work together, not knowing that their agendas were different. While the people desired TOTAL freedom from Zambia, the BRE as always, merely wanted some usual financial and political ‘attention’ from Lusaka. It was no wonder that the BRE and Lusaka were very shocked that instead of demanding the usual RESTORATION of the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964 at the March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC), the people were actually unanimous in their demand for TOTAL independence of Barotseland.
Limulunga and Lusaka panicked at this UNUSUAL and UNFORESEEN BNC demand because both Lusaka and Limulnga know that BNC in Barotseland is SUPREME and even the Litungaship and the BRE are bound by its decisions. This was the first time ever that the people of Barotseland had publicly declared Barotseland independence. While the people expected the BRE to help facilitate the furthering of Barotseland independence from Zambia peacefully, it became clear that the BRE and the Litungaship were instead now working with the Lusaka government to find ways of coming out of this precarious eventuality that came out of the March 2012 BNC that both Lusaka and Limulunga not only endorsed with their attendance but also helped organize. This is why Lusaka has been on the offensive arresting and imprisoning Barotse in favour of Barotseland self-determination while Limulunga sits by without doing anything to dissuade Lusaka.
Realizing that the people no longer had the willing participation of the royal establishment in pursuing Barotseland sovereignty, the main independence movement, Linyungandambo, under Afumba Mombotwa with other like minded activists of other groupings, went on ahead to constitute the Royal Barotseland Government, also known as Barotseland Transitional Government (BTG) in transition to take the lead in establishing Barotseland self government based on a parliamentary system type of democratic constitutional monarchy.
Although Afumba Mombotwa and two other key figures in the Barotseland government were tried for treason and imprisoned for 10 years, this government has continued to mobilize for international diplomatic recognition and resource mobilization in preparation for Barotseland self-rule which now stands imminent, and no pronouncements from Lusaka or Limulunga to the contrary will prevent Barotseland independence.
Meanwhile, Lubosi Imwiko II, the Litunga of Barotseland, remains embattled with few of his cronies at the Limulunga BRE kuta for their willing collaboration with Lusaka’s Edgar Lungu, a stance widely seen by his subjects in Barotseland as treachery, with many now wishing and demanding that he could freely abdicate the Barotse throne to pave way for a more progressive Litunga that would lead the march to Barotseland independence.
The Zambian government through its intelligence wing, popularly known as OP (Office of the president), has now plotted to assassinate two named influential princes, the Barotseland National Information Centre has reported.
Unearthing the plot, an official at the centre, Pelekelo Siachalwa, has said that credible reports reaching the centre from sources within the Barotseland Intelligence Agency (BIA), indicate that the government of Zambia has plotted yet another criminal act in Barotseland - this time targeting His Royal Highness Inyambo Yeta, Reigning Prince at Mwandi Palace and another prince, Dr. Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewaninka. The duo’s current targeting is said to be as a result of the perceived overwhelming support that the two enjoy from across the Barotse community compared to the now embattled Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II, who has widely been accused of grossly disregarding the Barotse norms and culture in preference to undesirable and 'suspicious' personal ties with ‘treacherous’ Lusaka.
The assassination manoeuvres were reportedly put in motion after social media reports of the disappearance and demise of Lubosi Imwiko II last month proved that many Barotse would not be at loss if the current Litunga had perished in the rumoured road accident because either one of the two would be more preferred to immediately take up the Litungaship if Imwiko had really died or been incapacitated.
Lubosi Imwiko’s reported demise, however, turned out to be a mere ‘sick’ social media gossip that may have further exposed just how unpopular Lubosi Imwiko II had become among his subjects, prompting the royal establishment to quickly organize the embattled Litunga’s public appearance at a church service at St Lawrence Catholic church on the 5th of June 2016.
“How could anyone wish His Majesty dead, and how would news of the purported demise of His majesty excite any well meaning person?” Induna Mukuluwakashiko had lamented as he ‘unveiled’ the embattled Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II to the public immediately after the church service, right on church grounds, scoffing at those that were involved in the unfortunate social media rumour mongering.
However, according to the intelligence report, the Zambian government have ranked the two targeted personalities as the more preferred candidates for the highest office of Litunga, if the unfortunate vacancy had occurred. Therefore, with the two out of the way, the Zambian government would want to put their ‘puppet’ on the Barotse throne so as to easily continue enslaving the people of Barotseland in black on black colonization style.
The report further indicates that the Zambian government already had a preferred candidate, a man known and feared among the Barotse community as not only selfish and self-centred but also one who is known to think that non-royal commoners are ‘slaves’.
In the report, the people of Barotseland are further cautioned to be on the lookout for both internal and external enemies of Barotseland and protect one another, and especially protect the named Royal Highnesses.
The report concluded and advised that the Zambian government ought to be warned that should any harm come to either of the named Royal Highnesses, they would be held responsible and answerable to the people of Barotseland.
Meanwhile, the information centre has advised that the report should be taken seriously as recent historical evidence would prove cases of espionage, acts of aggression and gross interference in the Barotse monarchical succession by the Zambian government, some of which will soon be tabled before the international community.
Many Barotse nationals, at home and in the Diaspora, were over the last weekend thrown in turmoil and an emotional spin when ‘news’ broke that in Limulunga ‘bamaibile’ or ‘kufalalile’, the correct way of reporting a reigning sovereign’s demise.
Throughout the period, both young and old were trying to fathom what this shocking ‘news’ implied to them personally and collectively as a nation. From whichever way one wanted to look at it, Lubosi Imwiko is the current Litunga of the Barotse nation in Barotseland, howbeit embattled.
To some people the reported tragedy represented a release from the shame that has been imposed on the nation by his detestable and very offensive behavior. To others the ‘tragedy’ helped them to move away from the complicated and thorny issue of separating him from the throne. Yet to many more it opened up a rare opportunity for them to steer the nation to a much more respectable and correct way of dealing with issues of a monarchy in the 21st Century – an age when even a villager in the remotest part of Shangombo, Mitete or Nkeyema can pause under a Mutondo or Isunde tree and answer a call from a loved one in far off Chingola of Zambia or even browse the internet in the midst of a ‘typical bush.’
The emotional outbursts of these segments of the Barotse society, including the loyalists, truly shocked everybody and in some cases others were quick to lambast at them verbally. But in reality the blame for all this should go to Lubosi Imwiko II himself as the Litunga.
In true Barotse Royal culture, the Litunga is known as ‘ngocana’ or ‘a vulnerable calf’ that has to be cared for by its own people and subjects. This means that no true Lozi can imagine the Litunga paddling his own Nalikwanda in between Lealui and Limulunga.
Neither is he expected to kill snakes that cross his path or stand up and make himself a cup of tea or coffee or even mix his own Martini or add some rocks [ice-blocks to you and me] to that shot of ‘Single malt Scotch Whisky’ [very expensive imported whisky to you and me]!
Once he does that, he is said to have ‘wikapuzi bulena’ or that he has abdicated the throne. Yet this is what Lubosi Imwiko II has chosen to do daily without really abdicating the Litungaship. For example he has chosen to be without an official spouse (Moyo Imwambo) for a couple of years now! Where does he go to answer the call of nature? Basali balifanyanga nji? Surely he cannot be expected to turn to promiscuous women or trollops? [Or mahule to you and me?]
On the governance side he has chosen to be without a prime minister, Ngambela, for nearly five years now. He has no Natamoyo – the second highest ranking Induna from the Ngambela as he is the Induna who dispenses mercy and justice on the condemned and advises the Litunga on the correct plan of action at all times including good etiquette for all occasions. Now the Lozi are hearing abominable things coming from his camp. For example when going to their watering hole with president Lungu, he is reported to be hiding his Namaya, the royal fly-whisk, often by stuffing it in his inner coat pocket!
Lately, the Barotse nation has listened with gaping mouths to the revelation that the Litunga may in fact occasionally drive himself on both long and short distances, especially at night in search of pleasure! As the Lozi say, Lubosi Imwiko II has chosen to throw all caution and respect for tradition to the wind.
And it is little wonder that when most of the people heard he was killed in an accident they sighed and reminded one another ‘I told you so!’
In the ancient Barotse wisdom: "Mwipulai haliliwi!" meaning ‘you don’t mourn a person who commits suicide!’ They also have an appropriate wisdom for a person who dies because of greed [after they were told he had gone to collect a fat envelope of cash from his loaded friend]: “Mwaboe mufa kunyaci, mufa kusikala; kunde mufa ku mabunga,” meaning ‘your relative who is killed by a buffalo bull, dies because of greed; and he who is killed by a lion dies in a tragedy!’ In other words there was no tragedy in his alleged trip to State House.
They similarly reminded one another that “…mwaboe wa matuti, ni nyama ta mbuu!” meaning ‘he who loves cutting special river grass called matuti (much loved by hippos) will soon end up a victim of the hippo!’ In other words they were happy that their Litunga had chosen to be the ‘special friend’ of the enemy (the hippo) and he should therefore not complain when a tragedy occurs involving him in the centre.
No Barotse national would wish to choose a friend for Lubosi Imwiko II but the moment he chooses to profit from the blood and tears of his people, he chooses to be public enemy number one and few have kind words for him. After all he is no longer one of them but of the enemy.
They know from past experience that “Sikoti sa kang’oti na likwici, sa wangu wa kwangunuka!” meaning ‘the friendship between a peregrine falcon (kang’oti) and a wood pigeon (liiba) does not last long!’
And should the inevitable happen they are already consoling themselves with the truth that: “Nyaci kufa, soopu ukumuyola!” meaning ‘should the buffalo (nali) die, we should expect the hartebeest (kokong’u) to take his place!’
Put another way, Barotseland is never short of ‘Bana ba Malena’ (Princes) to take over from Lubosi Imwiko II.
In some instances these ‘bana ba Malena’ are even better educated than Lubosi Imwiko II and would have led Barotseland more wisely with dignity, decorum, and a sharp perception of the 21st Century and its leadership needs, that include an appreciation of the social media and a higher understanding of the Barotseland of today in a manner equal to or surpassing the very great wisdom of the Great King Lewanika, who took us into the 20th Century.
As it has turned out, our forefathers failed to understand King Lewanika and the wisdom he wanted our fore-fathers to have. A wisdom that would have discerned the jealousy, hatred and the cunning of the scoundrels they were dealing with from Northern Rhodesia, who even today have shown, time and time again, that there is no honour among them for they are simply thieves! Kimasholi feela!
Even today the majority Lozi are still falling prey to the smooth talking, glib tongue of the so called crooks who when they tell the Lozi ‘don’t kubeba’ [meaning ‘don’t tell them that we are cheats and liars’] they were not joking and that they were all out to get the Lozi or lock them in prison while they put Barotseland in their armpits if not their innermost underwear!
As for Lubosi Imwiko II, let his relatives and genuine friends remind him of the wisdom of our fore-fathers: “Sitondo satetanga, mba sicoke!” meaning ‘the tree that creaks constantly will soon break and fall down!’
Let he who has ears listen and mend their ways!
The depiction of Lubosi Imwiko II in a Zambian political campaign video advert has infuriated some Lozis who have since called upon the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to prevail on their newly found friends of the Patriotic Front, who are the formulators of the political campaign ad in question, to immediately pull it off the media as it violates the Lozi culture and norms.
Saleya Kwalombota writes on the subject as below:
It is now made clear that the Barotse Royal Establishment traditional leadership does not accept demands of the Lozi culture on which it is founded. It is heart piercing to watch His Majesty Lubosi Imwiko II featuring in a political party advert on Zambian public and private television stations.
This is disrespectful to His Majesty and the Barotseland Monarchical system.
The Litungaship is above partisan politics and depicting His Majesty in a political party advert of a territory with sovereignty issues with Barotseland is an insult to the formulators of the Barotseland Agreement 1964. It troubles the minds of well cultured Sons and daughters of Barotseland watching a Patriotic Front (PF) political advert where His Majesty is marching majestically side by side with president Lungu while the Barotse royal drums of kutamboka (Litunga’s majestic march) are being played with another political Patriotic Front song playing in the background.
The whole scenario equates His Majesty to a level of a PF cadre. Did the PF get permission to feature His Majesty in that political advert? Where is the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) leadership in this case?
It seems, therefore, that any disrespectful act perpetuated by the close friends of His Majesty, Lubosi Imwiko II, is not worthy of examination!
This is not a proposal to discuss either the damage of the political advert in a real sense of community or the traditional leadership relationship but the central greater picture behind it.
Keen observers of our culture will recall that it is not the first time this type of matter has happened concerning the image of the Litungaship on public media. Years ago a Zambian manufacturing firm, Trade Kings Company, played a video advert of one of their products, Boom Soap, where the KUSHOWELELA Lozi salute was depicted. The traditional leadership at BRE then did not tolerate the cultural nuisance but protested and the advert was pulled off the media. Why did the BRE act in such a manner then? The advert equated Boom to the status of our King because the word and acts of KUSHOWELELA are attributes only given to the Lozi King. Likening something to such attribute and salute is simply disrespecting the antique of the Lozi system.
In like manner, we expected the current crop of BRE indunas to have acted like others in the past. Yes this is both surprising and dangerous.
Surprising because there has, perhaps, never been any time in the past when the person in Litungaship can be used as a subject in a political campaign advert! Dangerous, because when custom and culture is neglected by those who ought to attend to them, the concept nurtured in the stillness could destroy the civilization of our society.
Finally, the issue raised in this piece of writing is not intended to undermine the dignity of the current crop of BRE Indunas but justifies the calls for the statutory institution of Barotseland Acts and Orders.
Our King is and must always be above political affiliation and as such the BRE is here called upon to protest to their newly found friends, the Patriotic Front party of Zambia who are the formulators of the aforesaid political advert, to have it pulled off the media.
Bulozi fasi la bondata Luna.
Lusaka (Zambia) – With the Zambian government sponsored publication of the abrogated Barotseland Agreement 1964 in the public and private media, the majority of Zambians who have read the declassified Barotseland Agreement of 1964, believe Barotseland has a very strong and straight forward case against the Government of Zambia, suggesting that the only way out of the impasse now is to let the disputed region go.
A quick survey carried out in Lusaka and the Copperbelt among a cross-section of Zambians who hail from all provinces revealed that many are appalled that their government could go to the extent of abrogating an agreement (treaty), which they willingly signed in the first place, without talking to the other signatories of the treaty, about why they wanted to get out of the agreement.
“Where is Kaunda [Kenneth David] in all this? The way our government leaders are now behaving it is as if the old man [Kaunda] was already dead! Yet he is alive and only the other week the whole nation saw him declaring himself fit at some function. Meaning he is still good enough to answer questions for himself. President Lungu can never be his spokesperson or substitute,” David Lungu [not a relative of the president Edgar Lungu] said from the Arcades shopping centre in Lusaka. He is a fourth-year Law student at the University of Zambia.
Indeed former president Kaunda has several times declared himself ‘fit as a fiddle’ and neither President Lungu nor the Litunga can ever speak for him. He is even a potential witness for Zambia when the case is finally reviewed by a panel of international judges.
“Let Dr. Kaunda, President Lungu and his officials and the Litunga and his BNC and even representatives of the British Government convene an urgent meeting, preferably in London, and work out who broke the treaty and possibly let the Lozis go,” Ephraim Chinyama, a miner on the Copperbelt suggested.
Kaunda was recently showed on Zambia’s national broadcaster ZNBC TV ‘sprinting’ over a short distance and declaring himself to his youthful spectators that ‘Kaunda ni wa mphavu!’ meaning ‘Kaunda is still strong!’, while he and President Lungu were in the Northern Province officiating at a school function.
Other Zambians, who have recently read the treaty between Zambia and Barotseland, told the Barotseland Post at the launch of the Patriotic Front party 2016 Election Campaign that they had no problem with Barotseland breaking away from Zambia (formerly Northern Rhodesia).
Stanley Silwamba, a civil servant, said no matter where the government would take the case to, for litigation, Barotseland would definitely be declared winner over the case. “It is a pity the government waited this long to deal with this matter. In the eyes of the world this is a sign of guilt and that they had no wish of ever honoring the treaty. It is no longer reflected even in the new Republican Constitution. Where will President Lungu start from? It is a tricky situation!” He added.
Timothy Kyakilika, visiting Lusaka from Solwezi, was much more forthright: “I can’t see Zambia winning this case, unless they try to bribe the judges as they do here quite often. And that sort of behavior can compromise their position with the International judges!”
Abel Mwaba, a taxi driver in Lusaka declared simply that government could have saved the situation by revisiting the proposal that was in the draft constitution that Zambia should become a Federation with all the provinces turning into states so that tribes in those areas can administer their own affairs as was the case in South Africa, Nigeria and even nearby Tanzania.
“But then when will they eat, if all the resources went out of Lusaka to the provinces?” He reasoned as Zambia’s leaders make their money from executing so called development projects in the rural areas and engaging in open and what late president Sata described as ‘stinking corruption’ which accusation is now stuck on Lungu’s government officials.
Mwaba was one of the many ruling Patriotic Front (PF) government funded but privately registered cars that were corruptly mobilized by government leaders to ferry people to and from the National Heroes Stadium at the weekend when the ruling party launched their official campaign for national elections to be held in Zambia in August 2016.
“There will be no problem with Western Province [Barotseland] being cut off from Zambia. After all what is there in Western Province [Barotseland]? Te muchanga fye [Isn’t it just sand?] Let them go!” a heavy man in a PF Chitenge outfit that announced him to be an official of the out-going PF government asked his subordinate. He had just read the reproduction of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 in a government sponsored pull-out, printed and published by the Daily Nation. He was part of the huge crowd that packed the terraces of the crowded stadium.
“Even voters, takwaba kulya [there are none there]!” His sycophant of a friend snorted maliciously, and they both laughed loudly.
A retired Zambia Army Officer who declared support for the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) wondered why this agreement was being made public now.
“Where was it over the past 50 years? Does it mean my cousins, the Lozi, were again just sleeping over this simple and straight-forward case?” The man is Lamba and claims a right to make fun of Barotse nationals.
It took his Lozi friend, to explain patiently that the 1964 Barotseland Agreement had been declared a ‘Classified Document’ over the past 50 years and that was why few persons could dare discuss it openly.
“But then what are you waiting for? Take them [Zambia] to court and the international judges will give you the right to go!” His other friend, who identified himself as Shepherd Habeene, said.
“Yes, let them go now so that if things don’t work out here we can always go over there or send over our children to find work in rebuilding that country!” The retired army officer observed with a touch of optimism.
The optimism of many Zambians over Barotseland regaining self-rule is in sharp contrast to the stand by some elite Barotse nationals who have privately voiced some anxieties over the pending separation. These persons erroneously equate self-rule for Barotseland to a potential personal loss of property and investment in Zambia.
In this category is the embattled Litunga, Lubosi Imwiko II and his BRE inner circle, who is understood to have told close relatives that he fears for his personal property in various parts of Zambia and for the welfare of his children now working for the Zambian government departments both locally and abroad.
However, these fears are unfounded as no one would lose legally acquired property and investment in both territories as a result of Barotseland’s independence. After all any person can acquire property or invest in any country of the world in conformity with the host country’s laws.
The following is a compilation by Afumba Mombotwa, Royal Barotseland Government, and was sent to the United Nations, for the world’s information and for the sons and daughters of Barotseland to know the reasons why Barotseland and Zambia will never be one nation.
The compilation advances 100 reasons why Barotseland and Zambia can never and will never be one nation.
They also illustrate that there is no union or relationship between them other than that of being neighbours forever, and that this fact must be easily understood by all sane people.
1. Nobody can refute the territorial integrity of Barotseland in the world.
2. Barotseland is an organic nation.
3. Barotzish did not renounce their nationality in 1964.
4. Barotseland and Zambia did not confederate.
5. Nobody can claim anything under an Agreement that is not in force.
6. The Barotzis are not made by a constitution. The constitution was made by man and not man by the constitution. So we have already rejected the Zambian constitution.
7. The Litunga (King) cannot be a subject of his subjects viz Councillors/ MPs.
8. Britain had no moral right to transfer Barotseland into the hands of a novice state (Zambia).
9. When Sir Mwanawina signed the Agreement, he represented the Nation of Barotseland, whereas Mr Kaunda represented his Government (temporal authority) so we have nothing to do with the successor governments.
10. Any Agreement does not offer rights to the third party.
11. The relationship of Britain and Barotseland was based on treaties signed, but when the treaties were terminated, also the relationship came to an end; similarly, the relationship between Barotseland and Zambia came to an end when Barotseland Agreement 1964 was terminated.
12. Zambia is occupying Barotseland illegally.
13. The Barotzish did not surrender their sovereignty to any state ever since.
14. Mr Kaunda signed Barotseland Agreement 1964 when he was a Malawian citizen until 1970 when he renounced his Malawian Nationality. Hence, he acted as an imposter; thus whatever he did to us is null and void.
15. The law of Zambia does not recognise Barotseland as a state party, but as a vassal state to it. This causes animosity.
16. We cannot debate our identity, self-determination and our right to our country.
17. There is nothing that gives Zambia any right to rule Barotseland apart from military hardware.
18. Nobody can convince us on how and when we became Zambians since the law proves the contrary.
19. The British tried to merge or compromise the two antithetical political systems viz republic and monarchy. This causes antagonism.
20. No law on earth is against liberty and self-rule.
21. No nation has the right to swallow another.
22. Independence is neither crime nor misdemeanour.
23. In default of the union Act, there is no law to prove that Barotseland and Zambia were politically united.
24. That which is made contrary to law is deemed not to have been done at all or it is illegal.
25. Barotseland is not a legal part of Zambia. The President of Zambia simply inherited the obligations of her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain (coloniser). So Zambia is a quasi-coloniser or protector of Barotseland.
26. Barotseland was treated like a serf since 1964 to date.
27. The law stipulates that the Agreement that has not entered into force is not legally binding, thus we have nothing to do with the Agreement and Zambia.
28. We stake a claim to Barotseland; nobody else can claim our territory.
29. Zambia wants to rely on the law of succession to rule Barotseland.
30. The Barotseland question requires the applicability of international law, justice and law of Agreements and Human Rights law and not laws of Zambia or personal opinions.
31. Unity, cohesion or relationship cannot be maintained by the barrel of the gun.
32. Colonisers can build schools, hospitals and roads, but that does not change their character and nature, they still remain colonisers.
33. We are fed up of being tormented, dominated and incarcerated by dishonest, unscrupulous and treacherous people (Zambia).
34. Mr Kaunda said “we cannot have a Nation within a Nation”; equally we cannot cease to be a Nation because of an ill-bred mortal being who does not want us to be.
35. As Barotzish, we cannot lose our nation on account of demagogic ideologies of “tiyende pamodzi.”
36. Zambia’s political propagandas and promises effected by security officers can never legitimize Zambia’s illegal occupation of Barotseland.
37. Mr Kaunda declared that the “Litunga is simply a chief (Induna) and Mr Sata resounded the same words; no sane Barotse person could be pleased with this state of affairs. This is an explicit testimony of hegemonic dominance.
38. Zambians are for the republic whereas Barotzis are for the Kingdom; two disparate systems cannot co-exist in a designed territory.
39. The essence for seeking for protection of Barotseland by King Lewanika was to preserve the territory for the future generations of which we are.
40. No country can sign a treaty with it-self.
41. Barotseland and Zambia cannot be one; these are two foreign countries.
42. Any developmental project that may appear in Barotseland is donor funded, this being the case; we ought to meet donors directly without any intermediary ourselves.
43. We have the ability, the intellect and knowledge to develop our country Barotseland.
44. The Barotzis do not enjoy the freedom of assembly and expression under the colonization of Zambia.
45. The Zambia Police shall continue assassinating people of Barotseland, if the yoke of Zambian hegemonic is not broken in Barotseland.
46. The Barotzis have never enjoyed their peace of mind since 1964.
47. The abrogation of the Agreement releases Zambia of her responsibility arising from treaty obligations.
48. That which is not in conformity with law is illegal. N.B. there is no legal tie between Barotseland and Zambia.
49. Mr Kaunda took away all the powers of the Litunga (King) he had without consent of the people viz another testimony of domination.
50. There will be no harmony as long as aliens want to have control of our land or rather take it away.
51. The social and political struggle to reconstruct our nation out of various ethnic groups of Barotseland and to liberate Barotseland from Zambian oppression is a right.
52. We cannot afford to continue celebrating the colonization of Barotseland by Zambia because it is a mental torture.
53. Barotseland was not a colony of Britain; so there is no justifiable reason for her to be colonised by a fellow African Nation.
54. What the British did not obtain by conquest Zambia want to possess by artifice.
55. Barotseland has been engaged in struggle against hegemonic dominance since 1965, hence she deserves freedom now.
56. The demise of white colonization did not signal the end of domination and subjugation of weaker by the stronger in Africa; hence Mr Sata President of Zambia told the Barotse Activists at State House “you are in a weaker position.”
57. The Agreement was terminated; we cannot continue to associate ourselves with Zambia anymore.
58. Our relation was artificial or not real and the condominium agreement we entered into has been rejected.
59. West Nyasa (Northern Rhodesia) Zambia was a British crown colony whereas Barotseland was a British Protectorate; the two are not compatible.
60. Zambian Government has been meddling in the internal affairs and interfering in the cultural and traditional activities of Barotseland; that is something detestable.
61. Legal axiom states “a thing is made and destroyed by one and the same means” viz Mr Kaunda made the relation and the same Mr Kaunda destroyed it; so things have fallen apart.
62. Barotseland as a Nation should enjoy the rights accorded to other nations.
63. Our lives as Barotzis are in danger and our community is likely to face extinction as soldiers have been ordered to kill those they identify as Lozi language speakers.
64. Barotzis are charged with treason even for talking about their history.
65. Barotseland is cited to be backward in terms of development by Zambia Central Statistical Office, and our country has been impoverished by design.
66. If we are the owners of Barotseland and everything in it, then we must be the ones in-charge of our resources, control and manage it without restraint.
67. We are fed up with divide and rule tactics of Zambian Governments where a dog is set to eat another dog.
68. The Barotse plains or Lealui has been declared a world heritage site viz a place of historical and cultural importance; for this reason Barotseland cannot be swallowed but be revived.
69. There is absolutely nothing that compels or binds Barotseland to Zambia.
70. President Kaunda arrested and detained Barotzis; President Banda’s Government did not only arrest but killed; President Sata found it fit to declare war and ordered soldiers to kill as did Mr Banda. There seem to be a deliberate policy worse than that of white colonialism.
71. We are treated as rebels and criminals by Zambian Government for the knowledge of our rights.
72. The Zambian Constitution Review Commission 2003 stated that “Zambian Government derives its authority over Barotseland from the Barotseland Agreement 1964” further stated; failing to honour the Barotseland Agreement raises a question as to where the Zambian Government derives its authority from.
73. We want to be in a position where we can face Zambia on the atrocities she has committed; because they have been arrogantly saying “you cannot bite the finger that feeds you”.
74. The Zambia Government has already betrayed us; we don’t want the Rwandan situation to occur.
75. Africa currently uses the principle of “uti possideto” viz the permanence of inherited colonial frontiers safe-guarding existing boundaries; this being so, we too have to guard our boundaries.
76. We are against forced assimilation.
77. After dissolution of the federation, there could be no Zambia in Malawi; similarly after termination of the Agreement we could have no Barotseland in Zambia only senseless people can condone that.
78. Since the original idea that intended to preserve Barotseland’s autonomy within Zambia was curtailed, this time we cannot dream of fresh Agreements to be an enclave that would be as good as taking one step forward and one step backwards.
79. By advocating for inclusion of the Agreement in the Zambian constitution; some Barotzish were begging to be part of Zambia; which is a clear testimony that they have realised that they were excluded.
80. Administering a territory is not synonymous with unification. Period.
81. We wish to be conducting memorial services freely for our beloved ones who were butchered by Zambia.
82. No part of Barotseland was ceded to any country by consent of her inhabitants.
83. Our national anthem still remains “Barotseland is the land of our forefathers" and not anything else.
84. It is contrary to Human Rights norms for Barotseland to continue being colonised.
85. Barotseland was not destined to be ruled or governed by aliens (Zambians).
86. We are a country with an African identity.
87. The situation of Barotseland and her people demands social justice for peace to prevail.
88. The Barotzis have been trying to be realistic with their state of affairs; whereas Zambians are idealistic and full of injustice.
89. If trying to bring two disparate nations of Barotseland and Zambia to make one was an experiment, then the observation of killing and declaration of war conclude that the desired transformation can never take place.
90. The Barotzis cannot be transformed into anything else (c.f. Musasa Musiwa’s Lozi song) just as paraffin and water cannot mix though both are liquids.
91. The applicability of the right to self-determination cannot be limited to cases of Africa struggling against white rule.
92. The building block upon which Zambia was constructed and extended to Barotseland was deceit, lies, treachery, delusion, dishonest and unfaithfulness.
93. Sometimes a rider may feed a horse nicely and fatten it, and wash it, but that does not change situation of a rider and a horse.
94. Of all the British Protectorates only Barotseland was cast into the den of Zambians to be devoured by her.
95. It is a deliberate policy that Barotzis have to be arrested and detained without any offence and then released on Nolle Prosecui so that they cannot be compensated.
96. We are in a situation where Judges are suspended if they dispense justice fairly.
97. After killing people in Barotseland nobody in Zambia ever thought of reconciliation or redress instead people of Barotseland were teased with Chongwe Commission, an exercise in futility.
98. We are not tamed as animals even if we were, when a tamed animal revert to its natural habitat or jungle life, nothing is wrong; it is in order.
99. We are human beings with dignity, we deserve to be respected and not taken for granted or for a cheap commodity.
100. Our people could not shed blood and die in vain if what they died for cannot be accomplished. They lost lives by the order of the diabolic government.
The much anticipated date and event of Zambian Tripartite elections is fast approaching and will soon be indelibly celebrated as one of the pages of the Zambian democracy history. Of course the final analysis can only wait for the appropriate time after the casting of votes by voters. The day will come and be gone, leaving behind souls that will either be happy with the outcome, dismayed or indifferent to all the outcome of the tripartite elections.
THE BIG QUESTION FOR EVERY BAROTSELAND CITIZEN AT HOME AND DIASPORA: WHICH SIDE OF HISTORY ARE YOU GOING TO BE PART OF THIS EXERCISE?
Of course, to the Zambian political community all minds now focus on the forthcoming general elections of 2016, with the electioneering period having commenced on 16th May, 2016 running up to the last day the 11th August, 2016. The losers in January 2015 presidential by-elections hope to do better while winning PF wishes to maintain power in government, using the same election wiles or other means. On the other hand the Zambian electorate looks forward to the blissful days of enjoying the government service deliverables as will be manifestoed during the campaign season to elections. However, it is not in the best interest of this article for me to articulate much on the implications of all this on the indigenous Zambian environment and will thus do well to rest all discourses on the subject matter with the competent Zambian native analysts. My concern is sharing my views with my dear fellow Barotseland citizens.
We have said it over and over again through this beloved medium of communication that “resistance to change is a fact of human nature.” Most of our events are characterized by this phenomenon. Our own change agenda is no exception. However, it becomes quite unfortunate when people overstay at one transition point or refuse to resonate with change altogether. Without necessarily disparaging our voting rights a number of Barotzis voted in January 2015 hopefully to usher UPND into office “for a better united Zambia” as it were. Unfortunately all hopes and dreams were shuttered when the final result indicated otherwise. Actually, in my own analysis, the only close to genuine election results were the 1991 era. Before and after that they have always been doctored. This Zambian history may repeat itself this time and much more seriously. Besides all this the worst casualties will be the mistakenly hopeful Barotzish. What I also believe in strongly is that this is time now for all of us to ascertain our true identity by not participating in the Zambian fake elections. I say so because of the following reasons:
1. You and me are Barotseland citizens and as such to vote on 11th August, 2016 is to meddle in the affairs of another country our neighbouring Zambia. It is high time we seriously started to mind our own business as Barotseland. There is glaring truth that some of our people are still fulltime Zambian partisans, in kind or financially thereby failing to cross over our Barotse Change from outright resistance, through partial resistance to complete acceptance in order to finally assimilate into our new Barotseland lifestyle. The lesson however, is, unless we seriously come to terms with our present truth and embrace our dear change accordingly we will keep electioneering in Zambia in search for answers which God has long provisioned back home in Barotseland, in our quest for freedom of independence, original statehood and nationhood, as opposed to our former 50 years of freedom of dependence on Zambia.
2. Secondly, it is an opportunity for us to send a message of solidarity in honour of our incarcerated heroes and leaders at Mwembeshi maximum Zambian state prison. Honestly, how can a true Mulozi vote for a power that will only come in to continue treading under feet our human right of self-determination! We have seen this happen in the last 50 years of Zambian independence. Regardless of changes in governments the result has always been the same for Barotseland. In fact, I will not be surprised if we witness a repeat of State of emergency again, going by the current trends in Zambia, which thing should not affect us anyway. And so, even their next government after August, given chance will continue to be repressive toward us. I hope the message should stand out clearly that Barotseland is a NO GO AREA FOR ZAMBIAN POLITICAL ELECTIONEERS this year; only at own risk. Otherwise, why should Zambian politicians be allowed to campaign in our country when our own local politicians do not have the freedom to do so and share information with us free like on 26th -27th March, 2012? We have the reason to say NO and regard any such as trespasses into Barotseland.
3. I find it quite perturbing that outsiders know the truth about our Change agenda and yet some Barotse citizens still ignore or flirt away their true identity, in the name of love, peace and unity the very virtues that Zambia is abusing for self-aggrandizement. I hope we will take this hard lesson seriously and rise up to the occasion and take up the challenge in waiting for us ahead, as a new nation. We need to assert our true identity wherever we are; in whatever we are and exude the pride and confidence embodied in our reclaimed citizenship and statehood.
4. We have our own great events coming soon worthy our noting. For instance, in August, 2016 we have the Centenary Celebration of the King Lewanika legacy. In my view, this is what should absorb all our energies as Barotseland leaders and citizens at large. This is one event calling for our patriotism again and all should be geared to participate in one way or another.
While some of our people are not yet complying, it is worth taking advantage of this platform to acknowledge the many that are conforming in many ways to our very dear cause of total independence from Zambia. WE NEED TO BE PROUDLY BAROTSELAND CITIZENS AS NOBODY ELSE CAN DO IT FOR US. ARE YOU? FOR ME TO LIVE IT IS BECAUSE IAM A LOZI AND TO DIE IT’S BECAUSE OF WHO IAM, THAT ‘S MY MOTTO, UNTIL I SEE THE FULFILMENT OF ROMANS 17:26 “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. In God’s timetable our day of total freedom and independence is certain and coming, to dwell in the bounds of our habitation BAROTSELAND fasi la bo ndataluna!
Muyoyange, mi kozo shangwe.