There is no doubt that both the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and Zambia’s successive ruling establishments have been the major beneficiaries of the Barotseland narrative. While the former derives mostly financial profits, the Barotseland saga has been used by the latter to perpetuate their hold to power and maintain the power balance.
The following is essentially a brief discourse on whether or not the Litunga of Barotseland is supreme, how he ascends the throne, if and how he can be dethroned. Hopefully, the article will give a ‘snip’ preview of the Barotse nation, its monarchy and cultural systems of governance from the past to the present.
IS THE LITUNGA SUPREME
I wish to submit with this article my considered view on the current subject seemingly polarising my nation and drawing so much attention – the suing of our Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II in the Zambian courts and the looming dethronement thereof. I must confess that it is a very sensitive and quite mentally challenging issue playing right at home due to the nature of the case. It is a situation that has not only prompted my response but also demands input from every other Mulozi. I must say upfront that Iam not really taken aback by the sad development because I could foresee it coming in one way or another due to the precursors in recent past. That is, Barotseland has already spoken three times over what she desires as stated following, and anybody or anything standing in our way to total independence deserves nothing better than our complete resistance and unison answer NO;
The news of a clique of Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) current and former indunas dragging the embattled Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II to a Zambian court is not only disheartening but also very disappointing; especially that it is spearheaded by people who ought to know better. Conversely, those supporting their move are either ignorant of the Lozi cultural norms regarding the Litungaship of Barotseland or simply fail to ‘perceive’ the changes that Barotseland is currently undergoing in her effort to become a self-determined and self-governed state territory.
As we accelerate to our complete freedom and independence in the best country this side of this planet called Barotseland, it is time to seriously remember the sacrifices that were made to gain incremental freedom and independence thus far as well as the frontier working toward the Complete and Ultimate Freedom and Independence of our motherland.
REMEMBERING DR. KING ON MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY
Martin Luther King Day is a United States of America federal holiday held on the third Monday of January. It celebrates the life and achievements of Martin Luther King Jr., an influential American civil rights leader. He is most well-known for his campaigns to end racial segregation on public transport and for racial equality in the United States.
It is today exactly seven (7) years since Zambia’s Rupiah Bwezani Banda government issued marching orders to their brutal police to use maximum force and stop unarmed peaceful Barotse people who had mobilized themselves to gather peacefully and discuss in a civilized manner, the future of their nation, Barotseland, with their royal establishment. Anyone who knows the Barotse will agree, without hesitation, that they are among the most peaceful and civilized people in the world.
Every country has a pledge of allegiance whether nominal or actual and formally written down as common national allegiance. In some countries the pledge of allegiance becomes a requirement only for holding very important office like President, Judge, Commissioner and so on while the rest of the citizenry are generally expected to show patriotism and nationalism in principle only. A Pledge of Allegiance can be one sentence, paragraph or other ways a state may gazette. Barotseland is no exception. Before then, now is the time to prepare by giving motherland the due allegiance, since ‘practice makes perfect’ as it were.
The crusade for Barotseland independence is indeed a Change Programme demanding change in both the Barotseland State and Barotse Nation for us to completely entrench our new status quo, as a country. These issues have been the focus or at least central to, a series of posts here on Barotseland Post and other local media publications for some time now.
As South Africans and the whole world commemorate Nelson Mandela’s death, the Barotse are also commemorating the arrest and imprisonment of Barotseland independence leader Afumba Mombotwa and two others; Likando Pelekelo (62) and Inambao Kalima (55), who were arrested by Zambia security forces for spearheading Barotseland’s independence from Zambia.
Afumba (58), now considered by many of his followers as Barotseland’s own Nelson Mandela (for his imprisonment on national independence related trumped up treason charges by an oppressive state), has been in jail since his arrest on 5th December 2014.
On 14th August 2013, Afumba Mombotwa publicly took oath of office as Administrator General of Barotseland, a position that would see him head a three year transitional Barotseland civil government tasked with the responsibility of, among other things, seeking international diplomatic recognition of Barotseland statehood.
Barotseland, an independent constitutional monarchy, is seeking peaceful disengagement from Zambia, having unanimously declared its independence from the latter in March 2012, a move the Zambian state will not tolerate, at least not for now.
The unanimous Barotseland independence decision was arrived at during the Barotse National Council (BNC) meeting of 27th March 2012, which called for Barotseland independence from Zambia after the latter repeatedly refused to restore a 1964 pre-independence treaty that guaranteed Barotseland’s autonomy within the new state of Zambia. The Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was, however, unilaterally annulled and abrogated systematically by Zambia’s first and successive governments without ever being implemented.
Over the past fifty years, several appeals to have the agreement restored and honored were denied, while those calling for the honoring of the agreement were often arrested, tortured or killed by Zambian government agents, until the March 2012 BNC called for the independence of Barotseland from Zambia since the agreement that joined Barotseland to Zambia could no longer be restored.
AND the people of South Africa are today commemorating the life passing of the great Nobel Peace laureate; world statesman and South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who also served as South Africa’s first black President from 1994 to 1999.
Mandela was personally an enthusiast of King Lewanika I of Barotseland, naming one of his children after the great king. The Lewanika name has now been passed down to Mandela’s grandson and great grandson. He died in December, 2013 at age 95, but his legacy will live on.
In Barotse Change I have come to understand that BAD HABITS have been among the worst enemies of our leaders living life to the fullest, why? Because habit is something we do over and over again capable of forming character. While we do other kinds of mistakes occasionally, bad habit is more than a mistake therefore, since it is something we consistently do over time. To make matters worse, often we don’t realize that we have bad habits. We think that we just live our life as usual while we are actually making mistakes (bad habits) again and again. It’s like having leaks in our Nalikwanda without realizing it during a Barotse Change of Kuomboka! The transition period for Barotseland is both for the Royal and Civil leadership a fact BRE knows very well, as parents who sanctioned the 2012 BNC. Your getting on board is therefore, long overdue.
So breaking bad habits should be among our top priorities to get the most out of our life, as we face the New Year 2017. If you do it right, then you are on your way to make significant improvements in your life and Barotseland at large. It is not yet late to do so. My conviction is that there is no smoke without fire; there must be something terribly wrong hence so much noise about the BRE. If this is true then may the BRE rise to the challenge of the hour and do the most honourable thing: breaking and burying the bad habits dividing the nation and even making the BRE fail to be fully constituted and function normally!
IDENTIFYING BAD HABITS
The first step to breaking the bad habits is to identify them. Only after identifying them can you decide to do something about them. Here are two tips for identifying the bad habits you might have:
a) COMPARE YOUR LIFE WITH YOUR VALUE SYSTEM
Do you live according to your value system as the Royal elitist of Barotseland? Or do you deviate from it here and there? Your Barotseland value system acts like a compass that guides your life. When you do things that are not according to your life compass, you know that you have a problem. So look for things you consistently do that deviate from your value system. Those are your bad habits.
b) COMPARE YOUR LIFE WITH A ROLE MODEL
Sometimes it’s easier to compare your life with someone else’s life (e.g. Lubosi Lewanika and Mulambwa)than to compare it with an abstract value system Zambia is moulding you into. Definitely we have more role models in Barotseland than in Zambia because the two territories have different and incompatible value systems. So find people whose life you want to emulate and find the details of how they live(d) their life. Is there anything they didn’t do that you consistently do? For instance, they lived for Barotseland as fearless commanders of Barotse nation even to the point of death. You, on the other hand, are perpetually at the mess of Zambian government your par but younger government to BRA historically. That’s a bad habit you should stop which greatly upsets us as Barotzis your children.
STOPPING BAD HABITS
The next step after identifying the bad habits is to break them. Here are four tried tips to stop bad habits:
a) QUIT FEEDING THE BAD HABIT WOLF
Think of two “wolves” inside us that fight each other every day. One wolf represents good habits while the other represents bad habits. Which wolf will win the fight? The answer is the one you feed. So breaking bad habit is actually simple: just stop feeding the bad habit wolf. Leave the bad habit to starve and you are on your way to get it away from your life. This stands to be a very good New Year resolution someone can take for 2017!
b) REPLACE IT WITH A GOOD HABIT WOLF
To quit feeding the bad habit is essential but not enough. Therefore, one must also replace it with a good habit. Otherwise there is an empty space in your life where the bad habit could go back to anytime and thrive. So develop good habits to replace the bad habit ones. For instance, if you have the habit of thinking negative thoughts about fellow citizens, you should replace it with the habit of thinking positive thoughts. Whenever negative thoughts come, use it as a trigger to start thinking positive thoughts. Or if you have the habit of eating unhealthy food like alcohol you can start developing the habit of eating healthy food. Just don’t leave the space empty.
c) PRESS PAST THE INITIAL PAIN AND DISCOMFORT
When breaking a bad habit, the beginning of the process is the most difficult one. Just like getting a train start off from a station takes enormous amount of power, so it also takes enormous amount of willpower to break a bad habit. And just like it requires more amount of willpower to continue doing your new good habit also moving Barotseland’s Independence Train from the failed union treaty with Northern Rhodesia’s Zambianism pull requires more energy. The initial phase is the most difficult, but it becomes easy and easier over time. So whenever you think that it’s too difficult to stay on course, given Zambia’s threats on one side, just remember that it won’t be so for long. You just have to move forward with the nation of Barotseland or handover the mantle of leadership to someone else ultimately.
d) MAKE “NO EXCEPTIONS” POLICY
Once you decide to break a bad habit, stick with your decision. Make no exceptions to come back to it for whatever reason – no matter the promised fortunes from enemies of Barotse Change. I know it’s not easy, but this step is essential if you want the process and will get easier over time. I know that given the power of an elephant symbolism in our national ethos all is possible if only it is wielded accordingly. These four tips are simple but powerful. Using the feeding analogy, the tips to break a bad habit can be summarised as this: Quit feeding the bad habit. Feed a good one instead.
It is said that the first essential for a man’s being a good citizen is his possession of the home virtues to be called a man by the emphatic adjective of manly that No man can be a good citizen who is not a good husband and a good father, who is not honest in his dealings with other men and women, faithful to his friends and fearless in the presence of his foes, who has not got a sound heart, a sound mind, and a sound body; exactly as no amount of attention to civil duties will save a nation if the domestic life is undermined, or there is lack of the rude military virtues which alone can assure a country’s position in the world. In a free republic the ideal citizen must be one willing and able to take arms for the defense of the National Flag, exactly as the ideal citizen must be the father or mother of many healthy children. A race must be strong and vigorous; it must be a race of good fighters and good breeders, else its wisdom will come to naught and its virtue is ineffective.
WISHING YOU A BLESSED REFLECTIVE FESTIVE SEASON AND PROSPEROUS 2017.
One of the greatest tasks we have in Barotseland is to build trust, as something anyone wanting our new nation to be a successful nation and state must do; given all the hostilities that have attended our Independence struggle so far. Trust fortifies every relationship in the home, church, friendship associations, workplace, government and nation at large; between leaders and subjects, between colleagues, between employees and employers and between businesses, compatriots or between Barotseland and other countries. Trust isn't something that is inborn but is something that must be creäted through consistent action. For us in Barotseland this is of paramount importance and hence watchslogans like “Kopano ki mata” and “Tukongote wa mwanaa nongolo” handed over to us by our forefathers. While there are many ways for one to become a uniting factor and trustworthy citizen in new Barotseland, there are typical common traits among trusted people and united nations. Let me call these common traits or attributes the "twelve Cs character traits" of a proudly Barotzish in independent Barotseland.
A committed person is someone who is loyal to the cause, the vision, and the team. He or She perseveres despite setbacks. When an individual is committed, he will build the trust of those around him by staying nearby, involved, and productive. Commitment is the number one trait a person can live out to build trust, more so in Barotseland and this time around.
This is persuasion, passion, sincerity, assurance or having firm belief, opinion about something or somebody. It is one trait that makes commitment certain and without which commitment is nothing but hypocrisy. A convicted or proven Barotseland citizen is more than a need ‘mwa Bulozi’ as an outstanding Mulozi but repulsively Zambian, just because such a one is PROUDLY BAROTZISH! The conviction that if you do not do your part nobody else will; since you are a unique Barotse citizen.
While Barotse Change is a national agenda it is also a very personal one. Barotzish spend many hours each week at work with many considering their co-workers as a second family. A trustworthy Lozi is connected to those who look up to him or he looks up to. He resists the temptation to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind and become neglectful of those who depend upon him. He never comes off as distant or detached in the social, national or leadership circles. One is willing to take some time away from daily commitments to get to know his team members in a meaningful way thus help others see one as a trusted person who cares about them and values their association and contribution. Are you a connected individual in Barotseland? Remember, no man is an island.
A connected citizen communicates often, clearly, concisely, and coherently his or her convictions and impressions; what more about Barotseland Independence! Communication as the process of a person sending a message to another person or place with the intent of invoking a response or communication as the interpersonal exchange of information and understanding is very crucial to our total independence movement for Barotseland. It is a need in all our groups and teams. It is one key element that gets them initiated and sustained. It is this trait that enables individual citizens, in groups of twos, threes and so on, to exude the change; to eat change, act change, behave change, smell change, wear change, sing the change, dance the change, communicate change, walk and travel the change, think change, speak change and last but not the least, to plan the change, organise the change, coordinate change and lead the Barotseland Change, using all the free styled communication modes; songs, plays, WhatsApp-ing, Facebooking, E-mailings, and so on.
A trustworthy Barotse citizen gets to know her fellow citizens, listens to their concerns, and responds in a meaningful way - each and every time. One is able to put oneself in the other’s shoes and imagine how you would feel if engrossed in the same misfortune. This doesn't mean pampering them; knowing that no one is perfect and immune to challenges - people make mistakes, suffer hardships, and sometimes just need to know that someone cares. A great citizen is compassionate of other citizens in her team or group realizing that we are all members of Barotse web of humanity and like the rings of a chain the misfortune of one member befalls others directly or indirectly. So there is no time to stand aloof whether it is funerals, weddings, graduations and so on.
To confess simply means to say or admit commission or omission of something. Genuine confession is honest or transparent such that what is confessed is truly seen in the same light by the other side or parties. While far from being a sign of someone weak the ability to say sorry and confess is one prerequisite for reconciliation and national development, at all levels. At personal and all other levels it carries a lot of health benefits inherent in the power of forgiveness. This is very important because the story of Barotse Change has not been without conflicts, dissensions and the like making us solvent of healing in one way or another.
Consistency is a virtue especially in good leadership as well as in good citizenry of subjects and is equally key for success culturally and other aspects of human dealings. A trusted person maintains a calm and collected deportment, even under blaze. For a leader, his team is more likely to approach him with their great ideas, as well as with their legitimate concerns. By maintaining consistent expectations and reactions in a consistent manner, he builds trusts in others at the same time make himself worthy of trust thus making a reality the slogan “Tukongote wa mwanaa nongolo”.
Conversion is the transformation or change in something from one form to another. A converted BAROTSE PERSWARE ultimately entails transformations in BAROTSE HARDWARE (the Visibles/tangibles) and BAROTZISH SOFTWARE (invisibles/intangibles) issues of our life as a nation. Conversion in Barotzish software signifies a renewal of Barotseland nation and state life consciousness, a speeding up of the powers of Barotzish mindset and heart, a resurrection from national death when we were stuck in ‘Zambia’. On the other hand conversion of Barotse hardware signifies our reorganization, a change in ideas, policies and theories, habits and practices as individuals and nation of Barotseland. Among other key transformations is our conversion from Zambianism to fully embrace a purely Barotzish mindset, in new and independent Barotseland. That is the whole essence of Barotse Change – are you resonating with the Change or stuck and benumbed by resistance? Without it one only becomes a serious misfit mwa Bulozi!
A great nation invests time in getting to know the issues, expand her skills, and participates in continuous learning. She doesn't pretend to be an expert in all things. She surrounds herself with skilled, knowledgeable citizens and investors and relies on their expertise. Her citizens trust her for having leaders who are straightforward and honest. Furthermore, in new Barotseland, being competent goes beyond awareness of ones skills or endowments. It includes motivation to develop and nurture ones limited capabilities for greater challenges both for personal and national interests and Competitive Advantage on the global market. Competent individuals are the cornerstone to the much needed competitive advantage of our nation Barotseland in her newly found global niche. It is against this background that we salute the BTG’s announced bilateral and multilateral development pledges to this very end. In any government in the world it is the competent officers who make the difference and not really numbers. It is quite consoling to note that international law does not prescribe the number of officers who should constitute a government for it to be termed legitimate or effective government – it is all about being competent to give credible results.
The history of Barotseland is inherently religious. And whilst the history of the Luyi is bound up in myths and magic, this in no way diminishes its importance or relevance to the LOZI NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS today. The meanings embodied in the stories that are narrated in our history impinge directly on the way that Lozis identify themselves with the world today and link the past to contemporary notions of citizenship and subjectivity to BRA and RBG. More than consecration of our lives to Nyambe our God is the idea of ‘setting ourselves apart’ each one for the purposes of national service and success above self. This in essence is an expression of PATRIOTISM at its best and utilisation of ones peculiarity to advance our national interests above personal gains.
This is none other than showing certainty about something. It is also sureness, self-reliance, buoyancy, coolness, trust, loyalty, conviction, intimacy and the like. Without this trait some Barotzish can find themselves as diffidents, dissidents, cowards, indifferent and get entangled in doubts of all sorts to the extent of betraying themselves and their nation.
Last but not the least courage is the bonus trait which means ability to control fear when faced with uncertainty, opposition, danger, pain and other vexations. A trustworthy citizen of Barotseland will display this virtue in life and in own way as we build our nation, rising from the near valley of oblivion in both Zambian and global history.
As traits of a qualitative character needful in the New Independent Barotseland, if well cultured, one of these traits has a combined power and effect of all others acting as a whole simply because they are all closely meshed. Additionally, AT A TIME WHEN BAROTSE LIFE CHALLENGES US MOST EXTREMELY AND DEARLY, IN ANTICIPATION OF THE ULTIMATE – BAROTSELAND TOTAL INDEPENDENCE, IT IS TIME TO GATHER WARMTH FROM THE COLDNESS OF OTHERS; COURAGE FROM THEIR COWARDICE; LOYALTY FROM THEIR TREASON; LOVE FROM THEIR HATRED; KNOWLEDGE FROM THEIR PRETENDED IGNORANCE, AND HOPE FROM THE DESPONDENCE OF OTHERS. This is what these 12 “Cs” Character traits can do in us, with us and for us mwa Bulozi and to any Available, Willing and Able Subject of my Homeland!