Zambian minister in charge of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Jean Kapata, told Parliament on Tuesday 17th July 2018 that the draft Land policy currently under consideration by her Ministry does not apply to Western Province (Barotseland).
Responding to a question on whether the land policy covers all parts of Zambia, Kapata reiterated her earlier explanation to the house that the land policy does not apply to Barotseland.
A few weeks ago Kapata responded to a similar question and when queried as to why the land policy only applied to 9 provinces, she responded that the Zambian constitution was very clear that Barotseland has its own land administration different from the rest of Zambia.
To ensure a less hostile reception for Zambia’s President Lungu as he visits Barotseland this weekend, the Livingstone Magistrate court has granted bail to the nine Barotse who were kept incarcerated for a month without trial or bail hearing for a charge of unlawful assembly.
A month ago, this publication announced the release from prison of Afumba Mombotwa, Inambao Kalima and Likando Pelekelo, after what was understood to be a finalized court dismissal of their ten-year prison sentences by the Supreme Court.
Apparently, the three Barotse Political Prisoners are still incarcerated in their respective prisons. A check at Zambia’s Luwingu, Kasama and Mansa State Prisons has confirmed that the three are still indeed incarcerated in spite of the reported dismissal of their treason felony case.
A Barotseland Political Activist, Munyinda Munukayumbwa, has urged the Catholic Church to not cast a blind eye on the state-sponsored atrocities and blatant abuse of human rights perpetrated by the Zambian government against the people of Barotseland.
In an emotive letter he delivered to the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, Munyinda said his heart was bleeding to note that all this was happening with the church choosing to keep quiet over apparent gross injustice and abuses of human rights faced by the defenseless poor of Barotseland.
The Zambian state has often been accused of treating Barotse people differently from other Zambians under the national judicial systems, and the nine Barotse arrested in Livingstone over two weeks ago is the latest case to prove that state-sponsored mistreatment of Lozi people in Zambia not only exists but is also on the increase.
Since their arrest over two weeks ago on allegations that they addressed the media without permission, the nine Lozis are yet to be accorded either a trial or a bail hearing, while for the moment they continue to suffer deplorable prison conditions like convicted criminals.
10th may, 2018.
We hereby wish to advise that the Barotseland Administrator General, Afumba Mombotwa, and his two colleagues, Likando Pelekelo and Inambao Kalima, who just got freed from the more than three-year prison ordeal, will not be traveling to Mongu as soon as earlier desired.