May your light shine even on Barotseland - Youth activist pleads with Catholic Bishops

06 June 2018
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FILE: Catholic Bishops in Zambia

 

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.

He wondered why the church had elected to treat the people of Barotseland differently from other Zambians.

“I know that the Church played a very big role in releasing opposition UPND President, Hakainde Hichilema, but the same Church is ignoring the three (3) Barotseland Independence Activists who were irregularly and illegally imprisoned for pursuing the Barotse people’s interests as enshrined in the 2012 Supreme Barotse National Council Resolutions … conducted at Limulunga’s St. Lawrence Catholic premises, yet the very Church seems to have backed down on standing with the masses when they seek to implement their nationwide resolved objectives.”

Munyinda Munukayumbwa’s letter is here below reproduced for public records only.

C/O Tukuluho Compound King Sir Mwanawina Road, Mongu The Royal Barotseland

30th May, 2018 TO THE PRESIDENT

ZAMBIA CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS LUSAKA.

Your Lordship,

RE: LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE EVEN ON THE BAROTSELAND ISSUE!

I write to you WITH THE APPRECIATION OF WHAT THE Catholic Church has done and still can do in times of gross atrocities and social, economic and political ills in many parts of the world. I believe the Church is the light to those in the darkness of life and safe abode for those who seek refuge.

Your Lordship, it is indeed unbearable to all those who suffer injustice and social ills carried out by the Zambian state illegally operating in Barotseland to accept the Church’ s current style of encouraging the continued oppression of the Barotse people by its God-assigned services. The Church, as a Body of Christ, is one and united but we do not see, let alone realise the benefits of being under the shelter or covering of that Body of Christ because, as can be seen, the Body of Christ has been selective in virtually key aspects of human development.

During, His earthly ministry, Christ did demonstrate and thereby taught tolerating social injustice is in itself an injustice! He tore down the barriers erected by Pharisaism used to rob, enslave and downgrade the people - fellow Jews! He preached, lived and commissioned a life of a loving service to all humans, in all societies, across all spheres. But that is not seen in His Body today! What has gone wrong?

Your Lordship, the silence on the Barotseland issue by Zambia Conference of Catholics Bishops (ZCCB) is disappointing, to say the least. The arrests, irregular prosecutions, if not persecutions, unnecessary intimidation and all manner of human rights violations of the Barotse people are no longer anything to worry you and the Church! I very much know that the Church has prevented many civil wars from developing by its timely intervention and this is what I have been expecting in Barotseland. Or is the Church now siding with Zambia? Is it selective?

I know that the Church played a very big role in releasing opposition UPND President , Hakainde Hichilema, but the same Church is ignoring the three (3) Barotseland Independence Activists who were irregularly and illegally imprisoned for pursuing the Barotse people’s interests as enshrined in the 2012 Supreme Barotse National Council Resolutions. It is also worth noting that the 2012 BNC summit was conducted at Limulunga’s St. Lawrence Catholic premises, yet the very Church seems to have backed down on standing with the masses when they seek to implement their nationwide resolved objectives.

Your Lordship, is the church not comprising the sane suffering Barotse people whose resolve, through the BNC, is to secure Barotseland from the failed marriage with Zambia? What is the Church’s position?

I am very humbled that the church has been standing with the suffering majority and has always been the voice of the voiceless, a hope for the hopeless, a shelter for the homeless and a steady supply in times of want, but unfortunately, the Church is no longer what it is over a genuine cause recounted to greater detail in the BNC Resolutions.

As I write you now, the Zambian state, through the blessing of its creation, Barotse Royal Establishment, has arrested more than nine (9) Barotse Nationals and is still hunting for many others in Livingstone, who simply rejected the impending dialogue. Similarly, I am a victim of illegal arrest and persecution.

Be that it may, I can only count on your usual understanding in keeping the flame of hope burning, taking into account of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 without whose inclusion in the so-called National dialogue would yield no prospects of success.

I would hold it in high esteem if the Catholic Church stand and fight against all forms of injustices taking shape in Barotseland by vigorously doing the following;

  • Advocate for the release of the Barotseland Political Prisoners Afumba Mombotwa, Sylvester Kalima and Likando Pelekelo. Just as you visited HH in prison, I ask you too to visit Barotseland Political Prisoners suffering in various prisons in Zambia (
  • To advocate for release of Roger Chongwe Commission of Inquiry Report over Mongu Killings of 14th January, 2011.
  • To advocate for freedom of assembly and freedom of speech
  • To advocate for immediate stoppage of harassment of Barotse Independence Activists by Zambian police
  • To facilitate BRE announced dialogue in between Zambia and Barotseland over defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

I must hasten to point out here that unless and until the Barotseland Agreement 1964 is dealt with in the context on BNC 2012 Resolutions and which BNC resolutions bespeak of the gut –instincts and uncompromising desire of the people of Barotseland without exception, the whole dialogue on this highly –charged question would be rendered nugatory and a mere academic exercise, if not otiose.

In a nutshell, the purpose of this communique is to encourage the Catholic Church through ZCCB to remain steadfast and truly committed to its spiritual realism in its quest to finding a lasting solution to the woes affecting the people of Barotseland over the Barotseland question embedded in the BNC Resolution of 2012.

Your Lordship, through you, may the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops continue praying for Barotseland and all those who are currently not experiencing the love of God due to Barotseland Agreement 1964 issue. Let the light shine even in the issue of Barotseland.

Yours faithfully,

Munyinda Munukayumbwa Barotseland Political Activist Contact number: 0971995266 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cc: Bishop Evans Chinyama Chinyemba – Mongu Diocese Cc: Apostolic Nuncio Cc: ZCCB Secretary Cc: Ngambela of Barotseland – Nyambe Mwenda Cc: Barotseland National Freedom Alliance – Hon. Clement Wainyae Sinyinda Cc: Linyungandambo --Samuel Kalimukwa Cc: Media

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