The Linyungandambo philosophy transcends tribe, age, socio-economic or political divide. In fact, one does not need to be of Barotse descent to embrace the Linyungandambo philosophy. For instance, late Zambian President Michael Sata garnered substantial votes in Barotseland to win the presidency by espousing Linyungandambo ideals, although he abandoned them immediately he assumed the highest political office of Zambia.
The Linyungandambo philosophy does not only enlighten but it actually compels one to do right in their pursuit of truth and justice, therefore, making one a target of powerful evil forces which thrive on falsehood and injustice.
In this article, we outline how the Litunga Yeta IV, as king of Barotseland, propounded the Linyungandambo philosophy to confront then president of Zambia, FTJ Chiluba, and his government who had sought to undermine his authority as king of Barotseland.
In the period 1993 – 1996 during the reign of Yeta IV as King over Barotseland and FTJ Chiluba as president of Zambia, a bitter disagreement arose between them that resulted in Chiluba’s order to have the king of Barotseland arrested and charged with treason. The ploy nearly succeeded except for several hundreds of Barotse who rushed to the King’s palace to offer themselves as possible human shields. Reportedly, the royal Ngongi and Maoma war drums were sounded to alert the Barotse that their kingdom was now in a state of war and in no time the hundreds of young and old Barotse surrounded the palace in defense of their King.
Sensing unprecedented Barotse determination, resistance, and looming human catastrophe, Chiluba is reported to have withdrawn his advancing troops assigned to capture the King of Barotseland.
Although what transpired between the two authorities was never made public, the cause of their strained relationship may have been due to Chiluba’s maneuvers to undermine the authority of the king of Barotseland using two Kaoma based chiefs, Mutondo and Kahare, whom the Lusaka government had decided to officially recognize as such without due regard of the customs of Barotseland and the Litunga’s authority as granted by the Chiefs’ ACT CAP 479 of the LAWS of Zambia which recognized the customary law & jurisdiction of the Litunga (King) throughout Barotseland.
The grand plan, we are told, was to diminish the influence of the Litunga over Barotseland by further dismembering it to create what would be the tenth Zambian province, Kafue. Thus, Lukulu, Mumbwa, Itezhitezhi, and Kalomo would have seceded from Barotseland to the new province. With the apparent backing of Lusaka, not only did the irregularly recognized Mutondo and Kahare refuse to go to Lealui to complete their installation rights as prescribed by the customs of Barotseland, but they also threatened to remove Senior Chief Litia from Kaoma by force, threatening violence on all ‘Lozi’ people in the district and further threatening to cause bloodshed throughout Kaoma if Litia was not removed. Notwithstanding the knowledge of these threats, President Chiluba’s government failed to arrest the agitators or even to investigate the threats after complaints had been made to the police by the people.
Instead, Chiluba’s government made some threats on the Litunga of Barotseland. It was in response to these threats and innuendo that His Majesty, Ilute Yeta IV, wrote a lengthy and frank letter to the president of Zambia to spell out and defend the inalienable rights of the people of Barotseland even within the context of Zambia.
The letter, written by the King of Barotseland actually expounds the LINYUNGANDAMBO philosophy. The letter is understood to have infuriated Chiluba, who then wished to use it as a basis for charging the King with treason.
It should also be noted that, although no proof is available and given the nature of his strained relationship with Lusaka, it is not uncommon for some Barotse to blame Litunga Ilute Yeta IV’s mysterious death on Chiluba’s regime. What is factual, however, is that in 1996, Chiluba’s government plan to have Ilute Yeta IV arrested and cited for treason was only aborted by the sounding of the Barotse War drums in Limulunga Royal village which symbolized a declaration of war by Barotse loyalists as they were willing to protect their beloved Litunga even by their own death!
In Part 02, we will reproduce King Yeta IV’s entire letter to the president of Zambia, Fredrick Titus Jacob Chiluba, in which he said among others the following:
1. “The objectives and effect of the Barotseland agreement 1964 was not that we were surrendering our sovereignty to the new state, on the contrary, our understanding of the agreement was that it was merely an agreement to transfer the obligations which hitherto were obligations of Her Majesty’s government of Northern Rhodesia to the state of Zambia, and these obligations related to area of development, finance, and the external relations; otherwise we were, within Barotseland, to remain free to conduct our own affairs as we deemed fit.”
2. “The government should be aware of our interpretation of the right to secede. (The Barotse) reserve the right to revert to their original status if the agreement under which they intended to achieve unity can no longer work.”
3. “The rest of Zambia cannot hold us in perpetual enslavement on account of an agreement which we entered into voluntarily.”
4. “In other words, we cannot be expected to adhere to the terms of the agreement which the other party to the agreement does not recognize. There is no treason. Mr. President, anyone wishing to exercise his right over anything belonging to him, particularly so in a situation where another party to the contract is no longer prepared to respect that contract should have a right to decide.”