Youth activist faces arrest after writing Zambia’s regional minister Mubukwanu to resign for ‘failing to develop Western Province’

12 February 2018
Author 
Nathaniel Mubukwanu [L] with fellow PF ministers

 

A young activist is reportedly on police’s wanted list after writing a letter in which he challenged Zambia’s regional minister in ‘western province’, Nathaniel Mubukwanu, to resign on moral grounds for what he termed as the minister’s ‘alien position’ by remaining mute over numerous issues affecting the people of Barotseland.

Munyinda Munukayumbwa, 24, stated in his letter that despite occupying an influential political office, Mr. Mubukwanu had not only failed to spearhead development but also failed to protect the people of Barotseland from perpetual state-sponsored political suppression in the disputed region ever since his Patriotic Front government took over in Zambia.

AND the Zambia police are reportedly planning to arrest Munyinda for a yet to be disclosed crime, but related to his recent letter which he also copied to the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Bishop of Mongu, His Grace, Evans Chinyama Chinyemba, demanding that Mr. Mubukwanu resigns on moral grounds.

Minister Mubukwanu was elected on a campaign for social justice at the time he worked under the Catholic social justice NGO, Caritas Development, Mongu.

According to reports attributed to police sources, the provincial minister was very angry with the young Barotse activist and was now pressuring the police command to arrest Munyinda in order to silence him.

Meanwhile, the police source has confirmed that Munyinda’s letter has shocked the entire Provincial Administration as its contents were mostly undeniably true.

“Among the issues Munyinda raised in his letter demanding the minister’s resignation was the provincial office’s failure to construct the road leading to Limulunga Royal Village, where His Majesty, the Litunga resides, despite government’s numerous promises to have it done,” said the senior police officer wondering what charge would be given to the young man for raising such pertinent issues.

The senior police officer has, however, warned that some officers in the region may succumb to the pressure from the provincial minister to arrest the young Barotse activist.

Munyinda Munukayumbwa has been a political target of the Zambian government for his outspoken criticism on both the Barotse Royal Establishment and Zambia’s regional government, especially in the way they have handled peaceful Barotse demands for self-determination.

Only last year, Munyinda was incarcerated for three months without trial or bail-hearing after he was accused of authoring a social media post via Facebook, allegedly cursing the Zambian State House until its occupants attended to Barotse people’s peaceful demands for self-determination.

After three months incarceration and the death of his ailing father caused by Munyinda’s extended incarceration, he was set free, without compensation, when no proof of criminality could be found against him. The Facebook post, allegedly written over a year earlier, could not be verifiably connected to him.

In 2013, Munyinda was one of the youngest treason trial detainees at 18 years of age, among the over eighty (80) Barotse incarcerated for allegedly celebrating the setting up of self-government in Barotseland.

Although his education was interrupted and his future possibly altered, young Munyinda has continued to exhibit rare courage by speaking out against the general poor governance of his nation as evidenced by this letter below reproduced which, even though not eloquently written, confronts the politically powerful to act justly.

05th February, 2018

The Provincial Minister
Provincial Administration
Western Province.

Hon. Nathaniel Mubukwanu,

REF:   RESIGN ON MORAL GROUNDS

Refer to the above subject matter.

I am shocked beyond measure that you have taken an alien position by remaining mute over a number of issues affecting the people of Barotseland despite occupying a political office of influence in Barotseland.

The case in point relates to your unexplained silence over the longstanding issue of the deplorable state of the road leading to the Palace which road requires urgent attention and complete overhaul.

It is disheartening to note that which other Provinces are doing well by using their political sphere of influence to bring about the much-needed development in their areas, the opposite is the case and yet we are referring to a road that serves the Capital where His Majesty and /or the King of Barotseland is ordinarily resident.

It is so shameful that the only time the government thought of working on the king’s road was on the time of campaigns and elections. The contractor was put on the site during the time of campaigns and elections. Swiftly, the contractor was withdrawn from the site immediately after elections. This is a very bad signal to the people of Barotseland and indeed to the Litunga.

Hon. Mubukwanu you have remained conspicuously silent over the equally politically motivated arrest and imprisonment of Afumba Mombotwa (59), Likando Pelekelo (63) and Sylvester Inambao Kalima (56). The trios have been sent to very faraway places in Luwingu, Mansa and Kasama where their relatives have no access to visit them yet you advocated for the release of political prisoners before you were in Government. Sir, be reminded that you ascended into power in a notion of fighting for justice and peace under the Catholic umbrella.

It is a well-known fact that you fought for corruption and stood for the voiceless, advocating for basic Human Rights when you were Director Caritas Development, Mongu Diocese. You chose even to speak for the oppressed even when bullets and people in combat engulfed the whole Barotseland. But since you were given Government position you changed your direction and see injustice as justice. And now I tend to wonder whether your noble cause to fight for justice was cosmetic one or not. Or perhaps you wanted to ride on the situation that prevailed at that time to ascend to power.

Sir, your perpetual silent not advocating for transferring the incarcerated political Barotse activists to nearby their families is contrary to your principles. Is it that the job that you have been given has totally silenced you, Hon. Mubukwanu? If yes, then, it would be of extreme important if you remained at Caritas where your voice was heard and help many people who are suffering at the hands of counterfeits leaders or resign on moral grounds just like other leaders who are for the people e.g Harry Kalaba, Geoffrey Mwamba and your brother Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika.

Hon. Mubukwanu, the other matter that I want to put to your mind is the transfers and deployment that have been happening in Barotseland. Taking one scenario, I am reliably informed that 84 Bembas have been transferred and deployed in our Councils in Barotseland to come and victimize our people. They are threatening to close shops of the vulnerable. What makes it sad is that people who are transferred or given job opportunities from other provinces coming to Barotseland are taking up higher offices while our people of Barotseland hold positions that are not desirable.

All this and that I have not mentioned here are happening under your watch and authority. It is therefore from this background and many other issues that are not put forth here, that I humbly request you to RESIGN on your position on Moral Grounds.

Yours Sincerely,

Munyinda Munukayumbwa
Barotse Activist

CC: Barotse Royal Establishment
CC: Barotse National Freedom Alliance
CC: Bishop of Mongu – Evans Chinyama Chinyemba
CC: Media

 

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