Last week, Barotse related social media went agog with condemnation of the Zambian government’s apparent neglect and ill-treatment of Barotse prisoners imprisoned over the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964, especially Kalima, who was left to suffer grave illness without medical care only because the prison authorities did not want the press to publicize how gravely ill he had become from suspected prison food poisoning.
Kalima’s condition has reportedly deteriorated, his body so debilitated that he cannot walk but now relies on the aid of a wheelchair.
AND several Barotse interest groups and individuals have petitioned organizations such as Prisoners Rehabilitation and Welfare Action (PRAWA), Medical Zambia, Amnesty International, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, African Union, The Office of the President of the United States (POTUS), The United Kingdom government and many other international institutions to intervene, as the ill-treatment of the three Barotse nationals in Zambian prisons is in direct violation of basic human rights of prisoners, let alone political prisoners.
Others petitioned were Percy Kangwa Chato who is current Commissioner General of the Zambia Prisons Services cum Zambia Correctional Services and The Unrepresented Nations and People Organization (UNPO) where Barotseland is a member since 2013.
Meanwhile, the Barotseland Transitional Government, BTG, the institution the three Barotse Political prisoners are largely in prison for setting up and spearheading, had warned that Zambian president Edgar Lungu would be held personally responsible should Kalima die in jail.
“Our intelligence sources have revealed that Hon. Kalima now uses a wheelchair but has been denied further medical care because the prison authorities have been ordered not to take him back to the hospital to avoid the public knowing how sick he has become.
“We, however, wish to categorically warn president Lungu that should Kalima die in prison, he as president will be personally held responsible because he has had enough chance and opportunity to set Kalima and his colleagues free from their bogus imprisonment over a matter he knows his government is entirely culpable by their unilateral abrogation of the 1964 pre-independence Barotseland agreement that sought to incorporate Barotseland and its citizens as an integral part of Zambia,” warned a BTG official last week.
Barotseland Administrator General Afumba Mombotwa, Sylvester Inambao Kalima and Likando Pelekelo are political prisoners in separate remote Zambian jails North of the country for allegedly usurping the power of the Zambian executive branch of Government for their role in setting up a transitional government in Barotseland, an autonomous territory that was meant to share sovereignty in 1964 with the newly independent state of Zambia through a pre-independent treaty, The Barotseland Agreement 1964.
However, when the new Zambian government unilaterally annulled and abrogated the 1964 agreement in 1969, the Barotse protestations since then have been met with heavy Zambian state reprisals until 2012 when the supreme council of Barotseland, the Barotse National Council (BNC), unanimously elected to formally and publicly accept the abrogation of the 1964 treaty, giving way for own separate sovereignty in Barotseland with the setting up of a transitional government under the administration of the now-jailed Afumba Mombotwa.