The fundamental principle of sovereignty in our modern time has over the years become effective, thus the tribes are standing to protect their respective territorial boarders. These tribal differences have, for millennia in African historical context, dynamically caused and continue to inflict tribalistic conflicts, such as those from Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia). This insight, of my thoughts “A Barotse Perspective” on tribalism in Zambia will be provoking, yet I believe that, African pride is unearthed from Tribalism. For example, the rise and fall of Shaka Zulu Kingdom has significantly led to formation of these different existing tribes beyond their linguistic territorial boarders. Consistently, if one is, with the historical connotations of Africanism, based on natural law I must admit here that, Africans are naturally tribalistic. If not, they would not be tribes existing today.
Multiculturalisms based on 73 tribes are problematic because there is necessity of sanctioning the practices of the minority within those cultures that value their traditional values and norms. Tribe, dialect, name or language is a common national emblem. There are many examples in our contemporary world that have centred on tribal conflicts, such as of the Rwandan genocide, 1993, the Tutsi versus Hutu. More recently, in Darfur, Sudan, conflicts between Muslims and Christians can be prompt manifestations of conflicts which arise when there are some misunderstandings, hence the clashing of interests. To understand tribalism is to underpin the fundamental convictions of truthful doctrines, so a state can essentially ensure that the same truth is adopted, not through coercion and violence. Tribalism in Zambia has become a contentious topic; of which many people try by all means, pretend to ignore or avoid it. The fact is that tribalism exists within our communities; therefore, it must be discussed like any other subject in the fashion of ethnicity, racism as well as gender inequalities, or gender vertigo.
Tribalism has existed in current traditions, The Litunga for Lozi, Chitimukulu, Bemba, Mpezeni, Ngoni or Monze of the Tonga, speaking people respectively. These positions exist because of tribalism period. There tribes called Aluyi, Bemba, Bisa, Chewa, Kaonde, Lenje, Luvale, Mbunda, Nkoya, Ngoni and Tonga. All these above mentioned tribes are more inclined to their tribes than to be Zambian. Succession disputes is favourable to the dismantled unity of diverse Kingdoms in Africa, including, Mwata Yamvo, Luba-Lunda migrations. The Ngonis also were running away from the wrath of Shaka Zulu’s tribal wars, until the battle at Mulatuze River. This group crossed the Zambezi River in 1855, at the eclipse of the moon, by then it was Barotseland on the west necks of the hood, and (Nyasa) Northern Rhodesia on the eastern side.
For instance, I consider myself more of Aluyi than a citizen of Barotseland in the similar array, a Bemba is more Bemba, so is Ngoni, Tonga, Chewa, Luvale, Kaonde or Chokwe, etc, are more inclined to their tribes than a Zambian citizen. We must morally accept that tribes or languages are a basis and sense of belonging to a real valued national identity. You can only be one of them, not all because unity is not coercion. This tribalism topic is not being paid attention despites the evident of tribal conflicts it has exhibited currently in Barotseland, where the nationals of Barotse are being persecuted with treason charges by Zambia for simply advocating freedom, liberty and justice for self determination. One can only wonder the grant of precedence to the concept of citizenship to different tribes, as one, is lucid.
Tribalism as I see it is as profound as racism because the fore going, at least must be overcome by change. This change should focus on promoting individuals autonomy as a collective whole, is the originality of current tribalistic trends in Zambia today. For example, the PF cabinet of Mr Sata of Zambia has 95% full of his tribal members, ironically, that’s tribalism at its epic. This is “ethnocentricity”, because of the existing tendencies of seeing and interpreting the world to be primarily, from one’s own cultural, ethnicity, language and tribe perceptiveness. Thus, regarding ones culture as superior and preferably, to others is the bottom line. In multiculturalism, or rather, tribalism society, unity based on forced assimilation is not unity, but chaotic. Unifying tribes of different customs, norms and values under one umbrella can lead to illiberal democracy. In illiberal tic democratic states, yes elections can be held, so long there is nothing being done to protect human rights and liberties, control of one tribe over others, can only mean that, those parties in power based on tribalism, make sure they rarely lose the elections. For 27 years, the tribes where held hostage in their declining oblivion, held at ransom with the adage of “One Zambia, One nation” forgetting the diversity of tribes. What brings about this unity? Why unity in the first place?
“One Zambia, One Nation” seems to be antagonistic because it fails to allege the fact of many tribes within that one nation. What’s the unifying factored of these different tribes, if not language? That is an emblem of national unity and not a mere slogan of singing without historical connection. Imagine, having a national language which is seconded and borrowed as dialectic from other places, then in turn shunning out your own linguistics is disheartening. Promoting ones tribe, language, culture, human rights today amounts to treason, according to “one Zambian, one Nation” slogan of colonial laws, forgetting that, there are different tribes in this integration referred to in the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. This is against John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle, which entails that, some actions can not be allowed as long as they interfere or harm other people’s autonomy. Therefore, unity cannot be based on forced assimilation, but on a collateral agreement via equity, liberty, freedom, justice and trust.
A country based on multicultural such as Australia, with independent States like Great Britain and the United States of America, has respect for representative democracy. Western democratic states are homogenous in the sense that, there exist the equilibrium in the power of the 3 main arms of government, Legislatures, Executive and Judiciary. They give equity power to all regions, county, clan, or tribes. Now for countries likes Zambia (Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia) with more than 73 tribes can only be legitimated democracy if only, ALL tribes are represented in parliament by their own elected people who speak the same language or tribe, the locals per se. Why the never ending tribal conflicts every now and then? There can NEVER be democracy, equality, freedom, justice and rights because of ethnocentricity and its myopic that has been allowed to reign supreme. In short, there cannot be justice if a leader if indolent. Tribalism and ethnicity are in a dialectic discourse, the two are most inseparable.
Ethnocentricity, thus the consideration of one’s ethnic group as the best and all others as inferior is indeed very much like racism. On a Barotse perspective, the ethnic group, tribe or language, are peoples symbolic to interactions and integration of members who identify themselves with a common trait and heritage, for example, the Litungaship. Poignantly, the common, collectiveness of culture, ethnicity and shared ancestral beliefs are inclusive here. From a Barotse approach, ethnicity, tribe, clan and nation posses several dialects, but must have one lingual Franca, such as Silozi which is spoken by all 34 tribes of Barotseland. It is vital to note and understand WHAT these tribes are, before the empoisoning of national unity on other tribes with different norms and values. These tribes have had institutions such as the Barotse National Council, (BNC), Che Cha Mbunda Council with a system that has for centuries, promoted the welfare of all Barotzish as a clan, nation or people.
For example, there are 73 tribes in Zambia of which 34 are from Barotseland as follows:-
1. Aluyi 2. Chokwe 3. Imilangu 4. Kwamashi 5. Kwandi 6. Luvale 7. Lushange 8. Mafwe 9. Maikwamakoma 10. Makololo 11.Makwamwenyi 12. Makwengo 13.Maliuwa 14. Malukolwe 15. Mambumi 16. Mandebu 17. Mashanjo 18. Mananzwa 19. Makwamulonga 20. Mahumbe 21. Mayauma 22. Mandundulu 23. Mashasha 24. Mbunda 25. Mbukushu 26. Matotela 27. Lushange 28. Luvale 29. Nkoya 30. Simaa 31. Subia 32. Mafwe 33. Nyengo and 34. Toka- Leya, all speak one language called Silozi.
The transformations of tribes belong to the traditions of our extended families. In essence, families make clans, simultaneously making them national states. The relationship of Barotse people is allegiance to our national unity of one tribe, or language must possess benefits that outweigh those belonging to their respective mother tongue. As we progress, notably, to be “Zambian” is only on paper; nevertheless, most people are inclined to their designated ethnicities. For example, to be “Zambian” on paper only means that, ones benefit of liberties rests on whether one is Lozi, Bemba, Ngoni or Tonga etc. Hence, this is the self destruction in the making of tribal politics of “one Zambia, one Nation” but many tribes. The centralizing power in Lusaka is the force outside its territorial realm. Even sugar and salt are not compatible. What makes people is culture with rich traditions. And as Barotzish, we cannot throw away our heritage because of a slogan “Tiyende Pamodzi”. Barotseland is bigger than the adage of unifying with aliens of different views.
It was the Barotseland Agreement of 1964,s intent and ideology to foster the acknowledgement of diverse people from Barotseland, and those from Northern Rhodesia. This was so because; tribe brings solidarity among those people with same norms and values, such as the Barotzish. Ironically, the advantageous stance of Barotseland as a nation is based on our common language, Silozi, as an emblem of achieving goal attainment, with respect to our latency because tribalism/language is the grassroots’ of democracy. The BA 64 promoted the mindset of not denying this component of tribes. In Barotseland statehood, all tribes are equal, because there is no tribe which is more Lozi than the other or more Royal and vice versa.
A sovereign State as defined by the Montevideo Convention of 1933, on the rights and duties of States, article one of the sixteen adopted articles is significant here, as it provides the best succinct criteria of understanding modern sovereign states, of which must and mostly posses permanent population, with a defined territory and a government capable of maintaining the effectiveness in controlling the running of the territory in a international related environment with different states. In this case of Barotseland, article eight (8) of the above mentioned convention, asserts that, states have a right to not intervene in another state, so Zambia should not use force to coerce the tribal groupings of Barotseland.
There is need for people to respect other people, allegiances such as the Silozi structural functionalism of Litunga (King), Ngambela (Prime Minister), BNC and the people of Barotseland. We should peacefully respect other tribes’ beliefs, otherwise, unity is baseless.
The foregoing are views and opinions of one of our regular independent contributors - Kalaluka Mwiya Jr.
Only three (3) of the Seventeen (17) Barotse Detainees incarcerated in the filthy Kaoma state prison for bailable offenses allegedly committed in Mongu are still in custody after nine (9) more walked to their partial freedom 3rd December 2012, on a long overdue bail.
One couldn’t miss the sense of relief on the faces of the nine as they walked to their ‘freedom’ and were being hugged welcome to the land of the free by a handful of close friends, family and relatives who were around to see them out. On the other hand one could also sense a look of anxiety in the eyes of these weary warriors as they contemplate their future after the turns and twists that have characterized this matter over the two and half months plus under hash prison conditions.
The 17 Barotse Activists were rounded up and arrested mainly in Mongu between 9th and 20th September 2012.
Notable among the turns and twist in this case are the following:
- Though the alleged crimes were alleged to have been committed in Mongu and should have been tried in Mongu, the authorities decided that the accused persons should be detained in Kaoma state prison, be tried at the Kaoma Magistrate court by a Mongu Based Magistrate and Mongu based prosecuting team.
- Though both charges slapped on these 17 (Malicious damage to property and idle conduct likely to cause breach of peace) were clearly bailable, the magistrate decided to deny bail at the commencement of the trial.
- When the defence counsel successfully appealed to the High Court for bail. It was granted with one hand but denied with the other on account of the outrageous K5, 000,000 cash condition. Fortunately the defense counsel successfully applied for the prohibitive cash condition to be varied.
- On Saturday 20th October, some of the detainees (Mulasikwanda Chazele, Matthias Muyunda Limpo Likwenga, Masheto Sihanda and Crispin Mulonda Ndopu) were cought up in an ordeal of being awakened early in the morning for a brutal beating spree by a combined force of the Zambia Paramilitary Police and the Zambia Prison Warders. Mr Chazele and Mr. Likwenga were sleeping when the confusion started and they found themselves under a pile of prisoners. They both fainted when they regained consciousness they found themselves lying naked under the shade of a tree within the prison premises but outside the cell. This barbaric behavior by the so called security forces was formally complained against in court, one wonders if anything at all is being done about it.
- At the court session of 29th October, 2012, the request to adjourn the matter due to the fact that the defense counsel was not in court was objected to by the prosecution, this came as a surprise because the Defense Counsel made assurance to the effect that the Public Prosecutor had been consulted and agreed to the adjournment. The learned Magistrate ruled that trial would proceed. During cross examination the accused persons persistently expressed the opinion that the court was biased and not being fair because they were being stopped from following certain lines of thought by the presiding Magistrate each time they were probing the witness. At this juncture the Magistrate was irritated and so rattled that the case had to be adjourned for some minutes and latter to 21st November, 2012.
- The prosecution rested their case on 21st November, 2012 after producing all the witnesses but neither the defense nor the prosecution were ready with submissions and applied for time to prepare written submissions. After the learned magistrate failed to pursued both the defense and prosecution to make verbal submission he decided to make a ruling finding all the accused with a ‘case to answer’ including those that have not been connected to the charges by any of the witnesses!
- Five of the detainees were released on bail on the day they were put on their defense under the varied condition of two working sureties. The nine released on Monday 3rd December 2012 had to remain in custody for another week or so even though some of them met the bail condition by Monday 26th November 2012 but to the convenience of the court and the prosecuting team I guess they had to wait until Monday 3rd December 2012 for their dose of sweet freedom, albeit it is just partial freedom. You wonder whether the state is not guilt of wrongful detention for those who met the bail conditions much earlier but were not released immediately.
One can only hope that the remaining three Barotse detainees will also be released much sooner than later. The case has been adjourned to February for commencement of defense and it will be very cruel for the three to remain incarcerated when they could be ‘free’, but for two working sureties.
One also wonders how many more turns and twists we are yet to experience in this case before it is finally put to rest.
The three Barotseland National youth league activists have charged that their continued trial and detention by the Zambian courts was crime against humanity contrary to genocide Act of 1948 as well as the UN security council number 75.
Appearing before Mongu resident magistrate Julius Malata sitting in as Kaoma magistrate were Nayoto Mwenda 32, Boris Muziba 36 and Wasilota Sikwibele 33 who are charged with the offence of publication of false news with intent to alarm and cause fear contrary to the laws of Zambia. The trio applied that the matter be transferred to an independent and impartial court as opposed to a Zambian court because Zambia cannot be a complainant and prosecutor in the matter. The activists suggested that the case be transferred to the Commonwealth Court based in the United Kingdom because it involves two sovereign states of Zambia and Royal Government of Barotseland.
Accused number 3 Sikwibele Wasilota reminded the court that time and again he has stated that he is not Zambian but a Barotseland national hence the Zambian government cannot subject him to its laws and court systems.
In passing ruling over the application of the three accused persons, Magistrate Malata said the three were free to pursue the matter at their own accord and not through the court they were appearing before. Malata told the trio that Zambia has its own judicial systems and it is not answerable to the common wealth court adding that Zambians and non- Zambians can appear in any court as long as the offence has been committed in Zambia.
Malata denied to grant the three Barotseland activists bail as the trio maintained that they cannot be tried by the Zambian courts and prayed to the court to grant them bail so that they pursued their case to the common wealth courts based in the United Kingdom.
And state witness, a police detective inspector Morris Siampule 37, testified in court that the trio had published flyers suggesting one Clement Wainyae Sinyinda and the Zambian government were plotting a military coup to depose the legitimate royal Barotseland government.
Meanwhile, the trio declined to ask the state witness questions after he was being cross-examined by the state prosecutors citing that it was a wrong court and platform for them.
And public prosecutor Susan Mwakalombe objected to the bail application as it will be difficult for police officers to call the trio for the continuation of the matter as they claimed not to be Zambians but appearing before a Zambian criminal court.
Mwakalombe applied to the court for the matter to be adjourned to April 8, 2014 for the continuation of trial and magistrate Malata granted, meanwhile the trio are remanded in Kaoma state prisons.
Immediately after the court session, the Linyungandambo sympathizers clad in blue T-shirts written Barotseland ki naha (meaning Barotseland is a nation) and red berets started singing solidarity songs and denounced the government in front of the court - MUVI TV
Our independent correspondent, Nyambe, reports that confusion has ensued in the Zambian district of Kabwe at a named school after three (3) teachers of Barotse decent in Zambia resolved to use 'Lozi' as a language of instruction to the the pupils in lower primary school at their respective primary Schools as per new policy recently introduced in primary schools by the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
The three (3) teachers from Barotseland who were reported to the District Educational Boards, DEBs, this morning argued that they could not use 'Bemba' as a language of instruction because they were not conversant with it, and as such opted to use a language they are very conversant with (Lozi).
Consequently the three (3) have immediately requested the DEBs office to secure them transfers away from Kabwe to a 'Lozi' speaking district where they could adqeutely communicate to 'Lozi' speaking pupils as it has now become a requirement that teachers use local languages as a medium of instruction to grades 1 to 4 across the nation of Zambia.
The Zambian government have unilaterally imposed a policy, without preparation, that require teachers and learners of up to the fourth grade to use local languages as a means of instruction and learning respectively. It is, however, not clear how this policy, that has attracted mixed reactions from Zambian citizens, will be implemented as clearly no sort of logistical preparation was made for its implementation.
We await to see the out come of this confusion as this policy start on this first day of the school term, the 13th January 2014.
I was so up set to read of the reasons advanced by one Dr. Harrod Witola, the National Aids Council (NAC) Director of Programmes in Zambia for why HIV/ AIDS are so much higher in Barotseland than any rural Zambia.
I hope you will publish my sentiments on Barotsepost as below;
Readers should here below note:
1. Kuomboka Ceremony happens once a year
2. A hundred cane cutters mainly from Kalabo, Barotseland, seasonally trek to Mazabuka to do their trade
3. Many thousands of undisciplined sex starved combined Zambian Security personal from all over the line of rail, the place attributed with the highest HIV / AIDS infections in all of Zambia, are deployed all over Barotseland all year round since 2011, for a war that exists only in the imagination of the Lusaka Administration, hence they idle around Barotseland bored to the core, and with a lot of cash on hand which they can easily use to entice un suspecting young Lozi girls.
4. Other factors un known
Which among the above factors is likely to be the cause of the High HIV / AIDS infections in Barotseland?
Bana Bamalozi, musabe singolongoma seo (Run from the Monster, Daughters & Sons of Barotseland.)
Disgusted Barotseland Citizen.
LONDON - Ex-Liberia leader Charles Taylor is to serve war crime sentence in British jail, reports Henry Austin and Alastair Jamieson, of NBC News
Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president sentenced to 50 years in prison for crimes against humanity, will serve his jail term in Britain, the U.K. government said on Thursday.
Taylor, 64, was charged with murder, rape, conscripting child soldiers and sexual slavery during intertwined wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, the court found him guilty of only some of the charges.
He is the first head of state to be sent to prison by an international court since Nazi leaders were sentenced at Nuremberg after World War II.
Last month, the Special Court for Sierra Leone, based in The Hague, upheld his conviction for using the proceeds of 'blood diamonds' mined in the conflict zone to finance rebels who raped, murdered and mutilated their way across Liberia's northern neighbor during its 11-year civil war.
The tribunal found Taylor guilty of aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity by supporting notoriously brutal rebels in return for "blood diamonds."
"The conviction of Charles Taylor is a landmark moment for international justice," British justice minister Jeremy Wright wrote in a statement to parliament.
"It clearly demonstrates that those who commit atrocities will be held to account and that no matter their position they will not enjoy impunity," he said.
“The United Kingdom's offer to enforce any sentence imposed on former President Taylor by the SCSL was crucial to ensuring that he could be transferred to The Hague to stand trial for his crimes.” Source - NBC