News Editor, Barotseland Post
Incarcerated independence activists, musician and Barotseland National Youth League (BNYL) National Coordinator Sikwibele Wasilota (Skwiz) has been moved back to Sinanga prisons during the time when the Zambian Musician and sexual predator and convict 'General' Kanene was brought in Barotseland Kingdom by the Zambian Prisons Service for public performances, Gibson Sitamulaho of the Barotseland National Information Center in Mungu reports.
However, the bringing of Kanene into Mungu and Kalabo for scheduled public performances on the TB day and commissioning of the new prison, annoyed a number of Barotseland citizens as they demanded for their local musician incarcerated in the Mungu Prison with a minor jail term of three years, not 'General' Kanene who is convicted for 18 years for a criminal and sexual offense.
The prison warders are reported to have had so much pressure from the people about the coming in of 'General' Kanene, and hence they decided to transfer the musical ‘elephant’ of Barotseland Sikwibele Wasilota in haste.
“When Sikwibele attempted to ask for the reason as to why he was being taken back to Sinanga in an unusual manner like they used before, jail guard Mwangala Akende took upon himself to call inmates to beat him and forced handcuffs on him and dumped him in a vehicle!
“Mwangala Akende behaved very ruthlessly and he stepped his foot in the neck of Skwiz throughout the journey to Sinanga.” Reported an insider.
It is further reported that Mr. Sikwibele sustained body injuries and numbness of the fingers as a result of handcuffs that were tight, and when he demanded to be taken to the hospital for medical attention, the Sinanga Prisons Officer in charge Mr. Sandomu Ng’andu entirely refused to give him a medical report so that he could be treated.
When a number of sympathizers went to Mungu Prison to visit Skwiz, officer Akende was telling them that they should not believe the lies that Sikwibele was beaten by anyone when he was being moved to Sinanga. This he said without being asked. In fact before the visitors even learnt that Skwiz had already been taken to Sinanga.
Asking some prisoners that witnessed the event, they said that he was brutally beaten by the officers, while Akende cheered them on, to beat him even harder!
“It was not a good thing to see,” the prisoners are reported to have said sympathetically.
The following morning, his friend Mr. Boris Muziba was also reported to have been taken back to Kaoma in what appeared to be a cover-up as the Mungu Prison authority were afraid of being asked as to why Skwiz alone was beaten and taken back to Sinanga.
The BNYL trio; Boris Muziba, Nayoto Mwenda and Sikwibele Wasilota were recently moved to Mongu prison for their appeal case at the high court against the subordinate court sentencing of 3 years with hard labour for “Publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public according to the laws of Zambia” The trial dates are yet to be given by the Zambian state who on 2nd April 2015 requested for a two weeks period in which to make their own submission to counter the trio's grounds for appeal.
Hundreds of Barotse nationals were on Thursday April 23, 2015 gathered at the Barotse Royal Establishment Kuta, demanding the removal of some Indunas they accused of serving the interests of the occupying Zambian government.
According to the petitioners, they had in their possession evidence to the effect that some present Namuso Indunas are working hand-in-hand with the occupying Zambian regime to continue suppressing the Kingdom of Barotseland statehood and self-rule as reflected by the letter from Zambia's Provincial Chiefs and Traditional Affairs officer, Mr. Edson Nachimwenda, dated November 17, 2014 which was published here on March 17th, 2015: http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/nachimwenda_confidential_report.pdf
As such the people, mainly from Limulunga and Mongu (Mungu), marched and gathered to present their petition before the Ngambela's Kuta (Court) in Limulunga demanding, among other things, the removal of the alleged compromised Indunas and all those opposed to the implementation of the 2012 Barotse National Council Independence Resolutions, and proving to the people of Barotseland that the assertion by Nachimwenda that the Litunga has been stripped of his powers are misplaced.
The video posted and obtained at the BNFA website; http://bnfa.info/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/IMG_0169.mp4 explains the demands of the petitioners.
Further, the people demanded the removal of Nachimwenda and all Zambian heads of government departments and parastatals from Barotseland.
However, the alleged compromised Indunas, led by the Silumbu brothers are reported to have responded by insulting the people, calling them fools and pointing out that they had no power to remove them but the Litunga.
"On hearing this the youths were enraged and started hurling unprintable insults in return. The Indunas were saved from being physically ejected out of the Kuta by Zambia police who rushed to the scene. This, yet again, demonstrates Zambian government's continued intervention in the affairs of Barotseland being protested against. The petition was in response to Nachimwenda's letter that present day Namuso Indunas are working hand-in-hand with the occupying Zambian regime to continue suppressing the Kingdom of Barotseland statehood.
"Whereas the Barotse Kuta System is open to the public, the Indunas refused to allow the people in the Kuta but just four representatives, thereby effectively running away from the people. Clearly, present day Namuso Indunas are not representing the interests of the peoples of Barotseland but their own; and we commend the activists for showing them the door out." reported Mukunda.
The entire petition as obtained from the BNFA website is here below reproduced:
PETITION FROM THE PEOPLES OF THE KINGDOM OF BAROTSELAND
TO NAMUSO (BAROTSELAND GOVERNMENT)
OVER THE CONTINUED UNDERMINING OF THE NATION AND SELF-GOVERNANCE OF BAROTSELAND BY THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT
1. We the peoples of Barotseland in our diversity today, March 26, 2015, have in our possession evidence to the effect that present Namuso Indunas are working hand-in-hand with the occupying Zambian regime to continue suppressing the Kingdom of Barotseland statehood and self-rule as reflected by the letter from the Provincial Chiefs and Traditional Affairs officer, Mr. Edson Nachimwenda, dated November 17, 2014 herewith attached.
2. In contrast, in the past Namuso had strongly stood for and worked for the peoples of Barotseland as regards safe guarding their rights to self-determination. This is reflected in the minutes of the meeting between senior Namuso Indunas and the then Zambia Minister of state responsible for Barotseland Hon. Fine Liboma MP sitting together with Hon. Josephat A. Siyomunji MP dated October 3, 1969 held in the Conference Hall in Mongu, herewith attached: http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/minutes_namuso_minister_of_state_1969.pdf
3. It is clear from (1) above that suppressive activities by occupying Zambian government agents are massive and not only limited to the Provincial Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Department but permeates through to all heads of government departments, parastatal organizations and security wings operating in Barotseland and beyond from way back in 1964. 4. In view of the above, we demand Namuso to immediately:
a) name and dismiss all Indunas working with the occupying Zambia government as stated by Mr. Nachimwenda;
b) remove all Indunas not in support of the March 27, 2012 Barotse National Council Resolutions;
c) pressure the occupying Zambia government to remove and replace all heads of government departments, parastatal organizations and security wings in Barotseland by Barotse Nationals who are better qualified, experienced and speak the local language; and
d) prove to the people of Barotseland that the assertion by Mr. Nachimwenda that the Litunga has been stripped of his powers are misplaced and clearly state their position on this.
5. Whereof we, the peoples of Barotseland, hereunder append our signatures to this Petition.
cc. the Litunga of the Kingdom of Barotseland
Some of you who are familiar with my point of views would probably remember me constantly advocate our need to oppose the spirit of “I” (disunity) supremacy all the time. To eliminate the spirit of “I” is to make a way for a solution to all the economic, social and political problems faced by the people of Barotseland today due to the aborted fifty year cohabitation with Zambia. Sadly some among us some may still dispute this premise.
As a person whose efforts and heart have always been dedicated to the advancement of our people's independence resolve, my words are simple but so true. “It is not only the spirit of ‘I’ supremacy that is the root cause of disunity, but the ‘Zambianization’ that manifests itself in Zambian politics, still holding a grip on Barotseland too!” I can go on and on, however, I don't like saying things that will hurt the efforts made by most of the activists groups while to a few activists it is the truth they don't like hearing. But it's true that our enemy planted the seed of disunity into our thinking a long time ago through corrupting of some perceived activists, some BRE indunas and the ethnic divide and rule which was started by the late 2nd republican president of Zambia, FTJ Chiluba.
The result of the ‘I’ syndrome is part of the derailment of our independence realization, the very issue our enemy knows and has extensively exploited. Whenever the Zambian regime perceives the possibility that we might unify, it places maximum efforts toward making sure we remain divided to DERAIL our independence.
We cannot end the ‘I’ syndrome as a concept. However, if we re-educate ourselves and re-orient our thinking and stop hating each other, but rather focus on all the things that remind us of our coexistence, we will win our independence resolve. Unity of purpose among all the people of Barotseland is the way out of Zambia's supremacy in our territory. Remember, it is not the names that you are called by that matter. What really masters is which names you answer to. It is in the shared experience of our humanity that we can foster the awareness of our unity and move Barotseland forward.
It is time, therefore, to oppose the ‘I’ supremacy all the time, everyplace we go, every place we are with vigor and strength. Zambian ‘supremacy’ is our real ‘enemy’. Zambia is the enemy of international law, too. However, we cannot unilaterally control and compel Zambians to obey the principal of legality but we can teach them to live to the sanctity of the Law. We can also affect how we individually perceive the world and ourselves. The ‘I’ supremacy cannot flourish where UNITY exists.
The fundamental point is to control our destiny as proclaimed by the March 2012 BNC resolutions which radiated the electronic waves of major world media such as the BBC and others. All what we want is to secure our country's sovereignty.
Tukongote, May God bless all the pressure groups and the people of Barotseland.
The Zambian government has for the first time admitted that it has acquired hardware and software to block certain websites in Zambia.
From 2012, the Zambian government has been blocking news websites critical of government but has been failing to block Facebook.
But now the PF government has announced that it has acquired the relevant technology to block even Facebook. In 2012, the PF government blocked the Zambian Watchdog, Zambia Reports and Barotse Post (this publication). The government is still tampering with Zambian Watchdog and Barotse Post but have removed interference software from Zambia Reports after the owners of that Website sold their independence to State House. It is now a PF (the rulling Patriotic Front party) website.
When president Edgar Lungu visited China last month, the Watchdog reported that part of his mission was to ask and pay Huawei to find ways of completely blocking the Zambian Watchdog especially its Facebook page which has more than 305 000 followers. It is the most popular local site in Zambia.
On Thursday when president Edgar Lungu went to open some shops on the Copperbelt said ‘this culture of sitting and posting stories on Facebook the whole day must come to an end.” Despite the attempt to hide his true intentions, Lungu’ statement was quite revealing that his hatred was for news ‘stories’ on Face book.
The same evening, Secretary to the Cabinet Roland Msiska announced that his office was working on policies and systems that to block ‘certain social media websites’ being accessed in government offices during working hours.
Msiska said Cabinet Office was working on a programme that will bar the use of certain social media sites.
“The hardware and software are already in place, and very soon, we will be filtering certain websites in Government offices. What the President said concerning social websites is very true,” Msiska said.
He said his office is working on e-governance and Zamtel, together with the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications is already rolling it out.
President Lungu has expressed concern that some civil servants waste time on social media such as Facebook.
And Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga his ministry will issue a directive to Zambia Information and Technology Authority to check sites that are abused and block them so that only those that are appropriate during work hours can be accessed - Zambianwatchdog.com
The Zambian government has been accused of pressuring the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Litunga of Barotseland to support the bid to have the Barotse Plains (Barotse Cultural Landscape) as a world Heritage site, in spite of strong rejections of the nomination bid by a wide section of the Barotse people including the BRE last year.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee last year deferred its nomination of the Barotse Plains for inscription as a World Heritage Site because Zambia “needed to improve on the nomination dossier in readiness for examination and inscription”, so as reported by Isaac Kanguya, spokes-man for Zambia’s National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC), and as quoted by Post Zambia.
Although the Barotse plains do meet more than one criterion, see http://whc.unesco.org/en/criteria for Selection as a world Heritage site, the Zambian nomination seemed to have lacked local representation; Their dossier simply did not show proof and demonstration of participation from the local authority and the people who would be affected by its declaration as a world heritage site.
“As such the Zambian government is now reported to be pressuring the Litunga and the BRE to endorse this bid pushed by Lusaka. We may again see vice president Inonge Wina rush to Limulunga Royal palace to seek a meeting with the Kuta or the Litunga over this issue” intimated a highly placed source.
Zambia's Western Province Deputy Permanent Secretary, Mwangala Liomba, said in December last year that good progress had been made so far towards inscribing the Barotse Plains, now called the Barotse Cultural Landscape, as a World Heritage Site.
Speaking when he officiated at the stakeholders’ consultative meeting held at Ngulu Hotel, in Mongu, organized by Zambia's National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC), Mr Liomba claimed that since 2007 National Heritage Commission has been collaborating very well with government and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) on making the landscape a World Heritage Site.
However, of the four nomination dossiers from Africa examined at the World Heritage Committee Meeting from 15th - 25th Of June 2014 in Doha, Qatar, i.e. Okavango Delta (Botswana), Tongo-Tengzuk Tallensi Cultural Landscape (Ghana), Mount Mulanje Cultural Landscape (Malawi) and Barotse Cultural Landscape (Zambia),only Okavango Delta was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The nomination of the Barotse Cultural landscape, has always been very contentious from both Zambian parliamentarians representing Barotse people, and more so by Barotseland Independence advocates as well as the Traditional authorities in the BRE.
Last year Monze member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu of Zambia’s main opposition UPND and his Nalikwanda counterpart Geoffrey Lungwangwa of the MMD advised government to consult widely over the issue:
“When a heritage site is declared, you don’t alter it, but maintain the site in its original state. Even if you discover oil, which I am meant to understand there is in the Barotse Plains, you cannot mine that oil (...). Why would you want to declare an area as vast as the Barotse Plains a heritage site? Almost the entire Western Province to be declared a Heritage Site, indicating that there will be no development?” Mwiimbu advised in the Zambian parliament.
The Barotseland independence advocates on the other hand see this as a ploy by Zambia to take away Barotseland’s future source of development because of the speculation of the availability of petroleum, gas, diamonds and other natural resources within the same territory proposed to be declared as a world heritage site.
“We wish to exploit these resources sustainably for our country’s development, and if we desire to have it protected, it will be our own Barotseland government that will submit the nomination, and not Zambia, a foreign power,” commented Mr. Lubinda Kunangela, the national information officer of the Linyungandambo liberation movement.
Another proponent of Barotseland Self determination disagreed with Zambia's intentions as the move would make Barotseland lose her right to decide on how best to use the landscape in regards to mining and farming. Listen to Dr. Mufalali's recorded interview on Radio Barotseland here: http://barotsepost.com/images/mp3/dr_mufalali.mp3
According to UNESCO the floodplain under application stretches from the Zambezi's confluence with the Kabompo and Lungwebungu Rivers in the north, to a point about 230km south, above the Ngonye falls, south of Senanga. Along most of its length its width is over 30km, reaching 50km at the widest, just north of Mongu, main town of the plain, situated at its edge.
The main body of the plain covers about 5500km², but the maximum flooded area is 10750km² when the floodplains of several tributaries are taken into account, such as the Luena Flats
The Barotse Cultural Landscape (submitted by Zambia's National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) in 2009), and with it, the Kuomboka and the reverse Kufulehela ceremonies, is proposed for inscription as a “cultural landscape that bears a unique and exceptional testimony to a living cultural tradition”.
The area has been inhabited continuously since the early 1800s.
In the case of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland, no union was established, except for the inheritance of power and obligations of the queen by Mr. Kaunda in 1964. Surely there is no united, "Baro-zam" as a country; so there was an elliptical formation of the Zambian state parallel to none.
It is quite evident that Barotseland has never been formally annexed to any territory to date; and it has never been an enclave. The legality of annexation of Barotseland to Zambia could only depend on the entry into force of the Barotseland Agreement 1964. Really the Agreement was a presupposition intended to associate Barotseland to Zambia. Many people believe that the Agreement united Barotseland to Zambia; but the truth is that the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 suggested condominium with regard to Authority.
To our dismay, however, the Barotseland Agreement 1964 was unilaterally terminated by the Zambian government; while at the same time they continued occupying our country, although by implication; termination of the agreement meant severing the relationship.
The consequences of abrogation of the Agreement resulted into coercion, forced assimilation, subjugation; and domination. The Zambians try to maintain relationship with Barotseland by fire-arms while they occupy Barotseland illegally.
Zambia's dominance is derived from the law of succession, i.e. Zambia inherited obligations of her Majesty the Queen of Britain over Barotseland.
According to Zambian understanding Barotseland's liberty is termed as ‘secession.’ To shed light on this notion, we know that ‘secession’ is perceived to be in conflict with the idea of preservation of the territorial integrity of a country.
This being the case, it is incredible to suggest that boundaries of Barotseland that were drawn and concluded between 1890-1905 should not be preserved at the expense of cheap slogans.
The perception of ‘secession’ implies the state of breaking away from the mother country. If this is true then Zambia has never been a mother country to Barotseland; and shall never be, because Barotseland is older. Furthermore the intention of impairing territorial integrity of Barotseland and the desire to deprive Barotseland of her sovereignty by Zambia is not compatible with international norms.
The issue of deprivation of Barotse people's right to self-rule as provided by the Barotseland Agreement 1964 can never be entertained any more. We are re-building our nation upon the foundation laid down by King Lewanika; a foundation that enables us to secure what belongs to us. Being Zambians to us is simply questionable; and something the Barotse earned on the way. We are Barotzish by virtue of descent.
We would like our African Brothers to know that we were occupied by a Neighbouring country, and we are here to claim what belongs to us.
Rt. Hon. Afumba Mombotwa
Royal Barotseland kingdom