News Editor, Barotseland Post
Mungu, Barotseland. The appeal case for jailed Barotseland National Youth League leaders Boris Muziba Muziba, Nayoto Mwenda and Sikwibele Wasilota came up for hearing this morning, and the trio were allowed to submit additional grounds for appeal, with the State requesting for a two weeks period in which to make their own submission to counter these grounds for appeal.
As other times before, the atmosphere around the court arena was crowded with sympathizers who came in to give support to the trio with most dressed in Mashushu (Lozi traditional attire).
The three were arrested last year and slapped with three year jail sentences with hard labour each for a letter they wrote to one Hon. Clement Sinyinda, leader of a competing liberation movement BNFA, which the Zambia police force claimed they randomly picked as ‘trash’, but upon reading, they deemed and reported it as 'false news' written and published with intent to cause fear and alarm to the nation contrary to the laws of Zambia.
Below is their submission;
We the people of Barotseland kingdom, Mungu, Royal Barotseland Kingdom.
11th March, 2015
The High Court for Zambia
SUBMISSION AND GROUNDS OF APPEAL
My lady, we appealed our conviction, on reasons that, the offence said to have been committed was committed in Barotseland, an independent country with its own laws, and administration (Government); the Republic of Zambia is aware of this fact.
Barotseland existed far before Zambia was born, and it never ceased to exist as a sovereign nation, unless you can give reference to the laws that killed Barotseland and its citizens, if at all they do exist.
The Barotseland Agreement attempted integration of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland Kingdom, but Zambian parliament abrogated and terminated the agreement, and forced its way to continue to enjoy the privileges and rights contained in the terminated agreement. We have however, attached an affidavit that can testify how correct our statement is. Unless Zambia can establish the link between Barotseland and Zambia if there is any!
According to the Zambian law, Barotseland is not recognized as a state party to it, and if so, then Barotseland remains to be a foreign country to Zambia, and any attempt to introduce the Zambian law, would mean, illegal occupation and interference to the internal affairs of Barotseland, thus contrary to the UN Charter Article 7, which says that nations should not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.
Further, we avail you to the reasons we hereby submit:
1. The Barotse National Council of 2012 accepted the nullification of the agreement which was referred to as a link between the two nations, and further declared Barotseland a sovereign and independent state, whose Head of State is King Lubosi Imwiko II. From that time, Zambia lost its legal jurisdiction on Barotseland, hence, we challenge you to prove that we are Zambians, in the absence of the agreement, for you to have a legal right over us.
2. Yes we wrote the letter to Mr. Sinyinda, to reprimand him of his bad deeds. Why does Zambia get involved, the letter is very personal and the issue at hand is the letter and not individuals that wrote the letter.
3. Writing a letter is not offence.
4. Your interpretation of the document is with intent to cause fear and intimidation, our interpretation of the document is with intent to curtail evil intentions.
5. The letter in question has revealed a serious scam against our beloved country Barotseland; why does Zambia get concerned in issues of a different country?
6. Who is the complainant in this case? Why didn’t Mr. Sinyinda, the one the letter was addressed to not complain or come to court to testify?
7. Defamatory - The authors of the letter did not commit any defamation of character to the person in question but in steady they were conveying a caution.
Argument: if he as an individual who the letter was addressed to did not reply in any way, how does a foreign police force and foreign court goes on to arrest and try the authors.
8. We the authors are concerned citizens of Barotseland, we are not Zambians, even if we were.
N.B. 'with intent' means no crime committed; thus we are dealing with imaginary offences. It’s over a year now, people have read the letter and there is no disturbance of public peace (that) has ever taken place as a result of publication; courts cannot deal with imaginary offences.
9. Instead of making investigations you arrest the concerned foreign citizens and you want to subject them to your laws which are not recognized anymore in Barotseland, if they are in use, then they have been imposed on Barotseland.
10. Whether true or false, the person who should summon us is His Majesty the Litunga King Lubosi Imwiko II, the Head of State of Barotseland, and not anybody else, because if there is any offence it was committed in his country, and NOT IN ZAMBIA.
11. Sedition – There is no sedition but presumption or opinion of the police!
Argument: Sedition is an opinion of police not law. In this case, a Zambian Policeman may decide to classify any material as seditious within their territory. Therefore, this can and will not apply to a citizen of a different country or territory and so to us.
Question: why is it that when a document with information of Barotseland found with any Barotzish is considered as sedition or is said to cause alarm, but when the same document is found with other tribes of Zambia, it will be considered like any other material of information?
12. You planted a recorder/ transmitter at the palace! Now you want to stop us from being concerned!
13. The lower court erred in law by not exercising fairness during trial and subsequent conviction, thereby violating our inalienable right as enshrined in the International Bill of Rights.
14. The lower court erred in law when it alluded to in its judgment that, seeking self-determination is a crime citing as a reason for convicting us so as to deter would be offenders. To the contrary, self-determination is our inalienable right as enshrined in various international charters such as the UN General Assembly on Human Rights and Peoples Rights Article 20 and the International Covenant on civil and Political Rights Article 1 among others, which Zambia domesticated on 08th August, 1984.
15. The lower court erred in law when it deliberately ignored our application that the matter be transferred to an independent and impartial court, thereby violating our inalienable right as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 10.
16. The lower court erred in law when it went ahead to try and convict us even after we raised constitutional matters and by law, the lower court has no jurisdiction to preside over matters which borders on constitution.
Finally, we have the belief that the hand and spirit of God will guide you as you take this case and hope that you will be impartial and that you will be able to analyze the facts as they are, and give a sound judgment to squash and dismiss the case and let us free.
Our conviction my Lady, flies in the teeth of the law, therefore, we pray to this honorable court to declare it null and void and that we be set free.
We are much obliged my Lady.
In the latest turn of events surrounding the Barotseland Petition seized by African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) of the African Union (AU), it has been learnt that the jittery Zambia government (GRZ) has pleaded for more time to respond to the petition, claiming that they have not seen the communication relating to the same. Consequently, at its 17th extra-ordinary session held from 19th to 28th February 2015, the Commission decided to grant the request and the secretariat of the Commission has forwarded the Barotseland complaint and submission on Admissibility to Zambia and requested the Zambia government to submit its response - counter arguments on Admissibility within two months. The Commission has since informed Barotseland of the decision through a letter of communication ( http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/letter_on_communication_429_to_the_complainant_4315.pdf ) to the office of the Ngambela dated 5th March 2015, copied to BNFA.
This development should be seen in Barotseland circles as a gimmick by the Zambian government to play hide and seek games in the fervent hope that passage of time shall produce a miraculous escape for the Zambian authorities from an otherwise imminent Armageddon. Nevertheless, BNFA understands well that court processes are full of intrigue and gymnastics which require coolness of mind. Like it was once said by prominent and veteran Lawyer, the late Mundia Sikatana SC that, “The wheels of Justice sometimes seem to turn too slowly, but they are turning all the same and sooner or later will grind to a halt as justice is delivered and seen to be delivered”.
The BNFA leadership is alive to the fact that GRZ will use every trick in the book to derail progress in this case. Their latest move in this matter is a common trick used within the Zambian court system whereby lawyers representing weaker sides of the litigation process feign ignorance of matters which are within their hands in order to secure adjournments of hearings to delay verdicts, hoping that eventual developments may save their clients from due punishment. As a matter of fact, the Attorney General’s Chambers is itself not innocent in this regard and it is no wonder the Zambian Justice system is so congested that even the most straight forward issues take decades to reach judgment, often with the result that the judgment beneficiary does not live to enjoy the fruits of their action.
The BNFA Executive Committee urges the people of Barotseland to remain steadfast in as far as the journey to an independent nation is concerned, as victory is certain. From our side, we see that correct anticipation of GRZ’s manoeuvres coupled with advances on the local political front, such as going ahead with the BTA agenda, will help quicken the pace of progress. We urge our people to remain united, focused, and determined in order to forge ahead in actualizing Barotseland statehood. They should avoid elements that tend to deviate attention from the real struggle - BNFA.INFO
The appeal case for the Barotseland National Youth league executive leaders; Muziba, Nayoto and Sikwibele who are jailed for three years with hard labor, for “publication of false news with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public contrary to the laws of Zambia” which took place on the 11th March 2015 in Mongu High Court of Zambia, has been adjourned to Monday 16th March, 2015.
In adjourning the matter, the court said that the trio’s submission to the court was not yet in their files, hence the adjournment to Monday 16th March, 2015.
Scores of people gathered at the High court to have a glimpse of the three courageous young men of Barotseland struggle for independence. The courtroom and outside premises were fully parked with people of all age groups and different walks of life, some of who sang songs of solidarity and the Barotseland national anthem in patriotism.
Meanwhile, business came to a standstill as the people lined up the road to Mongu prison to wave at the gallant youth of Barotseland who waived back with a raised victory hand symbol.
The three were arrested last year and slapped with a three year jail sentences with hard labour each for a letter they wrote to one Hon. Clement Sinyinda, leader of a competing liberation movement BNFA, which the occupying Zambia police force claimed they randomly picked as ‘trash’, but upon reading, they deemed and reported it as 'false news' written and published with intent to cause fear and alarm to the nation contrary to the laws of Zambia. Suspicions are that they were arrested on Hon. Sinyinda’s orders, in an apparent case of betrayal or reprisal as the letter was accusing him of collaborating with Zambia to perpetuate atrocities in Barotseland.
Currently in Zambia, this controversial colonial charge has been ruled unconstitutional by the high court, although the state has appealed the high court ruling to the supreme court, the highest court of appeal in Zambia.
Petitions and prayer continue to be made on behalf of the three young men and four other Barotseland leaders currently incarcerated in Zambian prisons including the Barotseland administrator general Hon. Afumba Mombotwa who is arrested for treason felony awaiting trial at Zambia high court. If convicted they face a death penalty for attempting to ‘secede’ Zambia’s western province to form the independent state of Barotseland.
Barotseland was unanimously declared independent by the supreme governing body of Barotseland the Barotse National Council (BNC) gathering in 2012, in response to Zambia’s unilateral abrogation of the pre-independence Barotseland Agreement 1964 which guaranteed autonomy of Barotseland within the newly independent republic of Zambia. The Barotse people have argued that with the termination of the agreement the Zambian government lost the legal ground to administer the Barotseland territory as the agreement was the only basis by which the area came under Zambia’s control.
Since the 1969 abrogation of the agreement, Zambia has administered Barotseland by a measure of force, often arresting, imprisoning or killing anyone protesting or questioning Zambia's legality in Barotseland. Thousands of Zambia military and security forces now traverse the territory, ready to squash any protestation or 'rebellion'.
Her majesty the Queen has acknowledged receipt of a letter written to her by DUGUÉ & KIRTLEY ( http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/2014_11_05_letter_to_the_queen.pdf ) legal representatives of the Barotse National Freedom Alliance who wrote in November last year (2014) requesting Her Majesty’s assistance regarding a former British Protectorate of Barotseland which they stated has been badly mistreated since independence through no fault of the United Kingdom.
In her response Her Majesty the Queen thankfully acknowledged receipt of the letter, advising further that the letter had been forwarded to the Right Honourable Phillip Hammond, MP, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs;
“While her Majesty has taken careful note of your comments, I should explain that this is not a matter in which The Queen would personally intervene. As a constitutional Sovereign, Her Majesty acts on advice of her Ministers, and I have therefore been instructed to forward your letter to the Right Honourable Phillip Hammond, MP, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, so that he may know of approach to The Queen on this matter and may consider the points you raise.” read the letter in part.
A copy of the entire letter, published for public records only, can be found here: http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/ellr_letter_of_20_11_2014.pdf
The Barotseland National Freedom Alliance has devised an agenda to form what they will call Barotse Transitional Authority, which according to them should be the official authority to implement the 2012 Barotse National Council resolutions 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12, and not the Afumba led transitional government.
In 2013 when Linyungandambo, the leading Independence advocates and the majority in grass root membership proposed a transitional government that would implement the BNC resolutions, some liberation movements, mainly the MOREBA leadership, and other leaders of the BFM, and the Barotse Imilemas refused to support and join the transitional government, claiming that it would be “Illegal” as Zambian security forces and Lusaka administration still occupied Barotseland. Instead, they opted to form the Barotse National Freedom Alliance, BNFA, which would be under the leadership of Hon. Clement W. Sinyinda, who had just resigned his traditional Prime minister role of Ngambela, to join the activist movement.
Upon assuming BNFA, leadership Hon. Sinyinda and his BNFA announced and disassociated himself and his group from the ‘illegal’ Afumba-led government, and instead announced to the whole world through popular Zambian media that he and his group would seek to liberate Barotseland through more ‘peaceful’ and ‘legal’ ways, rather that Unilateral Declaration of Independence, UDI, espoused by the Linyungandambo entity, a move that surprised other activists as Hon. Sinyinda was the one who had read out, in his capacity as Ngambela, the March 27th BNC resolutions that declared Barotseland independence.
However, in this latest move the BNFA seek the blessing and the corporation of the Barotse Royal Establishment, BRE, who the BNFA propose to front, as a way of legitimizing this agenda.
In releasing, this agenda to this publication, a highly placed BRE source was highly suspicious and surprised by this latest move by the BNFA, saying that he wished the BNFA would be more sincere and more open with their real agenda for Barotseland, because so far they had flouted too many differing road-maps on what they wished to attain for Barotseland. Simply, the official said, most BRE leadership are not buying this agenda as the BNFA have proved lack of clarity on Barotseland matters compared to their Linyungandambo counterpart, who have consistently stated and acted out their plans for Barotseland.
Accordingly, the BNFA was to host, under the auspices of the BRE, a Barotse National Council or conference from the 26th- 27th March, 2015 at Lealui/Limulunga, whose agenda would be among other things;
• To devise and approve terms of reference for the organs of the Barotse Transitional Authority.
• To select or nominate the members of the Katengo stipulated in the terms of reference.
• To appoint a working party for the constitution of Barotseland.
• To appoint members of the Board of Revenue Collection for Barotseland.
• To elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker (Chairman and Vice-Chairman) of the Katengo.
• To appoint a secretariat to undertake the day to day functions of the BTA who shall include the head of the Secretariat and the Clerk of the Katengo.
• To appoint a Permanent Team of negotiators to the formal disengagement process with the Government of Zambia.
• To ratify or approve the members of the Ngambela’s Cabinet.
• To appoint a judiciary working party to separate the functions of the Kuta from the Executive functions and day to day administration.
• To appoint any other relevant organs to facilitate the smooth implementation of the BNC Resolutions of March 2012.
In his further objection to the BNFA proposals the BRE source, who spoke on condition of anonymity as the matter was still under discussion, said that they were further surprised that, apart from minor deviations, the BNFA outlined proposal, is a replication of what the Afumba led transitional government has already done or are already doing.
"We know for instance that the Afumba government has a transitional constitution signed for by over 20000 people sent to UNPO, UN and other organizations, we know there is a penal code, 10 year development plan, a constituent assembly,etc. So are we going to have two governments in one country?" asked the bewildered BRE official.
The BNFA have lately come under fire for wanting to rewrite the history of Barotseland struggle, by deleting or erasing everything others have done and attribute credit only to the BNFA and Sinyinda as if BRE or Afumba or Linyungandambo have never existed, all because they claim to be the 'Umbrella and Mother Body of all activist groups', a situation that is not true as the Linyungandambo, BNYL, BNC and others are not officially members of BNFA.
To this effect they almost replaced the petition at the African Union to read BNFA Vs Zambia, rather than The Ngambela of Barotseland and Others Verses Zambia, had it not been the insistence of the African Union Commission of Human Rights that the petition remains unchanged. They have also successfully deleted any mention of Afumba Mombotwa and his transitional government and replaced it with the BNFA and Sinyinda, replaced every reference of Barotsepost by the BNFA web site on the UNPO web site as well as on all Wikipedia web sites so that, before long, the history of Barotseland will only have BNFA and Sinyinda.
However, it is highly unlikely that the proposed agenda will proceed as the BRE have shown no willingness to hold such conference.
The proposed agenda as submitted to this publication by our BRE sources is as below:
Barotse National Freedom Alliance
PROPOSAL TO IMPLEMENT THE BAROTSE TRANSITIONAL AUTHORITY
TO TAKE OVER THE FUNCTIONS OF THE BAROTSE NATIONAL FREEDOM ALLIANCE!
To establish a full time and mandated institution for the implementation of Resolutions 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the Barotse National Council held on 26-27th March, 2012 comprising the following administrative and policy governing organs:
. The Privy Council
. The Katengo Council
. The Ngambela’s Cabinet
. The Secretariat
SCOPE OF WORK
. To determine the best ways of promoting and affecting a popularly elected Katengo (Parliament/ Legislative Assembly) for Barotseland.
. To write an interim constitution for the democratic governance of Barotseland during and after the transition period.
. To establish a revenue collection body to support the Legislative Assembly and executive function for the governance of Barotseland.
. To organize, supervise and manage the elections of the Katengo based on universal suffrage of county (silalo) representation.
. To inaugurate the Katengo and dissolve the Barotse Transitional Authority at the close of the Transitional period.
. To devise and approve terms of reference for the organs of the Barotse Transitional Authority.
. To select or nominate the members of the Katengo stipulated in the terms of reference.
. To appoint a working party for the constitution of Barotseland.
. To appoint members of the Board of Revenue Collection for Barotseland.
. To elect the Speaker and Deputy Speaker (Chairman and Vice-Chairman) of the Katengo.
. To appoint a secretariat to undertake the day to day functions of the BTA who shall include the head of the Secretariat and the Clerk of the Katengo.
. To appoint a Permanent Team of negotiators to the formal disengagement process with the Government of Zambia.
. To ratify or approve the members of the Ngambela’s Cabinet.
. To appoint a judiciary working party to separate the functions of the Kuta from the Executive functions and day to day administration.
. To appoint any other relevant organs to facilitate the smooth implementation of the BNC Resolutions of March 2012.
DATE OF CONFERENCE 26th- 27th March, 2015
VENUE Lealui/ Limulunga
DURATION 2 days
. Namuso (Saa ni Siikalo) 10 Delegates
. District Kutas 30 Delegates (5 Indunas each)
. Silalo Indunas 35 Delegates (5 from each district)
. BNFA Executive 15 Delegates
. Constituent Parties 20 Delegates (5 from each Party)
. Female Delegates 35 Delegates (5 from each Party)
. Youth Delegates 35 Delegates (5 from each Party)
. Royal Family 5 Delegates
. Technocrats 10 Delegates
. Diaspora Delegates 10 Delegates
Total 205 Delegates
Transport for Delegates K40, 000.00
Accommodation K20, 000.00
Food for Delegates K15, 000.00
Stationery K5, 000.00
Total Cost K80, 000.00
Notes on costs:
We suggest that each constituent Kuta and Party should fund the transport component for its delegates estimated at about K200 return for each delegate. The BNFA should source funds for food, accommodation and stationery.
The number of delegates should provide sufficient room to elect/ nominate members of the governing organs comprised in the BTA from among those attending the meetings.
Costs for accommodation and transport may be scaled down through solicitation of donations and patriotism from invited participating organs.
13th February, 2015
I wish to thank Hon. on Nyambe Sapaya for his concerns. I would rather want to see them as concerns than attacks as he sounds to be immensely uncertain of what he is saying.
As you may bear witness with me, at no time have I insulted Hon. Sinyinda or insulted any genuine and clear minded Barotse activists.
I know we still have challenges where timely and factual information on the ground is concerned. This may have resulted in some of us sounding as though ‘one was insulting another’ when addressing a genuine concern.
Furthermore, I have never heard of Linyungandambo or Barotsepost insulting other Barotse activists. If I said I have, I would be lying, instead, the information we get from our informers in the BRE is to the effect that the latter have always wondered why the RESTORATION (of Barotseland Agreement) inclined activists have always attacked the likes of Linyungandambo at BRE while the Linyungandambo has not done such.
It is true that we need to be united. But how can we claim to all believe in the independence of Barotseland when other so called activists fail to simply comprehend that the BNC Resolution of 2012 calls for the emergence of a Barotseland Government and not an administrative authorities made up of disgruntled activists who never believed in our independence in the first place?
I have never heard the Linyungandambo initiated Barotseland Royal Government rejecting or having closed its doors to any activists who believe in a Barotseland government as the only way forward.
In the murky Zambian/Barotse politics waters, we cannot be certain as to deals those activists who operate freely have arranged with the oppressors' government. This is said because Hon. Mombotwa (Afumba) and others were arrested as soon as they showed up, while the likes of those who attack other activists and yet claiming to be zealous proponents of Barotseland's total freedom are roaming free. In such a scenario, would a normal thinking individual blame those who may find it a bit safer to "hide in holes"? Certainly not!
We heartily appreciate the sacrifices the likes of Hon. Sapaya have made. We also recognize that all genuine Barotse activists have made sacrifices one way or the other. The only way we can make all those sacrifices truly worthwhile is by realizing and living our independence according to the BNC Resolution 2012 (BNCR2012, if one may like).
We are aware of the enemy's infiltration and would, therefore, advise valuable activists like Hon Sapaya to really be very careful on that. Our focus should be the international recognition of our nationhood not individuals who may be actively working towards achieving that.
It matters less whether such recognition is achieved by Hon Mombotwa or Hon Sinyinda's efforts as long as the goal is arrived at. Personal animosity will not take us anywhere good. Barotseland does not belong to an individual. Some of us have even laid aside our ‘royalty’ all for the sake of our nationhood. Being called mwana' mulena does not thrill me at all as long as our people continue to suffer injustice. However, what is certain is that Barotseland is indeed free and Barotseland has a working government that has already made substantial gains on the international platform. That Barotseland government is for all Marotse.
The unity that Hon. Sapaya is talking about must start with his calling for the release of Hon Mombotwa and others since he well knows the situation they are in. As a matter of fact, we had internationally called for the release of Hon. Sapaya and others then.
Our motto should be "An injury to one is an injury to all."