News Editor, Barotseland Post
Barotse Imilemas, BIs, the youth wing of the Barotse Freedom Alliance BNFA, is currently embroiled in internal wrangles with one faction suspending 8 of its key members on allegations that they recently visited State House in Lusaka. It is also reported that the 8 accused received undisclosed amount of money from some Zambian government officials during their visit to Lusaka to frustrate the independence struggle of Barotseland internally. The BNFA aligned social media BBN, Mongu based Radio Lyambai and the Zambian privately owned MUVI TV have all reported that the eight were suspended after it was discovered that they were involved in clandestine meetings with Lusaka administration and selling of Barotseland privileged information.
Announcing the news of their suspension today (20th February 2015), the eight have been accused of been involved in selling information to GRZ (Government of the Republic of Zambia), and holding private meetings. They (BI) have said that this suspended team was actually in Lusaka twice, holding meetings at state house without their consent, BBN reports.
According to BBN the suspended people have been receiving money and pretending to be fighting for the independence of Barotseland when in fact not. Among the suspended are named as the out-spoken Muyunda Makala, Mushokabanji Wamuwi, Anthony Sinonge, Situmba Lyamba, Brian Simataa and Mutemwa Pumulo and two others, all from Kamulanga branch.
On further investigation, BBN reports that their findings were that the suspended group was actually in Lusaka for meetings under the auspices and in accompaniment of some top BNFA leadership over matters related to the AGAPE ASSOCIATES who proposed the RESTORATION of the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964 last year. BBN further reports that the Agape Associates conflict international team met in Lusaka last month. The AGAPE Associates group had offered and proposed to mediate between the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and Zambian Government last year, the time when the late Zambian president Michael Sata was about to hold a national meeting with Litunga and resolve the impasse by way of RESTORING the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 as an alternative to TOTAL independence of Barotseland, a proposal that was strongly reject by the leading Barotseland independence advocates and more radicalized Linyungandambo movement and others. The proposed plans also failed to proceed due to the illness and demise of the Zambian leader.
Meanwhile, the suspended group has today ‘rubbished’ their reported suspensions calling it ‘fake’ and ‘malicious’ work of some ‘sponsored’ individuals who wish to bring the BI name into disrepute.
“No one has been suspended or expelled from the BI organization. The BI leadership is intact and perfectly working well and still remains under the Umbrella of Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA)” said Jason Situmbaeto speaking in his capacity as national chairman.
The BNFA, under the chairmanship of Hon. Clement Sinyinda, is an alliance of some Barotseland liberation movements, although it lacks the official support of the major liberation movement Linyungandambo who are instead backing the Afumba Mombotwa led transitional Barotseland government.
There has been recent calls for the BNFA to disband and instead join in support of the transitional government in line with the 27th March 2012 independence declaration. The BNFA has often been accused of supporting an agenda towards the RESTORATION of the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964 rather than the total independence of Barotseland as declared by the 2012 BNC because of their their refusal to participate and support the transitional government headed by the now incarcerated Barotseland Administrator General Hon. Afumba Mobotwa.
Se here below the entire press release refuting the reported suspensions as well as the MUVI TV news report on the wrangles:
PRESS RELEASE BY THE BAROTSE IMILEMAS (BIs)
Please note that the reported suspension of some members of the Barotse Imilemas (BIs),from the BI executive committee is fake and malicious. The reported news on Facebook and MUVI TV was not from the BI executive committee, but done by some sponsored individuals who are not BIs but serving the interest of our enemy Zambia, with an agenda to bring the BI name into disrepute, undermine and destroy the BI organization.
No one has been suspended or expelled from the BI organization.
The BI leadership is intact and perfectly working well and still remains under the Umbrella of Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA),coordinating the implementation of the sovereign resolutions of March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) in the pacific Manner.
Jason Situmbaeto- National Chairperson
On 19 February 2015, the Mauritanian diaspora in Brussels staged a demonstration in front of the European Parliament demanding the release of Biram Dah Abeid, President of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA-Mauritanie) and other anti-slavery activists from prison in Rosso, Mauritania. The demonstrators also called for the European Parliament to do all they can to pressure the Mauritanian government to eliminate slavery which remains deeply institutionalized within the country.
The demonstration followed the release of an open letter sent to the Mauritanian government by imprisoned activists Biram Dah Abeid, Brahim Bilal Ramdhan and Jibril Mamadou Sow. The letter called for the trio to be detained within what they see as the correct jurisdiction in Nouakchott, instead of Rosso; for their families to be allowed visitation rights which, up to now, have been denied; and for fellow activists and those held in arbitrary detention to be given the right to a fair trial and proper judicial process.
On 15 January 2015, the court in Rosso, Mauritania, sentenced the three activists to two years in prison following their arrests on 11 November 2014. Since then a number of high profile statements condemning the actions of Mauritania have been made by the U.S. Department of State, the European Union, Amnesty International and many others. Those who have participated in demonstrations in Mauritania calling for the release of these three activists, as well as the fair treatment of many others, have been dealt with violently by the authorities.
The demonstrations on 19 February 2015 in Brussels echoed the growing sentiment within the international community that more must be done to end slavery within Mauritania. Members of the Mauritanian diaspora gathered outside the European Parliament to express their disgust of the actions taken by the Mauritanian government to suppress civil society and perpetuate the racially motivated practice of traditional slavery. As well as demanding the release of anti-slavery activists within the country, they also called for Mauritania to “end the feudal system” and implored those at the European Parliament to aid them in their struggle, shouting: “We demand justice, we demand equality, and we demand our freedom”.
According to the Global Slavery Index, there are over 150,000 people still in conditions of slavery in Mauritania, accounting for around 4% of the total population. This means Mauritania has the highest estimated proportion of slaves by population in the world. Slavery remains a highly racial issue within the country and it is estimated that over 20% of the Haratin ethnic community in Mauritania are subject to traditional slavery.
UNPO condemns the actions of the Mauritanian government with regards to these activists and its failure to realise the elimination of slavery. As a democratic and non-violent organsiation, UNPO will continue to support the peaceful actions of civil society within the country and remains united with IRA-Mauritanie in its mission to eradicate slavery and all other forms of discrimination within Mauritania. To learn more about the situation please read our timeline of events.
Please support us in freeing the anti-slavery activists and ending slavery in Mauritania: sign our appeal.
Please click to view UNPO’s joint statement calling for the release of the jailed activists.
The Zambian government will soon deploy Commandos in Kazungula and Zambezi River following the splitting of the Commando unit to form a marine troop.
Zambia army Commander Lt General Paul Mihova recently revealed that the government had authorised him to split the Commando unit and form a marine troop to protect water bodies shared with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Marine school will be based in Kawambwa but some marine troops will also be deployed on Lake Kariba, Zambezi River and Kazungula.
The Commandos to be deployed in Kazungula will add to the thousands of soldiers that Zambia has stationed in Barotseland.
President Edgar Lungu will soon launch the marine unit.
Meanwhile, the Zambian president, Edgar Lungu, has directed that the ‘One Zambia One Nation’ propaganda slogan be recited before the broadcast of any and every news bulletin on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation ZNBC - the only broadcasting house with national coverage. This, he claimed, would enhance ‘Tribal’ unity, when the historical and apparent truth is that it is actually aimed at brainwashing unsuspecting citizens to suppress the eminent full separation of Barotseland.
The truth the Zambian government is yet to come to terms with is that Barotseland’s independence as declared on 27th March 2012 Barotse National Council is final, and that it is just a matter of time before major and visible structural changes begin to occur in the two regions of Zambia and Barotseland.
Therefore, tactics like propaganda sloganeering and heavy Zambian militarization of Barotseland, coupled with arbitrary and mass arrests of Barotseland independence leaders, is now what is left for Zambia in her last attempts to keep Barotseland subjugated after they (Zambian government) unilaterally abrogated the unitary agreement of 1964, The Barotseland Agreement 1964.
On March 27th 2012, Barotseland unanimously accepted Zambia’s abrogation of the 1964 treaty and declared that henceforth Barotseland would be an independent state separate from Zambia, a process that Barotseland has pursued since then, with an interim government currently seeking international recognition.
Palestine qualifying for and taking part in the Confederation Asian Cup, which starts this month [January 2015], can be seen as another symbol of the international community accepting it as its member. For other regions or de facto States around the world, such as Iraqi Kurdistan and Kosovo, that are trying to achieve similar recognition, the example of Palestine illustrates the important role of sports, in particular football, in achieving statehood.
Below is an article published by Daily News Egypt:
Palestine has set a new benchmark for nations like the Kurds and the Kosovars, who see football as a key part of their toolbox to achieve statehood, with its qualification for this month’s (January 2015) Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup even if the Palestinian road to statehood is increasingly pockmarked by seemingly insurmountable barriers.
When Palestine kicks off its first Asian Cup match against Japan on 12 January 2015 in Australia, the football pitch will have emerged against a backdrop of setbacks as the most important venue on which the fledgling state has advanced its quest to take its place among the family of nations.
The kick-off follows the United Nations Security Council’s recent refusal to set a deadline for an end to almost half a century of Israeli occupation and comes as the International Criminal Court debates whether the Palestine Authority is an entity or a state. As a state, Palestine would qualify for taking Israel to task on alleged war crimes as well as infractions on international law governing the administration of occupied territory.
Palestine’s progression on the Asian football stage also focuses attention on its campaign to get Israel suspended by world football body FIFA for alleged obstruction of the development of Palestinian football that is part of a broader effort to squeeze Israel within international organizations. After years of failed mediation efforts, FIFA last month, December 2014, warned that Israel could be sanctioned if it failed to ensure the free movement of Palestinian players.
Palestinian football officials complain that Israel restrictions on travel within the West Bank and between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as well as internationally obstruct the development of Palestinian football. Israeli officials are likely to suggest that Palestine’s qualification for the Asian Cup proves opposite while Palestinians see it as evidence of their determination and resilience.
In making it to the 16-team tournament in Australia, Palestine has achieved what other fledgling states like Iraqi Kurdistan and Kosovar dream of: recognition of nation and statehood in a world that dances around their national aspirations. To be sure, Palestine with Arab backing established as far back as 1998 with admission to FIFA even though it was not a legally recognized state the base line for the employment of football in nation building and state formation. Qualification for the Asian Cup allows it to capitalize on the FIFA recognition in an unprecedented way that would only be triumphed by qualification for a World Cup.
By contrast Iraqi Kurdistan’s national team has competed so far only in the likes of the unofficial VIVA World Cup, which it hosted in 2012. The team played last year in the ConIFA World Football Cup that is populated by squads representing regions or groups that are recognized by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).
A statement by Iraqi Kurdish president Massoud Barzani equating sports to politics as a way of achieving recognition adorns Iraqi Kurdistan’s three major stadiums and virtually all of its sports centres and institutions. “We want to serve our nation and use sports to get everything for our nation. We all believe in what the president said,” says Kurdistan Football Federation (KFF) president Safin Kanabi, scion of a legendary supporter of Kurdish football who led anti-regime protests in Kurdish stadiums during Saddam Hussein’s rule.
Like Kosovo, Kurdistan is barred by FIFA on the grounds that it is not a full member of the United Nations. Kosovo’s aspiration are complicated by the fact that European governing body UEFA, which initially accepted the UN rule adopted in 1999 to appease Spain which was opposed to Gibraltar being granted membership. Gibraltar ultimately became an UEFA member in 2013 after the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) ruled in its favour. Gibraltar’s success raised Iraqi Kurdish hopes in the knowledge that the AFC’s statutes refer to the UN rule only indirectly by stating that membership has to comply with FIFA’s statutes and the fact that the AFC in the past has successfully defied FIFA by expelling Israel and Taiwan on political grounds.
Even so Iraqi Kurds realize that with Syria and Iraq battling to retain territorial integrity and remain nation states, Islamic State’s control of a large swath of their territory, and sectarian warfare, chances for international support for Kurdish national aspirations are zero. Although threatened by Islamic State, Kurdistan has nonetheless developed into a state in all but name ever since the US declared a no-fly zone above northern Iraq in 1991 to protect the Kurds against the wrath of former Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.
Kurdistan deals directly with many governments on an informal basis but lacks the kind of acknowledgement that Kosovo enjoys. The former Yugoslav region has been recognized by 110 countries, including 23 of the 28 European Union member states, 24 of NATO’s 28 members and 34 of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The Kurdish Football Association has nonetheless demanded that FIFA grant its team like it did in the case of Kosovo and Catalonia the right to play international friendlies. “Like any nation, we want to open the door through football. Take Brazil. People know Brazil first and foremost through football. We want to do the same. We want to have a strong team by the time we have a country. We do our job, politicians do theirs. Inshallah (if God wills), we will have a country and a flag” said Kurdistan national coach Abdullah Mahmoud Muhieddin.
Both Palestine and Kurdistan have a ways to travel before they achieve statehood. Both confront regional powers opposed to their aspirations. The Kurds will nevertheless monitor Palestine’s performance in Australia and even more importantly how the Palestinians seek to capitalize on their Asian Cup qualification to advance efforts to achieve an end to Israeli occupation and full-fledged independence in the hope that they too will eventually be able to follow suit.
Photo courtesy of the Palstinian Football Association, 2015
It is without a doubt that the Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) has helped the struggle for Barotseland make undeniable and substantial gains towards independence. However, uncertainty still hangs in the air when one would want to know in whose interest such progress has been made if not for personal aggrandizement, or even whether it is genuine progress at all and not a ploy designed to plunge Barotseland’s independence into a much deeper future quagmire. Founded concerns have been raised by those who from the beginning of the Barotse Spring had been calling for immediate and total disengagement with Zambia. However, today it appears as if those who had vehemently opposed calls for total independence to the point of disowning the proponents of such calls in Zambian media (being fully aware of the implications) are suddenly in the forefront of things and are, nevertheless, still demonizing other activists in the same intensity as they had done when they called for the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement 1964. Equally unsettling is the fact that some individuals within the BNFA leadership were actually on Rupiah Banda’s murderous government’s pay roll on 14th January 2011. These now self proclaimed champions of Barotseland’s struggle for freedom had kept silent when our people were murdered in cold blood and brutalized by a government they served. Something just isn’t right about that picture.
Another worrisome precedent that needs to be honestly challenged is the claim that BNFA is the umbrella movement of all Barotse activist groupings. Such a claim is not only untrue but also malicious, bankrupt and counter-active. It is a claim that cannot be proved at all. The fact is that actors behind the BNFA plot have managed to convince a few unsure individuals, particularly those from the Barotseland Freedom Movement ( BFM), some free lancers swinging between Hon. Charles Milupi’s ADD and Barotse activism, and some self proclaimed “know it alls”, to believe in their “elitists’ philosophy” at the expense of the masses whom they have labeled the semi-illiterates who hold the wrong end of the stick. What an insult to the people who have bravely stood up to Zambian occupation and borne the brunt of that country’s brutal oppression!
BACKGROUND OF THE ALLIANCE IDEA
Factually laid out, the idea of an alliance had first come up on 24th January 2012. This was soon after we had delivered a joint report on the meeting with the late Zambian president, Mr. Michael Sata (which had taken place at the Zambian State House on 28th December 2011) to His Majesty the Litunga at Lumulunga Royal Palace’s Nayuma. Present in our Mongu meeting when we came from Limulunga were Moreba, BFM and Linyungandambo. In that meeting, it was resolved that a liaison committee representing the said formations be set up in order to create a better and effective way of communication so that we could present a united stand on demanding issues regarding the struggle.
However, the primary objective of the committee was to see to it that the Barotse National Council (BNC) conference that would decide Barotseland’s future with regard to Zambia was held before kuomboka 2012. Mistrust among some delegates was evident. This was largely due to the arrogance of some MOREBA leaders who, in the past, had proved to be unfriendly and untrustworthy where working together with other activists was concerned. These known individuals had a tendency of hijacking and capitalizing on collective initiatives and then sidelining individuals they simply felt uncomfortable to work with. One example of this characteristic is what played out in the kuta prior to handing the Sata meeting report to the Litunga. MOREBA members had behaved as though they had been the only activist group who had met the former Zambian president. Yet that meeting was necessitated by BFM and Linyungandambo efforts; ironically the same efforts which MOREBA had publicly denounced months earlier when our people were being shot and brutalized by the Zambians. However, for unity and progress sake, representatives of the former two movements ended up adopting the MOREBA written report since our main difference had only been on the authorship of the report. This was what led us to think of an alliance going forward. After all, we were not absolutely sure that the BNC conference was going to be convened at all since it had already been postponed several times. We also could not be sure of its outcome if held, given the Barotse Royal Establishment’s known track record of lack of will and capacity to make progressive follow up on past BNC resolutions. Under those real circumstances then, an alliance was vital. One thing we were certain of concerning the BNC this time around was that history was going to be made either way. Mr, Sata had squarely blamed the Litunga for lack of meaningful progress on the Barotseland impasse and we had told His Majesty so. The Litunga had taken this as an unjust attack on his person and we were sure that he was determined to put things right. He even hinted at the likelihood of holding a more joyful 2012 kuomboka ceremony, which gave us a glimmer of hope that the BNC was going to sit before our premier ceremony.
BNC RESOLUTION CANCELLED ANY NEED FOR AN ALLIANCE GROUP
The Barotse National Council, Barotseland’s highest policy making body, was finally convened on the 26th and 27th March 2012. At its conclusion, it unanimously resolved to finally and officially ratify Zambia’s unilateral cancellation of the Barotseland Agreement 1964. The BNC further declared Barotseland free of Zambia. This resolve had certainly cancelled any further need for a Barotse activists’ alliance movement. Only what would be a Barotseland Government was supposed to take the responsibility of disengagement with Zambia. Ironically, the BNC did not specify the makeup of such a government as long as it was to represent the Barotse people and pursue the BNC Resolution.
When the Royal Barotseland Government (RBG) was first set up, soon after the September 20th 2011 Zambian presidential elections, I was one of those who had criticized its make up then although l found no fault with its being formed. I was against the idea of such an important institution of national interest being made up of a single Barotse activist group. This could have been due to my ignorance at the time. However, after the March 2012 BNC, the relevance of such a government became even much clearer and more meaningful. A dangerous and disturbing lull had passed from the serving of a Letter of Dispute to the Zambian Government up until the announcement of Hon. Afumba Mombotwa’s swearing in as head of the RBG. Given what the Sata government had started doing in Barotseland as opposed to intelligently responding directly to the Letter of Dispute, Hon Mombotwa’s move to announce the Barotse government was the only poignant statement to world that Barotseland was indeed determined to move on as declared by the BNC. A dangerous void reminding one of a reggae song that goes, “Now that we found love what are we gonna do with it?” was quickly filled up while power hungry MOREBA leaders, who had passionately submitted in favour of the BA’64 restoration in the Chongwe Commission, pondered their next move. It would appear, today, that these MOREBA individuals were keen on having their BA’64 restoration group wake up to the reality on the ground or risk being overtaken by events in the real sense. Hence their determination to defiantly go ahead with the formation of an unnecessary BNFA.
THE BNFA CAME TO FIGHT AGAINST INCLUSIVE PROGRESS
When Hon Wainyae Sinyinda resigned from being BRE’s prime minister, all because of his solid stand for the implementation of the BNC Resolution, the idea of an alliance was revived by some known MOREBA leaders and the former was quickly sucked into it. These individuals simply wanted to continue with their old and exclusive agenda of clandestinely dealing with BRE in order to discourage or derail real progress brought about by the RBG. This was at a time when the Zambian Government was busy building an alibi to kill more Barotse nationals under the guise of military exercises in Barotseland. The MOREBA leaders could have simply approached the RBG and find out ways by which this vital Barotse organ of governance could be strengthened. However, pride, selfishness and bitterness carried the day as they elected to go ahead and form what is, in relations to the BNC Resolution, virtually confusion. Due to its powerful and yet clandestine support base, the BNFA managed to hijack some initiatives taken by BFM, i.e. the application to Unrepresented Nations and Peoples’ Organization (UNPO) and tried to block all efforts done by the RBG. The trip to Belgium for the application to Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is only one example. BNFA has now further gone ahead to having the well founded and well supported Barotseland Royal Government deregistered with UNPO at a time when one of the requirements needed for a nation to be recognized as such is the existence of an organized government. One is left to wonder as to what BNFA is really up to. Ironically, MOREBA died a natural death as soon as BNFA came into prominence and we have never heard of it since, unless if it will be in reaction to this article.
BNFA A DIVISIVE FACTOR
Given the spirit and behavior of some BNFA leaders, one is left with only acknowledging that this group is not for the unity of Barotseland. Consequently, the independence of Barotseland risks finding itself in the same confusion and shame South Sudan is in today. Most of South Sudan’s present problems were actually created before its birth. One of them is the mysterious death of Dr John Garang.
We shall never stand by and allow those among us who, in the past, had vehemently opposed our independence rule us, either in transition form or as a result of general elections. We have lost a lot of able comrades. Currently, some of the sons of the soil are languishing in Zambian prisons while the BNFA keeps on undermining our hard earned declaration of independence. Let the house negroes go back to their masters in Lusaka and leave us alone in our squeaking sands, flood plains and rice fields. Barotseland is free and we shall not look back on that fact regardless of the undeniable and currently existing but temporal association with Zambia. On the other hand, Zambia has no moral right to ill-treat us in any way (economically, socially, etc) while they still occupy our land. Any persecution over our independence only confirms the resolve we have taken.
In the interest of Barotseland’s peace and unity, it will be wise for the BNFA to disband or exist as the reformed MOREBA that it actually is. The UNPO and other international organization need to note this and take it seriously if at all they genuinely want to help the people of Barotseland. Dealing with the BNFA is, in reality dealing with an independent Barotse activist group which, despite its achievements, does not stand for the unity of other Barotse activist groups. Only those who are not interested in the peace, unity and prosperity of an independent Barotseland would recognize and support such a divisive group.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has published in its final report on media freedom violations around the world, in which they condemned the Michael Chilufya Sata led Zambian government as thus;
Promises of a freer media environment by the Patriotic Front, which won election in 2011 after a campaign that pledged greater broadcast media freedom and a law promoting access to information, had yet to be fulfilled by late 2013. Journalists operated cautiously lest they fell afoul of thin-skinned authorities, and staff members at state-owned publications risked early retirement or redeployment into bureaucratic jobs for not toeing the party line. At least five journalists faced criminal charges in 2013; all of them had reported critically on the government. The newly established Independent Broadcasting Authority awarded private broadcast licenses, but its independence was questioned when President Michael Sata revoked certain licenses. Of the country’s three major newspapers, two were state-controlled and the Post, once highly regarded for its independence, supported the ruling party in 2013, leaving few outlets where journalists could report freely. The government targeted at least three critical websites over the year, forcing one of them to repeatedly move servers--a virtual game of cat-and-mouse.
Zambian authorities cracked down on critical publications in 2013.
In an effort to stifle criticism, the government blocked news websites that documented government corruption, and journalists faced a series of charges.
The government blocks access to Zambian Watchdog, a news website that has published critical stories on the ruling Patriotic Front party. Weeks later, the authorities search the homes of two journalists, Thomas Zyambo and Clayson Hamasaka, and briefly detain them, accusing them of being linked to the website. Both journalists are released, but Zyambo is charged with sedition and Hamasaka with possession of obscene material.
A game of cat-and-mouse follows as the Zambian Watchdog moves to another server, but in mid-July authorities block that, too. A third journalist, Wilson Pondamali, is detained, accused of being linked to the site, and is later released. The site moves again, making use of proxies. Late in the year it was still accessible.
The Zambian Watchdog remained blocked inside Zambia in late 2013.
Authorities block access to Zambia Reports, an online publication that has been critical of the government. The staff sends a letter to the government, asking why the site has been blocked, but receives no reply. In August 2013, access to the site is restored.
The government briefly blocks domestic access to the online publication Barotse Post, and the online radio station Radio Barotse in western Zambia, both of which advocate a separate Barotse state. Barotseland separatists argue that at the time of Zambian independence in 1964, they, too, were promised independence, but that successive governments have reneged on this pledge.
The entire report can be found here: https://www.cpj.org/2014/02/attacks-on-the-press-in-2013-zambia.php#more