Editor General, Barotseland Post
TODAY, 3RD FEBRUARY 2015 witnesses the 110th anniversary of the birth of Mbikusita Lewanika, the Founding President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress and King of Barotseland. And, by the way, he was an unsurpassed Barotse African traditional paddler, drummer and dancer, before kingship inhibited him.
MBIKUSITA LEWANIKA was a Prince, by occurrence of birth at Lealui, on 3 February 1905. He was enthroned as King of Barotseland at Lealui, according to centuries-old tradition at Lealui, on 15 December 1968. He had died at Lewanika General Hospital of Mongu-Lealui, on 7 February 1977. He was buried as per tradition for a Barotse King, on 11 February 1977. However, contrary to uninformed perceptions and popular presumption, the royalty factor in his life has been more often a spear thrusting into his flesh. His distinguishing life service factor is that he lived and worked with this spear eternally injuring his every service endeavour and constantly obstructing every step paving people’s way forward. His life was a stipple jump race over spikes of hindrances at every turn, rather than being born with a silver spoon in his mouth, as some imagine of Royalty. The events and circumstances of Mbikusita Lewanika’s royal birth and kingship is not of substantive concern. The unremarkable factor of being a prince or being enthroned and buried as a king is not a distinction. History records are full of unworthy princes and kings and full of worthy persons of regal associations.
THE LIFE SERVICE OF MBIKUISTA LEWANIKA IS OF NOTE, in the context that an earlier generation of Western educated African natives, born around the turn of the 20th century, founded African freedom movements, thus sowing the seeds of independence. They had intensive upbringing in, and life time unbroken linkages to, African traditional leadership, to whose values, culture and governance they were positively predisposed at pre-colonial formation level. They made effort to acquire and understand what they could from Western education, Christianity, modernisation and governance systems at conglomerate colony level. They embraced this duality comfortably, but with determination to retain and recover traditional Africa and its lost autonomy, while steadily mastering and taking charge of new skills, operations and institutions of European colonialism. They strived to reach a happy medium outcome combining the best of European modernity and even democracy, while preserving what is anchoring and pleasing from traditional Africa, where possible and positive. Members of this generation were pathfinders, long distance runners and cautious petitioners for African sovereignty. Of these, John Langalibelele Dube (11 February 1871 - 11 February 1946) of South Africa and the Zulu Kingdom and Dr. Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah (December 1895 – 4 February 1965) of the Gold Coast and the Ashate Kingdom, among others, correspond to Mbikusita Lewanika (3 February 1905 – 7 February 1977) of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland, all of them deserve full and positive recognition as planter of Africa’s trees of independence.
MBIKUSITA LEWANIKA’s life start with the distinction of having overcome the perils of being tossed about as an infant and out growing mal-adjustment in early school years at Luatile School. Thereafter, it is distinguished further as he became a good academic performer at the Barotse National School and, through his own stubborn insistence, he managed to get a South African Lovedale College education. He followed this by taking an independent minded path leading to becoming Founder Secretary of the Livingstone African Welfare Association in 1929, at the age of 24.
In the 1930s, in his youth, he was a principal participant at the Kafue first attempt to found an African National Congress north of the Zambezi, served as Private Secretary of the King of Barotseland, wrote the first full length English language book by a native in his part of Africa and embarked on translation of the Bible into SiLozi and the classic Pilgrim’s Progress.
In the 1940’s, he refused to be destroyed or incapacitated by the astounding shock banishment from the summit of the capital of Barotseland on bogus and malevolent charges. He marshaled the strength of mind to move on to another world and different life at Nkana-Kitwe, which did not depend on royalty. From a prince, he became a proletariat, owning no functional means of production but selling his services to capitalist for wages. He labored, for twenty years, as Senior African Clerk, Senior Welfare Officer, Personnel and Public Relations officer for an Anglo-American Corporation copper mine. At the same time, he became a leader of his fellow African proletariats, and served in a voluntary capacity as Founder President of the Kitwe African Society, proposer of the formation of the Northern Rhodesia Federation of African Welfare Association, pioneer promoter of trade unionism and Founder President-General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress. Not only this, he also took wrote several other books and publishing newspaper and magazine articles, in Africa and overseas, in addition to man voluntary civic services for Africans, when there were few people available to do so.
In the 1950, in one of his many firsts, as President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress, he met Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and consummated what has become the Indo-Zambia bilateral relationship at state and people levels. He initiate programmes for sending young future leaders for overseas higher education, at least three of who were to be in the first post colonial Cabinet of Ministers. He followed this by becoming the first and only African from Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland (and even Zambia since) to address a meeting attended by Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, at Westminster, in London – he spoke against the proposal to establish the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. He also corresponded with Kwame Nkrumah, in the run up to, and after his appointment as Prime Minister of the Gold Coast (Ghana) and met with leading African nationalist leaders in Kenya, including Mbiyu Koinange and Jomo Kenyatta, hence, pioneering cross border consultation and cooperation among leaders of the African freedom movement.
During the rest of the 1950’s he was Founder President of the Mines African Staff Association, a student at the University College of Wales at Swansea, a Member of Parliament of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and a facilitator for domestic and foreign higher education for hundred of Zambians and Barotse individuals, both men and women. In the 1960’s, he as a Parliamentary Secretary in Ministry of External Affair of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland; undertook a couple of years post retirement job in the personnel department of Wankie (Hwange) Collieries; and engaged in some Limulunga village and Wusakile Township retail trading business to finance his children’s education and make an independent living, in an unfriendly post-colonial environment. As if to complete the circle and bring closure to his life, three decades after expulsion from the capital of Barotseland, he has resurface and returned to be enthroned as King of Barotseland, in December 1968.
Despite all this, Mbikusita Lewanika is a victim of a cultivated campaign of history denial, which is motivated by three intentions. The first is the urge to justify the propaganda that architects and heroes of African independence are only those who inherited the button on the last stretch of the relay race to new African nation-statehood, who are actually harvesters and not planters of independence. The second is to avoid any challenge to the established denigrated portrayal and, sometimes, double standard condemnation, of the earlier generation of political leaders representing a different approach to independence and governance. The third is justify the decolonisation dispensation that retained both the colonial geographical and governance legacy, while effectively preventing the return power to the African governments and peoples from whom European colonialism took it. In effect, it obstructs minds and actions of Africans from reviewing and reconstituting the independence dispensation. This is unacceptable, because independence has failed to liberate Africa and Africans from vestiges of European colonialism and to set it unto the path of truly independent, effective sovereignty and human dignity. This lack of factual and well digested history hides and causes problems.
Distorting history poses problems for the present and is a fundamental stumbling block for Africa’s future. It erases and misrepresents contributions of those who planted African independence. It negates opportunities of establishing internal inclusiveness and consensus in the formation of the externally designed new African nation-states. It discourages consideration of optional paths towards overcoming impediments to political advancement, economic development and social liberation. Furthermore, it blind leaders and citizens from seeing whatever wisdom and positive guidance that may be in the legacies of the fore-runners of post-colonial leaders. In short, it creates and endorses an incorrect history that misinform and handicap people’s enlightened freedom for the self-determination and sovereignty that is the promise of independence.
In the case of Zambia, it is portrayed as if the freedom movement begins and ends during the last five years before Independence, under the sole leadership of UNIP and its office holders, which is a distortion of history. It like doctoring the Bible by rewriting the Exodus story, with all credit to Joshua and none to Moses! This topic is being raised now, in the light of unfolding anniversary cerebrations highlight and ignore selected parts of history with consistent partiality. The year 2017 marks the 40th Anniversary of the passing away of Mbikusita Lewanika. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the demise of his father, King Lewanika the First of Barotseland. 2015 shall witness the 110th anniversary of his birth, while 2014 witnesses the 50th joint-anniversary of his labours’ fruits, which are Zambia’s Independence and the Barotseland Agreement 1964, which provided for Barotseland to be an integral part of Zambia after independence.
In reflecting upon these anniversaries, it is instructive that the subject personality is Mbikusita Lewanika is founding President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress from 1948 to 1951. He reigned as the last son of King Lewanika the First to seat on the throne of Barotseland, from 1968 to 1977. His place in history has been denied and distorted, for personal, partisan and sectarian reasons. He has a record of outstanding broad, varied and pioneering public service, from 1929 to 1977. The history and essence of the establishment and independence of Zambia is incomplete, unbalanced and unintelligible, in fact unacceptable, without appreciation and taking positive account of the life service of maligned figures, such as Mbikusita Lewanika. This is part of Zambia’s undoing through personal, partisan and sectarian history denial and distortion. It may be too late to say it, now - BUT THE WRITING HAS BEEN IGNORED ON THE WALL FOR FIFTY YEARS!
This is a comment on the reported Zambian President’s agreement to “grant referendum” to the people of Barotseland in order to resolve the “thorny Barotseland Agreement issue” and that such a referendum “will be a vote to decide either to secede or remain with other provinces in Zambia” (Zambian Watchdog, January 30, 2015).
I assume that the President was correctly reported, and wish to comment as follows:
1.0 The fact that these reported remarks were made in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, shows that Zambia’s incessant violations of the rights and privileges of the people of Barotseland, as enshrined in the Barotseland Agreement 1964 (BA’64), are now in the international public domain – and the matter can no longer be swept under the Zambian government’s blood-stained rug. I am pleased about this and know that, after being vilified for many years, those of us who have been educating the public about this scandalous injustice will soon be vindicated.
2.0 It is both disappointing and embarrassing that the Zambian President, as a supposed learned lawyer, does not understand that by terminating the BA’64, by way of the Constitution Amendment Act No 5 of 1969, the status of the Republic of Zambia as a Unitary State was also simultaneously terminated – with the consequent result that, as from the effective date of this amendment, the two constituent parts of the unitary state as consummated in 1964 (i.e. Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia, respectively) legally became free of each other. Zambia’s interpretation that the termination of the BA’64 meant that they could now govern and administer Barotseland, whether she liked it or not, is fallacious and a show of complete disrespect for the people of Barotseland. This is why the people of Barotseland have petitioned the Zambian government to appear before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague to argue their case in holding on to this interpretation and occupying Barotseland militarily and otherwise. We have interpreted the Zambian government’s refusal to appear before the PCA, as an admission of guilt. So, the people of Barotseland do not want to expend further energy and time going on a tangent trying to solve the wrong problem. The correct problems that need urgent attention are contained in the official letter of dispute written to the Zambian government on May 14, 2012 (reproduced below), and not taking us back to 1969 and asking us whether or not Barotseland should “secede or remain with other provinces in Zambia”. This matter was decided unilaterally by the Zambian government through the Constitution Amendment Act No 5 of 1969, as already explained – so, the question of a referendum, today, is totally irrelevant, too-little-too-late, ill-informed and mischievous. We have no interest going back to 1969 to correct the mistake which the Zambian government made, and which has since left us as Zambia’s slaves. We even wonder who requested the President for a referendum on the matter, for him to “grant” it; certainly, that could only have been someone who is equally ignorant about, or is in complete denial of, the current correct status of Barotseland as a free nation which has only been prevented from actualising her self-rule by the unwelcome enslavement and continued military occupation of the territory by Zambia. Could there be a sinister motive for the President’s wishful thinking about a referendum – such as a proclivity (i.e. an appetite) to rigging it? Thank goodness, a referendum is irrelevant in the circumstances!
3.0 Zambia’s brand new President should also be advised to refrain from referring to Barotseland as a Province. Barotseland did not enter into the union with Northern Rhodesia as a Province; she entered into that union as an equal partner to Northern Rhodesia – with a Head of State – the Litunga, whose signature on the BA’64 was equal in weight and essence to that of Mr. Kenneth Kaunda. We challenge the Zambian President to produce documents that show that the people of Barotseland ever agreed to the status of Barotseland being downgraded to that of a Province. Without such evidence, we wish to advise that when the Zambian President travels to Barotseland, as he has promised, he should do so knowing full well that he is going to meet with another Head of State, like himself. One of the reasons why successive Zambian governments have not made progress on the matter of the BA’64 is precisely this. They think that because they unilaterally introduced legislation in their parliament to devalue and diminish the status of the Litunga, as well as name Barotseland a Province, that things actually changed on the ground. On the contrary, all these clandestine machinations meant nothing to the status of the Litunga; neither did they affect the relationship between the Litunga and his people, or our conception of what Barotseland really is. We still revere the Litunga as our Head of State, first and foremost – and we know Barotseland to be a nation state. So, please, don’t travel to Barotseland with the attitude and mentality that you’re simply visiting a province of this imaginary, make-believe unitary state called Zambia (which actually died in 1969). The Litunga is a Head of State – and you ignore this fact at your own peril because if you do not follow the right procedures you may not even see him. The President is further advised to go to Mungu by road so that he can experience first-hand the potholes and craters on the road in that part of the country they love most – i.e. the Nkoya country.
4.0 The newly inaugurated Zambian President also needs to know that Barotseland has never been a unitary state made up of numerous independent tribal entities, as he seems to think from his reference to certain “tribes”, as if they were independent of Barotseland. Barotseland has always been a monolithic nation state, the main characteristic of which is that it is indivisible. So, the President should refrain from introducing tribalism in Barotseland.
5.0 I am also disappointed that the President has chosen to ignore the fact that on May 14, 2012, the Zambian government received an official letter concerning Barotseland’s disengagement from Zambia. (The letter can be found here: http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/bre_letter_of_dispute_with_zambia.pdf)
Thus, if Zambia’s new President wishes to have the Barotseland issue resolved permanently, he should work with the people of Barotseland (not unilaterally) and set up a “Working Group” to address issues pertaining to Barotseland’s total disengagement from Zambia. This is where the people of Barotseland are with this matter – not at the point of being subjected to a meaningless referendum.
6.0 I trust that these comments and free advice will assist the Zambian President take appropriate actions and undertake meaningful consultations on this matter, going forward. Democracy requires that leaders respect the wishes of the people. The above letter to the Zambian government expresses the wishes of the people of Barotseland. The process that led to the Barotse National Council resolutions referred to in the Ngambela’s letter was more democratic than a referendum. Let us not move in circles, the people have spoken.
Incarcerated Barotseland Administrator General, Hon. Afumba Mombotwa and other three co-accused members of the Barotseland provisional government have indicated their position regarding government of Zambia's committal of their trumped up case to Kabwe high court. In a letter addressed to Zambia’s commissioner of prisons, the four Barotseland officials have categorically stated that they will not appear before any Zambian court pending advise from Barotseland international lawyers. They have also argued that they are political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.The letter was written and delivered to the prison authority, and also copied to The Litunga King of Barotseland as well as the entire nation of Barotseland.
They are charged on the account that on unknown date but between March 1, 2012 and August 20, 2013 while in Sioma district the four, Hon. Afumba Mombotwa, Hon. Kalima Inambao, Hon. Pelekelo Kalima and Hon. Paul Masiye jointly acting together with unknown people conspired to secede "Western Province" (Barotseland) from the rest of Zambia. On 26th January 2015, the Mwembeshi magistrate court ruled that their case be committed to Kabwe High court for commencement of trial, having been in maximum incarceration since the 5th of December 2014.
Here below is a copy reproduced for public records only.
27th January 2015
The Commissioner of Prisons
Zambia Prison Service
Mr. Percy Chato
Mwembeshi Maximum Security Prison.
REF: OUR POSITION
As political prisoners and prisoners of conscience we have taken a stand not to appear before any Zambian court but rather remain in Mwembeshi Maximum Prison, at the pleasure of the police until our international lawyers on the issue between Barotseland and Zambia advise.
The reason being that the Barotzish and Zambian police operate on two different concepts which are far apart.
The Barotzish operate on the principle of law and justice while the Zambian police and Zambians operate on the principle of coercion and forced assimilation.
Justice does not allow Zambia to determine her own course, to be precise;
1. Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) signed a treaty with Barotseland
2. Zambia terminated the Agreement (treaty)
3. Zambia enacted draconian laws with intent to deprive us our rights.
The current state of affairs is that:
Zambia is the complainant and the aggrieved.
Zambia is the one arresting, killing, persecuting and adjudicating over her misdeeds.
Our understanding is that ‘a state that entered into a treaty cannot invoke her internal laws as justification for violating the treaty viz laws of treaties.
We believe there is no law that we transgress by remaining in jail until we have recourse to a neutral international court on the issue of Barotseland.
Prisoners of conscience.
CC. His Majesty the Litunga of Barotseland
Barotseland here we are at it again, the sixth Zambian republican president appearing so innocent soft but cunning, fashioned in strategic hate, wickedness is his desire, nothing hopeful for the children of Barotseland.
So dangerous is his strategy to harm and silence Barotseland forever. Look at the three strategies he plans to employ this time;
1. His hate desire to call for referendum is to apply the same rigging strategies he used to ascend to his throne…. So; rigging strategy….
2. Separate Barotseland on tribal lines by supporting the Nkoya brothers to feel marginalized by the rest and revolt against Barotseland…. So; Nkoya conflict-separation strategy….
3. Creating a wide boarder of Barotseland to mask the opinion of the true Rotse ….. So; wide voter strategy…..
As noted and resounded by most Barotseland intellectuals, we are way beyond referendum and not necessary. The BNC Limulunga declaration should be responded to not fooling us and think we can be excited… NEVER! …..The Rodger Chongwe commission of inquiry to be released, nothing more…. First in first out.
First, Barotseland should move fast and ahead to legally and intelligently seal all the gaps of suspected strategies to weaken the struggle. All I know is that the Litunga has declared his support over this issue through the Kuta. Therefore, THE LITUNGA, KING OF BAROTSELAND, THE BRE AND THE KUTA, BNFA and LINYUNGANDAMBO should be seen to be ONE with one voice and only one spokesperson …. It is war and needs to be managed well… this time around.
Second, THE GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBIA SHOULD UNCONDITIONALLY RELEASE ALL THOSE ARRESTED OVER THE BAROTSELAND FREEDOM.
Third, the people of Barotseland should all understand that the declaration for our independence was done and the Zambian Government decided not to respond to it.
Fourth, all the Barotseland activists and Barotseland people should guard themselves against saleouts and those who want to pretend to be on our side yet not. The call for separation of north western, southern provinces together with Barotseland should not blind our mission already attained.
Finally, this is just the same devil putting on a different small jacket. It’s time to pray.
BULOZI KI NAHA SHANGWE!!!!
The recent suggestion, by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to hold a referendum over the Barotseland issue is not only laughable but also embarrassing to every Zambian who loves his country and knows its fifty years history. Such a move will not only be unrealistic in Barotseland’s case but also unjustifiable due to several undeniable factors which can only be ignored by someone out rightly ignorant about the relevance of a referendum, let alone its meaning. As such, we reject the idea with due respect while understanding the mentality of those outside Barotseland who may be in its favour.
Seemingly, the Honourable President may not be aware that a referendum over the same issue actually took place in 1969. Below are some of the reasons why such an exercise may even be termed a plot from the very pit of hell. Before going any further, it is worthwhile to point out that it is an accepted view that, from the very beginning, the Zambian government never committed itself to honor the Barotseland Agreement 1964. This is proved by the deliberate enactment, from 1965 leading to 1969, of several legislations which were in direct breach of the BA ’64.
The 1969 Referendum
In 1969, after having deliberately destroyed the Barotse Native Government in its bid to completely absorb the Barotse nation, the Zambian government of the day decided to organize a national referendum from which it hoped to legalize its illegal complete takeover of Barotseland. That referendum (commonly called, “lifu la ndambo” in Lozi – directly translated as the death of a neighbour ) was subjected to the entire Zambian populace of the time. Majority of people in Barotseland had voted against joining Zambia while basically all non Barotse voted otherwise. The outcome was obvious; and based on that, the Zambian government decided to unilaterally terminate the BA’64 and renamed what they were already maliciously referring to as “Barotse Province”, “Western Province”. The original Western Province was subsequently renamed “Copper Belt Province”.
Any sensible person would have known that this was not only unjust but also day light robbery. There was no way that the population of Barotseland would have been anywhere near the population of the rest of Zambia in number. It was going to be understood to some extent had the referendum been conducted only in Barotseland as was the case in Quebec, Scotland and Cataluña in Spain. Besides that, a referendum on Barotseland was still wrong in that Barotseland only got associated with Zambia via an international treaty which the latter decided to unilaterally terminate.
Following the resounding “No” vote in Barotseland in the 1969 referendum, the Zambian government realized that its trick had been unmasked as some Barotse kept on calling for the honouring of the Agreement despite the referendum’s outcome. The Kaunda regime then hatched another diabolical plan of populating Barotseland with non Barotse under the guise of one Zambia one nation. Some indigenous Barotse, particularly the skilled and learned ones, where transferred to the eastern region while Barotseland was flooded with dull non Barotse; so dull that they could not even learn Lozi. On the contrary, the Barotse who went elsewhere were forced to learn local languages since the tribes they found could, for obvious reasons, hardly understand English.
The other purpose for this exercise was to create a division among Barotse nation consisting of Nkoyas, Mbundas, Luvales, Luyanas, etc. It was also in order to cause insubordination to the Litunga and senior chiefs like Senior Chief Ilukena in Mankoya or Luena. The very name change of Mankoya to Kaoma was in line with this brain wash.
Furthermore, all refugees from Angola and the Great Lakes area who refused to be relocated back to their native countries were naturalized as Zambians and resettled in Barotse territory. This was done to even those refugees who had been previously kept in places like Luapula. The idea was to corrupt our culture and customs since these resettled refugees felt indebted to the Zambians and would only want to communicate in languages foreign to Barotseland. The Radio Liseli non Lozi songs and programs issue is only another example. A financial support scheme was set up under the same guise of resettlement in order to economically empower naturalized refugees at the expense of the locals. This deliberate tempering with our demographics was done with a future localized referendum in mind when the majority will look negatively at anything to do with the Barotse nation outside Zambia.
The legality of Zambia’s Claim on Barotseland
Barotseland was never originally an integral part of Northern Rhodesia but only became associated with Zambia based on a legal document called the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. When this international treaty was breached by the Zambians, Barotseland was legally free to go it alone. However, our people wanted to do so in a peaceful manner, yet while nursing the possibility of reversing the unilateral abrogation. Barotseland finally accepted the termination on 27th March 2012. However, our previous calls for the restoration of a treaty that never saw the light of day was read as weakness on our part. The Zambians mistook our diplomacy as acknowledgement of our helpless “unity” with them.
One may understand calls for a referendum in a situation where the Agreement was being honored and where some people felt that such a legal co-existence alone was no longer enough. Ours is a situation where one party deliberately decided to get out of the Agreement. Surely the party that is left does not need a referendum to determine whether it is still part of the separated part or not. Zambia left us alone and we must fend for ourselves. This is exactly what the March 2012 Barotse National Council decided to address. There cannot be a Parallel Tabulated Votes (PTV) on that.
We are glad that finally President Lungu has understood the seriousness of the Barotseland issue and our determination to stand on the BNC Resolutions. It is also gratifying to learn that the honourable Zambian President, like his predecessor, also acknowledges the position Barotse activists hold on this matter. We, therefore, take this opportunity to remind His Excellency that whatever talks he hopes to hold with us will not be fruitful while the key players in the matter are still in Zambian prisons. We call upon him to unconditionally release Hon Afumba Mombotwa and the rest Barotse activists in the interest of peace. Their continued incarceration does not help anyone and as such, only makes the bad situation the Zambian Government is in worse. We already passed the time for a referendum in 1969. Now is a time for peaceful disengagement or else the Zambian Government must file its opposition to our independence claim at the International Court of Justice. Mr. Lungu has only a year to act wisely on this issue. As a lawyer himself, he surely cannot handle our justified claim unwisely.
"Luyanas are descendants of Mwambwa while Nkoyas are descendants of Ñoya. Mwabwa and Ñoya were blood sisters, both daughters of the same mother, Noshaa"
I would like to shed light on the genesis of the Nkoya tribal group of Barotseland, in order to disprove the innuendo being peddled that certain tribal extractions are under subjugation of other tribal groupings in Barotseland. This incorrect assumption is being engineered by political stewards who are our brothers and sisters from the group that professes to be of the "Nkoya" extraction which claims not to belong to Lozi nationality. They have argued that Nkoyas are not part of the Barotse-speaking people. According to a Nkoya traditionalist, Robert Litungu.
It is better to explain this issue because the matter is being exaggerated and fueled by forces outside Barotseland who are Zambian politicians aiming at bringing division among the diversified ethnic groupings of Royal Barotseland Kingdom. It is therefore, proper to discuss this matter honestly in order to remove the unnecessary innuendos on this argument. To start with, let us examine who the "Nkoya" people are?
It is stated that the "Nkoya" people are descendants of Sioka Nalinanga and that this argument is not carried forward beyond this level. If you go further, though, you will see that Sioka Nalinanga is a descendant of Ñoya sister of Mwambwa the Luyana founder.
The fact is that the name "Nkoya" was adulterated from the name Ñoya who was a sister to Mwambwa and both of them being daughters of Noshaa.
On the occasion of the death of their mother while residing along the "Loi" River in the present day Congo DR, the first dispersal took place which saw the moving away of notables like Inyunyi, Mbukushu, Yutoya, Ngambwa, Imanga, Kayawe, Nyimbwamoyo, Mbakala and many, many more. The dispersal was ignited by the desire to change leadership from women to men and that there were problems of disposal of the chattels of the departed leader (their mother Noshaa). Notables, among others, like Isimwaa had resisted the idea to replace the leadership from women to men. Following this episode, the first group went away leaving others including Mwambwa and Ñoya with their children.
After sometime, the group decided to take a similar movement which brought them to the present settlement of "Ului" which was derived from the name "Loi" River in present day Congo DR.
While on the trek, incidentally, they found or stumbled on Yutoya while others had gone in different directions, which were later located. During this time, Mwambwa was the leader who was supported by Ñoya and the other people. Ñoya had daughters by the names of Nalinanga and Nolea who later had sons by the name of Sioka and Imatakwana who later became famous and got known as Mange.
Sioka, being a nobleman, was given responsibility to look after the royal regalia during the reign of Mwambwa. In the meantime, Ñoya had moved to settle in a land which became known as Ñoya which is sandwiched between Mwito under Induna (chief) Mayankwa in Lukulu district, Luambuwa under Induna (chief) Kabilamwandi in Kaoma district while the other side is in the area of Sikusi under Induna ( chief) Iloke and Luena / Sitoya under Induna (chief) Sibetta in Mungu district respectively.
The land of Ñoya is eulogized by people who truly confess to be members of the Ñoya stock. As to the position of Sioka, true members of the Ñoya stock, will say:-
" Ami Kankoya ka Shihoka Nalinanga, bantu ba tula mikabo baka kulya nshima kuanga. Ba Mununga, ba nungile mpanda mwilu", meaning, “I am a Nkoya of the line of Sioka Nalinanga, one who eats nshima having climbed a tree".
The differences between the Nkoya people and the rest of Barotse tribes does not arise and is a non issue which should not be politicized. The insinuation of this matter is too dangerous to Barotseland and Zambia as a whole. The BRE is more democratic than the Zambian government. The Zambian government is democratic in theory, but for the past 50 years has marginalized and abused power. Kenneth Kaunda Zambia's first president was a semi-dictator under one party participatory democracy, whatever that means?
Before Zambia’s independence in 1964, the people in Barotseland were voting their Legislative council in power, representing their constituencies. The Litunga does not rule by decree or creed. There is no force.
Also note that the Litunga does not speak. This is how decisions are made and not by the Litunga.
There are three chambers in the Kuta, Bana Ba Malena, Commoners and the Indunas. This is how Barotse Royal Establishment is composed of. Also it is good to note that all tribes in Barotseland are in the governance systems of Barotse Royal Authority (BRA) or Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) according to Zambian imposition.
The BRA is not intending to go back to the days of slavery and enslave Nkoyas.
As a matter of fact, Litunga was the first African leader to end slavery. The name Litunga ‘Mulambwa’ signifies people should stop slavery but buy and sell dogs instead. This was way back in 1830. Lewanika upheld anti- slavery tendencies.
To add a bit on the relationship between the Luyis’ and the Nkoyas’, Mankoya/Kaoma had also been invaded and subjected to Makololo rule and was only reclaimed by the Luyi impis who wiped out the Makololos.
Makololos are the ones who imposed Lozi language across Barotseland and Mankoya had equally been headed by the Makololo, just like all other ethnic groupings of Barotseland.
This, therefore, should surely explain the connection between Mankoya and the rest of the people of Barotseland. As explained from the historical narration, the Nkoya people are from the root of Ñoya who was a blood sister to Mwambwa, therefore, the children of them are relatives of the same stock.
Finally, the Nkoya people should not violate historical and ethical codes of professional decency, thereby, being untrue to the History of their genesis in Barotseland by allowing themselves to be used by politicians with historical theory mixed with errors and polluted with political propaganda.
Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu.
Research by Saleya Kwalombota