The Zambian President’s remarks on arrival in Mongu on Monday have not gone well with many Barotseland independence advocates who are now warning Mr Lungu to desist from deliberately provoking the peaceful people of Barotseland through such remarks they consider reckless and insensitive.
President Edgar Lungu, who was in the region on Monday and Tuesday for electioneering and party mobilization, veiled as an official working visit, declared on arrival that he had come to the territory to show and prove that the region, whether called Western Province or Barotseland, would forever be a part of Zambia, in apparent challenge to all those advocating either the change of name for the region to Barotseland or the total independence of the territory.
The political prisoner, imprisoned by the Zambian State for his political views on Barotseland, Afumba Mombotwa, has commended all Barotseland independence advocates for their firm decision to boycott the Barotse Dialogue Council set up by the Government of Zambia, in conjunction with their operatives in the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE), which he said was only aimed at reversing the unanimous Barotseland independence declaration of the 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC).
And Mr Mombotwa has warned that the Zambian government merely wants to create a false impression that the people of Barotseland no longer want independence by creating a deceitful platform which will rubber-stamp a predetermined outcome that will contradict the 2012 Barotse National Council resolutions which unanimously decided for the total independence of Barotseland from Zambia.
He has warned that those who think attending the bogus Barotse Dialogue Council would provide them with the opportunity to speak in favour of Barotseland independence are mistaken because the so-called Barotse Dialogue Council has already concluded its agenda for the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 instead of promoting the 2012 Barotse National Council resolutions for Barotseland independence.
The Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) have rejected the Barotse Dialogue Council (BDC) proposed to dialogue with the Government of the Republic of Zambia on the possible restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964 which the Zambian state unilaterally abrogated in 1969.
The BNFA, like their Linyungandambo counterparts, have argued that the proposed dialogue council has no mandate from the Barotse National Council (BNC) of 2012 which unanimously resolved that Barotseland should revert to her pre-treaty sovereign status because all repeated appeals to have the abrogated 1964 agreement implemented by successive Zambian governments had proved futile for nearly five decades.
Restoring the defunct agreement, they said, would be a disregard of what was unanimously resolved through the 2012 BNC which overwhelmingly voted for the Kingdom of Barotseland’s sovereign independence from the Republic of Zambia.
A BNFA press statement on the proposed Barotse Dialogue Council categorically stated that they cannot and will not take part in the Barotseland Agreement 1964 negotiations proposed by the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) because there is nothing to negotiate about the 1964 Agreement as insinuated by the BRE press statement of April 16th, 2018.
According to the BNFA, the negotiations were done and concluded before the co-signing of the pre-independence Agreement in 1964 and what should have followed was implementation, but the Zambian regime defaulted and legislated against its obligations.
Barotseland’s main independence movement, the Linyungandambo and the Barotseland National Youth League (BNYL) have refused to be a part of the so-called Barotse Dialogue Council (BDC) which will soon be constituted to dialogue with the Zambian government over the possible restoration of defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964.
And some unconfirmed reports have indicated that both the Mwandi/Sesheke and Kaoma/Naliele Kuta have also resolved not to take part in the illegitimately proposed Dialogue Council because it does not derive its mandate from the people of Barotseland.
In their letter delivered to the Ngambela (Prime Minister of Barotseland) this morning, the Linyungandambo have questioned who had mandated the Saa-Sikalo (Limulunga) Kuta to pursue the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 when the people’s PIZO, the Barotse National Council (BNC), of 2012 had specifically declared the independence of Barotseland and not the perpetuation of Barotseland’s subjugation within Zambia.
“After carefully analysing the invitation, Linyungandambo wishes to make the following observations regarding the proposed Barotse Dialogue Council.
“Firstly, the Barotse Dialogue Council reneges from the spirit of the March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) resolutions.
“The BNC 2012 resolutions do not give an option for the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964, but instead, they call for the total independence of Barotseland.
“BNC Resolution 6 specifically states: ‘The people of Barotseland shall exercise their right to revert Barotseland to her original status as a sovereign nation so that the people of Barotseland shall determine their political, cultural, social and economic development.’ ” read part of the Linyungandambo’s letter to the Ngambela, Mukela Manyando.
A scheme is brewing in which Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF), desperate to remain in power after 2021, now wishes to use the Litunga, King of Barotseland, and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to compel UPND parliamentarians who hail from the Barotse region to vote for the controversial Bill 10 against their party caucus.
All this is on the pretext that the disgraced Bill 10 will facilitate for the restoration of the defunct 1964 Barotseland Agreement through the soon to be convened Barotse Dialogue Council
The disgraced Zambian Constitution Amendment Bill of 2019 (Bill 10) does not have the required two-thirds parliamentary majority support because the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) plans to vote as a caucus and reject it so that, together with their National Democratic Congress (NDC) counterparts and some Independent Parliamentarians, they would render the government Bill dead on its arrival.
However, should a handful of UPND members break away from the UPND party line, the bad bill can pass through to the Second Reading parliamentary stage with the required two-thirds majority vote.
It is this possibility, therefore, that has prompted the PF, through the Presidency, to trick the Litunga and BRE to immediately constitute the so-called Barotse Dialogue Council which will purportedly dialogue with the Zambian government on the stalemate over Barotseland and resolve all outstanding matters concerning the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964.
While the Litunga and BRE are excited at the renewed Zambian State willingness to dialogue over the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964, they are, however, not aware that the PF led Zambian Government merely wishes to use them as pawns in their (PF) battle for survival in the 2021 elections which the party fears it cannot win unless the current constitution amendment process succeeds to give the unpopular PF presidential candidate, with the anticipated minority national vote, the mandate to negotiate with another losing candidate into presidency through the proposed Coalition Clause in Bill 10.
A few days after concluding to engage the Zambian government through dialogue for the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964, the Privy Council is set to reconvene to possibly reconsider its earlier resolutions, a Limulunga source has reported.
The decision to reconvene the Privy Council came barely a day after the extended Privy Council had concluded its sitting with the conditional resolution to engage the Zambian government over the defunct 1964 agreement on Friday, 29th November.
“Yes! The Privy Council had concluded that the Zambian Government be engaged in a dialogue to restore the agreement on the condition that the current Zambian Bill 10 immediately includes a clause for the restoration of the defunct 1964 agreement, however, the Council may now have to reconvene, possibly on the 9th of December, to consider new matters that have arisen since the Council resolution,” the source revealed.
Reportedly, there was panic shortly after the resolutions of the Privy Council when information filtered through to them that the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) of Zambia had made a ruling in favour of embattled Webby Mulubisha contesting the Mwene Mutondo chieftaincy against the long-held cultural procedures of the Kingdom of Barotseland.
Mulubisha, a well-known rebel against the Litunga of Barotseland, using the recent 2016 amended Zambian Constitution, had petitioned the Attorney General of Zambia at the ConCourt asking whether he needed the recognition of the Zambian President to be a Chief.
This was in the matter of Article 1 and 165 of the constitution of Zambia and another related matter of the constitutionality of sections 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the Chiefs Act, Cap.287 of the Laws of Zambia.
However, in passing judgment on 27th November 2019, the ConCourt ruled and declared Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the named Chiefs Act to be inconsistent with the named Article 165 of the Zambian Constitution as amended in 2016, and are, therefore, unconstitutional and void.
The ConCourt further ordered that the sections in question be expunged from the statute book.
Leaked information indicates that the Privy Council is currently deadlocked on Namuso, particularly the Kutas representing the Ngambela and Iñete of Mongu, mooting the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 with the other Kutas opposing the proposal, insisting on honouring and implementing the 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) unanimous resolutions that called for the total independence of Barotseland.
A source close to the events has revealed that the Ngambela’s Kuta and that of Iñete have proposed that a select committee of 125 be drawn from the Lilalo Kuta to convene and edit the 2012 BNC people resolutions so that the resolutions can line-up with the Zambian government proposed dialogue for the restoration of the defunct 1964 agreement rather than the total independence of Barotseland.
The other Kuta, however, have sharply objected to the ‘restoration’ proposal, demanding an explanation on why the people’s unanimous calls for independence can not be honoured.
His Majesty Imwiko II the Litunga, King of Barotseland, has summoned his Privy Council to possibly consider many outstanding issues affecting Barotseland.
The Privy Council meeting to take place in Limulunga royal village until Wednesday, 27th November 2019, is expected to come up with some policy direction concerning the many issues affecting the region, more especially the long outstanding matter of the now-defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964.
In March 2012, King Imwiko II had regularly constituted the supreme Barotse National Council (BNC) which unanimously resolved for Barotseland to peacefully negotiate for total independence from Zambia.
However, seven years later, the King and his Privy Council have not yet facilitated the implementation of the 2012 BNC unanimous resolutions causing a lot of anxiety in both Barotseland and Zambia.
The delay in a policy direction from both the Litunga and his privy council has given rise to a tumultuous relationship between the Litunga and his people on one hand and the Zambian state and the Kingdom on the other.
"I believe I am a free man who should be out of this prison and be with my loved ones, having been pardoned by the Zambian President on Monday!” Afumba Mombotwa.
In an exclusive recorded interview obtained by Barotseland Post earlier today, Mr Afumba Mombotwa (60) has bemoaned his continued incarceration more than two days after the President of Zambia had pardoned him.
And Afumba Mombotwa has urged those reportedly accusing the Litunga, King of Barotseland, of having a hand in his continued stay in prison after his presidential pardon to stop it because presidential pardons are the prerogative of the President.
Meanwhile, Mr Mombotwa believes he is a free man who should be out of the maximum prison facility by now to be with his loved ones, having been pardoned by the Zambian President on Monday, 11th November 2019.
He has, therefore, called his continued incarceration a very serious anomaly that the Zambian president, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, should immediately resolve.
In yet to be explained circumstances, the Barotseland independence leader’s name was expunged from the list of pardoned inmates publicized by both State House and the President on Monday.
When asked by a journalist why the number of names pardoned by the president had reduced from five (5) to four (4) in a subsequent press briefing on Monday, with the notable absence of Mr Afumba Mombotwa’s name, Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo, explained that the list he was presenting was the official list and that any other list circulated or publicised earlier was overruled.
In a bizarre twist of events, Barotseland independence leader Afumba Mombotwa has been expunged from the earlier list of pardoned inmates released by State House earlier this afternoon.
When asked by a journalist why the number of names pardoned has reduced from five (5) to four (4) with the notable absence of Mr Afumba Mombotwa, Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo, announced that the list he was presenting was the official final list and any other list circulated elsewhere was not the official list.
However, both President Edgar Lungu and his Press aide, Isaac Chipampe, this afternoon released a press statement announcing that the President had pardoned five (5) inmates whom they named as:
1. Chief Mulongwe
2. Hon Maxwell Mwale, former Minister in the MMD Government
3. Mr Derrick Sinjela, a Journalist
4. Mr Afumba Mombotwa
5. General Christopher Singogo, Former ZAF Commander
Their statement was not only widely circulated on social media but was also made available to both radio and television stations in the country, including the country’s national broadcaster, ZNBC on their 13:00hrs news bulletins.
As he celebrates his 63rd birthday, Zambian President Edgar Lungu has pardoned five prisoners, among them Barotseland independence leader, Afumba Mombotwa, who was serving fifteen (15) years in maximum prison for taking an oath of office as Barotseland administrator general in his formed Barotseland transitional government in August of 2013 which would facilitate the peaceful and legal implementation of the 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) unanimous resolutions for Barotseland independence from Zambia.
Afumba Mombotwa (60), has been in maximum prison since his arrest on 5th December 2014 with two other Barotseland compatriots and fellow prisoners, Inambao Kalima (59) and Likando Pelekelo (64).
Meanwhile, the fate of Kalima and Pelekelo is yet to be determined.
In a press statement by the Special Assistant to the President (Press and Public Relations) at State House, in Lusaka on Monday, 11th November 2019, to mark Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s 63rd birthday, the President of the Republic of Zambia pardoned the five inmates from various correctional facilities.
Ngambela Mukela Manyando has breathed fire on Zambia’s First Deputy Speaker, Catherine Namugala, calling her not only ignorant but also ‘very dull’ for stating that Barotseland does not exist.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with South Africa government-funded radio, Channel Africa, Barotseland’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Ngambela Mukela Manyando, has wondered how Namugala could state that a nation, so well known throughout the whole world and centuries-old as Barotseland, could suddenly be deemed non-existent.
The Ngambela further advised that Namugala should have researched thoroughly or asked them if she wanted to know more about Barotseland.
And Mukela Manyando has warned that Namugala’s parliamentary outbursts must be interpreted as a saddening provocation of the peaceful co-existence currently enjoyed in the unitary state of Zambia.
The Ngambela has sadly observed that Namugala’s statement also means that the Zambian state will no longer recognize His Majesty the Litunga’s jurisdiction over his Kingdom Barotseland that is now deemed non-existent.
The Ngambela has bemoaned that by implication, Barotseland’s King and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) no longer exist.
He wondered how His Majesty The Litunga will be a King over a non-existing Barotseland kingdom.