News Editor, Barotseland Post
Messages of condolence have continued to pour from all sectors of the Barotse community following the untimely death of Likando Pelekelo in Zambia’s maximum prison yesterday where he was serving a 15-year jail sentence for his peaceful campaign for Barotseland’s self-determination.
Likando Pelekelo, 69, a political prisoner, died in unclear circumstances but possibly connected to Zambian state neglect and deplorable prison conditions in Zambia’s Mukobeko maximum prison.
And a Barotseland transitional government (BTG) spokesperson, Mr Lubinda Kunangela, has commended the united solidarity that has ensued as the elephant Kingdom mourns what he called a ‘gallant soldier’ and a ‘strong pillar’ in the struggle for peace, justice and freedom of Barotseland.
Likando Pelekelo (65), one of the three Barotseland political leaders imprisoned for peacefully advocating the independence of Barotseland, has died in Zambia’s Mukobeko maximum prison in very unclear circumstances early Saturday morning.
And unconfirmed reports by the Zambian Watchdog indicate that Mukobeko state prison has been hit by COVID-19 while accusing prison authorities and the Zambian government of covering it up.
The Zambian Watchdog, in a social media post, was quoting a Zambian politician who bemoaned the COVID-19 unpreparedness at Mukobeko in the face of the looming pandemic with three deaths already suspected to be COVID-19 related.
However, an independent source at the state penitentiary has said that Likando suddenly took ill the past week or so, presenting body swelling and chest pains.
He collapsed and died after returning from some private infirmary this morning as the prison medical facility reportedly offered him no meaningful help.
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.
Hon. Clement Wainyae Sinyinda, who presided over the historic 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) in his capacity as Ngambela, Barotseland’s Prime Minister, which unanimously resolved that Barotseland must pursue political independence from Zambia, is shocked that the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) now wishes to betray the landmark resolutions in unclear circumstances.
The former Ngambela wondered why the BRE would want to hoodwink the people of Barotseland into endorsing a fake dialogue process that would perpetuate the subjugation of the Barotse Kingdom by the Republic of Zambia under the illusion of the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964 which the Zambian State failed to honour for over five (5) decades.
Mr Sinyinda expressed his shock earlier today shortly after meeting with the current Ngambela, Mukela Manyando, and several other Limulunga BRE Induna (ministers), among them Induna Mukulwakashiko (Mr Mowa Zambwe) Induna Imandi (Mr Namushi Nyambe) and Induna Kuso (Mr Muyangwa Mungwaluku) at the Limulunga Kuta, alongside their counterpart Induna from Iñete’s Mongu Kuta.
And proceedings at the Limulunga Kuta were highly charged today as the former Ngambela, leading a delegation of some Barotseland elders and BNFA executive members, tried to persuade the Limulunga BRE not to betray the people of Barotseland's quest for self-determination as unanimously resolved at the historic 2012 Barotse National Council, a source close to the Kuta proceedings has revealed.
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.