IN-DEPTH: Ngambela Manyando shamelessly order arrest of Barotse activist after WhatsApp, Social media brawl!

16 May 2019
FILE: (L-R)Munyinda Munukayumbwa, Ngambela Mukela Manyando


Social and political commentator, Munyinda Munukayumbwa, has been arrested after the Barotse Royal Establishment’s Ngambela, Mukela Manyando, ordered for his arrest for allegedly ridiculing and undermining the authority of the Litunga and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE).

In a social media post attributed to BRE’s Induna Katema (Aketata Batunda) confirming Munyinda’s arrest, the Royal establishment has warned that they ‘will not let any individual insult the intelligence of the Kuta and the Ngambela’.

A further press query to Induna Katema for clarification on the matter has gone unanswered for over a day.

Munyinda was arrested on Tuesday, 14th May 2019, at 16:00 hrs when he responded to a police call-out at Mongu police station where he was reportedly interrogated for over three (3) hours by Police officers from Lusaka and Mongu Central Police who now plan to charge him with the crime of ‘promoting tribal war’!

Munyinda, not a stranger to such police arrests over social media activities, will be the first Barotse activist ever to be charged with the crime if the police decide to proceed as planned.

Meanwhile, some police sources have disclosed that the BRE’s Ngambela (King’s traditional Prime Minister), Mukela Manyando, asked the Zambian Police to silence Munyinda through intimidation because he has persistently criticised the royal establishment and the Litunga.

“Some senior police officers disclosed to us that Ngambela Mukela Manyando asked the Zambian Police to intimidate Munyinda so that he may stop criticising the BRE, especially after his recent remarks on Facebook accusing the BRE of having neglected some retainers for the newly BRE enthroned chief of Nañoko area, now languishing in extended police incarceration without trial, for defending their chief who is now the right Mwene Chengele after he was properly enthroned by the Royal establishment!” reported an anonymous source close to the happenings.

The retainers were arrested by the Zambia police sometime in February 2019, on trumped up charges of ‘aggravated robbery’ after a scuffle ensued between two rival camps in the continuing succession wrangle over the Mwene Chengele chieftaincy title of Nañoko area after the dethroned Mwene Chengele, Josiah Nyumbu, refused to give way to Kashengula Nyumbu, who was recently enthroned by the King of Barotseland as his replacement through the BRE.

“BRE is responsible for the incarceration of those Chief retainers. Firstly, they installed Mwene Chengele Kashengula, (but) then they failed to chase dethroned Josiah Nyumbu off the throne. They started a fight they failed to complete. Today, newly installed Mwene Chengele is just languishing on the throne without power. God will punish BRE for those retainers they have ditched and put in problems.” Munyinda had written in a Facebook article two weeks ago after he had visited the incarcerated retainers, Mwenda Lishebo and others, at Kambule prison, a visit he stated was very heartbreaking.

In the article, Munyinda accused the BRE of neglecting the incarcerated Chief’s retainers for all these months without any trial, violating their basic human rights only because ‘they were poor people without money!’

“The incarcerated Chief retainers ushered their complaints to me (stating) that although their arrest came in the spirit of protecting and defending the Litungaship [Barotse Kingship], they were disappointed that the BRE had completely abandoned them and their families.

“I was so sad when they further told me that their children have stopped going to school due to lack of school fees and food. The incarcerated retainers are passing through psychological torture.

“It is so disheartening to learn that their families can't afford to eat two meals a day as their husbands are languishing in prison - the most painful news I got from them was that the BRE have never ever visited them in prison or try even to assist their families.

“BRE knows those Chief retainers have nothing! They are poor and vulnerable. They have no money to fatten their pockets; if they had money, the BRE could even volunteer to be thrown together with them (Chief’s retainers) in Kambule prison.

“BRE (only) loves and defends the rich, not the poor! They are just fond of using the poor but when they (poor) are in trouble; they (BRE) become spectators!

“I am very much disappointed! Those Chief’s retainers have been forgotten like used baby diapers. BRE used them and now they are ignoring them!

“God will throw BRE in a hot (hell) fire. They will be burnt to ashes starting from the Ngambela, Mukulwakashiko, Induna (minister) Namunda, Induna Namuyamba, Induna Meimanene, Induna Kalonga and Induna Imandi.

“They will (all) be thrown in the fire and God will say ‘When Afumba and others were incarcerated in prison (Mukobeko maximum prison), you never visited them! When Mwenechengele’s retainers were at Kambule prison you never visited them!’ - (Matthew 25:34-35)”, bemoaned Munyinda in the Facebook posting, further charging that the BRE will regret in future the very power they were abusing today as God had given them an opportunity to serve the people of Barotseland but they have instead decided to serve their own interest.

He further said that corrupt people and corrupt minds will always remain mute over injustices happening in the society, pretending that all was well, as he wondered how the BRE could tolerate all the ‘useless’ things happening in Barotseland - in apparent reference to the oppression and suppression the people of Barotseland were currently experiencing due to Zambia’s annexation of the territory.

“We have no leadership at BRE Limulunga. We just have people who are occupying space or positions. BRE has failed us!” Munyinda had concluded, stating that he was thinking of mounting a campaign to declare the BRE irrelevant in Barotseland, while calling on others to join his campaign once started!

In retaliation, and using the popular messaging platform, WhatsApp, however, the Ngambela accused Munyinda of being hypocritical, self-righteous and seeking political gain out of the issues affecting the people of Barotseland!

In the WhatsApp conversation availed to Barotseland Post, Munyinda stood his ground and defended himself, stating that his views and written articles on the issues affecting the people of Barotseland were neither hypocritical nor self-righteous.

“I don't really claim to be self-righteous or embarking on a journey to gain mileage in my life or build my image for any political gain. I am not also trying to show that I am righteous as opposed to my neighbour. Lord Chancellor (Minyoalui – another of the Ngambela’s titles), my views are very simple. My (recent) article was based on truth and facts. The facts are as follows;

1. BRE and the Litunga dethroned Josiah Yumbu as Mwene Chengele.

2. (In his place) BRE installed Kashengula as Chief Chengele. Since he was installed as Chief Chengele, his life is at risk and his people are starving due to the fact that Josiah Yumbu still claims to be the Chief. It is now 1 (one) year since BRE installed Chief Chengele – a whole year later, the installed Chief is still languishing and hiding in the name of Mwene Chengele without subjects. These are problems created by BRE.

3. If Chief Chengele was not installed, the Chief’s retainers could not have been arrested and put in remand without trial.

4. It is a known fact that the Chief’s retainers for BRE-installed Chengele were arrested due to succession wrangles. It is a known fact that those Chief’s retainers have been arrested and put in filthy prison defending the authority of the Litunga. It is a fact that BRE Indunas have not visited the arrested servants of the Chief. It is a fact that the family of those Chief’s retainers are terribly starving, on the other hand, BRE with their children are enjoying life.

My Lord Chancellor, we are all duty bound to stand and reject what is wrong and denounce all forms of oppression. God has vested us with power to stand for the people and in every opportunity, we should stand and speak out.

Every time I wake up, my Lord Chancellor, I ask my Lord to forgive my sins I commit day in and day out. I equally pray for BRE Kuta every day and for God to forgive their sins.

My Lord Chancellor, the day you will know the truth that BRE is irrelevant and contributing to the suffering of the people of Barotseland is the day you will start kneeling down to pray for me for the truth I have been saying. You will pray and bless me to have a long life.

May you live long my Ngambela! Long live my Ngambela, you will soon realise the truth.” END.

While the Ngambela may have expected a toned-down Munyinda, this uncompromising WhatsApp conversation, however, seems to have angered the Ngambela even more, so much so that he ordered for his arrest shortly after!

The Police, particularly CIO Gaston Matavu, then started calling Munyinda around 09:00hrs on the fateful day of his arrest, but he was only able to report to the station around 16:00hrs where he was then arrested.

According to police sources, however, they did not initially have any charge to give Munyinda but were able to find some charge, and that was formulated during his interrogation when it became clear that Munyinda was a firm campaigner for Barotse people’s right for self-determination!

It was then that the police decided to charge him with ‘Promoting tribal war’ because he was bold enough to tell them that Barotseland is not Zambia during the interrogation.

Reportedly, he also cursed those responsible for Barotseland’s subjugation!

Munyinda, who has been arrested under similarly trumped-up charges a couple of times before, is yet to appear before a judge for a possible bail hearing as he remains incarcerated, and it is unlikely that he will be formally charged within 48 hrs of his arrest as stipulated under the Zambian law.

His most recent arrest was in 2017 over another FaceBook posting attributed to him which stated, “I Curse State House until the matter of Barotseland is resolved” for which he was incarcerated for over three months without trial until he was set free for lack of merit in his charges.

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.