It is not uncommon to hear this question asked with many, devoid of knowledge about Barotse history, wrongly alleging the practice is an overtone of “colonialism” and ‘un-African’ or that it can’t possibly be a part of the Lozi culture, or even some lately mocking that perhaps the Litunga is a “Michael Jackson wannabe”.
Not very long ago, then Zambian head of state Mr Michael Sata was publicly quoted mocking the Litunga’s attire as a “fake” British colonial uniform – amazingly as he made these remarks he himself was clad in a western style ‘colonial’ suit and tie!
Every Litunga, King of Barotseland, since the turn of the 20th Century has adorned what looks like a British admiral or military uniform, especially when at ceremonial functions such as the Kuomboka water pageantry, often sparking the question why!
To provide some answers to this question, let us first clear some misconceptions.
After detaining him at Kambule remand prison for over two weeks without charge or trial, the Zambian state has finally charged Munyinda Munukayumbwa, 25, with the charge of ‘promoting tribal war’ contrary to section 46 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia, the first time such a charge has been slapped on any Barotse activist.
This is in a matter many Barotse people have called political intimidation and victimisation as Munyinda’s arrest came shortly after he had a social media row with the King’s traditional Prime Minister, Ngambela Mukela Manyando, over some matter pertaining to the Barotse Royal Establishment’s alleged neglect of Chief Mwene Chengele’s retainers who are now languishing in extended incarceration without trial since February, 2019 for allegedly assaulting some people from the opposing side in a longstanding succession wrangle in Nañoko Area of Barotseland.
When Munyinda’s matter came up for court hearing and possible charge yesterday, the Zambian state charged Munyinda with six counts of ‘Promoting Tribal War’ all contrary to section 46 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the laws of Zambia.
And Munyinda Munukayumbwa has pleaded not guilty to the six charges, which are all alleged to be related to his Facebook postings.
“Munyinda Munukayumbwa is accused of running Barotseland Watchdog and authoring articles on his Facebook accounts which according to the police is Promoting Tribal War,” the Social Media BBN has reported.
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 following video details the visit of the Zambia Army Commander, Lieutenant General William Sikazwe, in Barotseland and his courtesy call on His Majesty, the Litunga, King of Barotseland. It also features the Ngambela (Prime Minister) of Barotseland welcoming the Army Commander and correcting some Social Media reports about the alleged Zambia army invasion and arrest of Chief Amukena of Naliele Kuta in Kaoma, Barotseland.
NEWSCASTER – PRIME TV: “Zambia Army Commander, Lieutenant General William Sikazwe, has started his tour of Western Province visiting his troops based there.
“The Lieutenant General Sikazwe is also formally introducing himself as Army Commander to relevant authorities.
“During his tour, the Army Commander has pledged to continue ensuring that peace and tranquillity remains vital within the borders of Zambia.
“Lloyd Kapusa reports.”
The Barotse Royal Establishment’s newly installed Ngambela, Mukela Manyondo, may have scored his first this afternoon when he swiftly called a press briefing to dispel some malicious Barotse social media rumours suggesting that HRH the Senior Chief Amukena Isiteketo of Kaoma regency had been arrested by the Zambian military at the instruction of His Majesty the Litunga, King of Barotseland!
And the Ngambela has clarified that the scores of Zambian military personnel seen arriving in the territory yesterday were on a routine operation with Zambia’s newly appointed Army Commander who is in the area to inspect his troops on his familiarization tour.
He further said that as demanded by traditional custom and royal etiquette, the Army Commander Brig. Gen. William Sikazwe, proceeded to pay homage to His Majesty the Litunga before he could embark on his familiarization tour and that nothing was unusual in his visit!
In 1965, Kenneth Kaunda’s Zambian government disbanded the Church of Barotseland, seized its entire church infrastructure, land and all other assets, reallocating them to the newly formed United Church Zambia, UCZ, which Kaunda formed in the guise of ‘unity’ as propagated in Zambia’s motto of ‘One Zambia One Nation’!
Kaunda’s argument then was that, with the political liberation of Zambia, there was an urgent need to unite the Church of Barotseland with the Church of Central Africa in Rhodesia (mission work of the Church of Scotland), the Union Church of Copperbelt, the Copperbelt Free Church Council and the Methodist Church in line with the newly coined ‘One Zambia One nation’ motto!
An inside report received from Zambia’s Mukobeko Maximum Prison has indicated that Afumba Mombotwa (60), Pelekelo Likando (64) and Sylvester Inambao Kalima (57) face sustained psychological abuse and torture inflicted by some named Zambian prison warders assigned to torment the imprisoned Barotseland independence leaders.
Specifically named in the report is one state agent, named only as Mwangala, a warden of Lozi descent like the three political prisoners, deliberately assigned by the State to constantly torture and hurl verbal abuses on the trio, mocking them about their ‘misguided’ dream for Barotseland independence which will never materialise.
Prison Officer Mwangala reportedly uses unpalatable, nasty and abusive words towards the Barotseland leaders serving 15 years jail sentence in Zambian prison, threatening that instead of freedom, they should expect to die in Kabwe’s Mukobeko Maximum Prison!
Barotseland’s premier water pageantry, Kuomboka, will not take place this year due to insufficient water in the vast Barotse plains.
Announcing the cancellation of the annual festival, the Barotse Royal Establishment, BRE, through its Ngambela, Mukela Manyando, said the poor rainfall and general drought sweeping across the region has adversely affected the water levels in the Barotse plains this year.
“Although the rains were generally poor in Western province, we had hoped for the usual surge of flood water from the big tributaries of The Zambezi, namely the Lungwebungu and Kabompo rivers from the high rainfall areas of Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo respectively. However, this has not been forthcoming!” stated Mukela Manyando in a press statement delivered to the media yesterday, Saturday, 23rd March 2019.
Britain never got any territory from Barotseland by conquest, domination or outright purchase because Barotseland was merely Britain’s protectorate and not a colony in its strict sense! And because whatever territory Britain got from Barotseland was by treaties, concessions or agreements, in the event that any of these concessions, treaties or agreements were violated, either party would reserve their respective right to return to their pre-treaty, pre-concession and pre-agreement status! Barotseland would retain full control over its original territory as it was before the collapsed covenants!
While some Zambians, and even some Barotse people, still doubt the validity and legitimacy of Barotseland’s claim for independence and its quest for international recognition as an independent state, many will be surprised to learn that some countries in the world are already seriously educating their learners about Barotseland’s legitimate claim for independence from Zambia.
This was the case in Britain’s favorite quiz competition University Challenge which features contestants in a BBC televised academic quiz show where teams of students from UK universities answer questions on all manner of subjects.
The contestants are chosen from multiple disciplines ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate levels.
In Episode 29 of Season 48, first televised this week on Monday, 25th February of 2019 at 8:30 pm, the show featured Durham University and Edinburgh University, in which one of the questions was about Barotseland and its quest for recognition as an independent state.
Often times, human nature inclines towards worrying about what is yet to be achieved and makes us neglect what has so far been attained! Celebrating our successes, no matter how small, encourages us to persevere in whatever undertaking we are involved in.
Specifically, in the struggle for Barotseland’s self-determination, we have often been mocked by those who think Barotseland is fighting a losing battle, and that very little or no tangible progress is being achieved at all!
Well, that is not quite true, as the following report will show exactly what has been achieved in as far as highlighting the cause of Barotseland to the whole world!
It is not a mere coincidence that Barotseland has sometimes been featured in international news media or international journals, with some international scholars and writers including current happenings in their works. Last year, for instance, we shared some clips from the world-renowned US crime investigative police drama, NCIS, Season 16, which featured BAROTSELAND in episode 6 of the highly rated crime series.
The other year we gave a report of one Nick Middleton, a geographer, writer and presenter of television documentaries, who teaches at Oxford University, where he is a Fellow of St Anne's College, a Royal Geographical Society award-winning author who was featured on VOA, BBC, The Guardian and other international media showcasing his latest works of countries currently seeking international recognition published by the world-renowned Macmillan Publishers, 2015, in which Barotseland is named among them.
Masiye Masiyaleti, the Sioma secondary school teacher, who was Accused number Four (4) in the 2016 Afumba Mombotwa and Others treason trial, has reportedly died after what sources have said was a bitter domestic fight with his wife.
The yet to be confirmed reports are that Masiye was badly injured by his wife on the head after she allegedly hit him with a bottle or something sharp.
Accordingly, Masiye was rushed to Mongu’s Liwanika Hospital where he was receiving emergency medical attention in the past three days but unfortunately died around mid-morning today from the critical head injuries allegedly inflicted on him by his wife in the violent domestic altercation.
Masiye Masiyaleti was the only one acquitted of the charge of treason by the Zambian High Court in the 2016 ' Afumba Mombotwa and Others' trial in which Afumba Mombotwa, Inambao Kalima and Likando Pelekelo were slapped with 10 years jail sentence each with hard labour, now increased to 15 years jail sentences by the Supreme Court of Zambia.