“I came to show that you are all part of Zambia. Whether you come from Barotseland or Western province, you are part of Zambia. I came to emphasize that we will not leave anyone behind in our cause to develop this country as One Zambia One Nation!”, remarked the President on his arrival at the Mongu airport as he emphasized that no one would be allowed to divide Zambia.
He was received at the Airport by his Patriotic Front (PF) provincial leadership with scores of his party members, many among them reportedly bussed and transported from Lusaka to support his tour in the region considered a stronghold for the opposition UPND party.
But some Barotseland independence activists who have taken issue with President Lungu's utterances on his arrival, wish to warn him to desist from provoking the people further.
They have accused the president of preaching the 'One Zambia One nation' mantra only when seeking electoral votes from the people of Barotseland, but abandon them once in power.
“Lungu is a lawyer who should know very well the current status quo of Barotseland. It will be unacceptable for us to continue to keep quiet over such reckless utterances made on our home ground. We know he is trying to make inroads for the 2021 elections (through) vote-buying manoeuvers in Barotseland, but he should exercise some civility and responsibility in his conduct here.”, retorted one independence activist on a popular social media thread.
And the Linyungandambo, Barotseland’s main independence advocates, have stated that Mr Lungu’s remarks have vindicated their stance against the government proposed Barotse Dialogue Council (BDC) which they have accused to have a predetermined agenda to perpetuate Barotseland subjugation in Zambia.
“Yes. We have heard what the Zambian president said, and his remarks vindicates our stand against their so-called Barotse Dialogue Council because it is now clear, going by his pronouncement in Mongu on Monday, that the government of Zambia has already decided that Barotseland will forever be a province of Zambia!”, stated a Linyungandambo official, wondering what the use of the dialogue council would be if the government had already decided that Barotseland will forever be a part of Zambia.
On his two-day visit, Mr Lungu paid the customary and ceremonial royal courtesies by visiting His Majesty, the Litunga - King of Barotseland, at his Limulunga Palace before visiting some strategic ongoing developmental projects financed by some foreign donors, which he boasted his government had ‘brought’ to the region.
There will be some Local Government by-elections taking place sometime early next month, February, and the President was in the area to mobilize support for his ruling PF party which faces stiff competition from the opposition United Party for National Development, UPND, in the region.