“An opportunity freely given may be misused”, a feature written by Hon. Wamu brought tears to my sad eyes. Tears; not of hopelessness but of sadness at how things have played out since the March 2012 BNC Conference. I sincerely hope that what I am going to write in response will answer some of the questions posed and help shed some light in the minds and hearts of those among our people who may be losing hope.
Firstly, I am not surprised at what has unfolded thus far since that historic 2012 day in our modern history. My main concern is what would happen to our people and our country if credible action was not taken soon. We can no longer live a life of make believe clouded by lies and wild imaginations where Barotseland is concerned. Our enemy’s reaction towards us only shows how serious the Barotseland issue is. Starting off as we did with the Barotseland Freedom Movement and Linyungandambo was the best way we could have stood up to our nationhood challenge. However, we missed an earlier opportunity for unity merely due to mistrust mixed up with past misunderstandings among the senior cadres. Here I refer only to those who believed in the immediate and total independence of Barotseland like most of us do. On the flanks were those who thought they knew even better than everyone else and, for a while, had exclusively negotiated for a restoration of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 clandestinely, only coming out to the masses in a calculated manner whenever they needed signatures for their exclusively worked out petitions. This latter group, largely made up of Lozi people from Lusaka and enjoying unequaled support from the Barotse Royal Establishment, was always against Barotseland’s total and immediate independence; particularly if that independence did not have them at the helm of control. They had sworn to fight, at all costs, against our external self-determination even if it meant selling us who believe differently to the enemy. These are the same people who advised BRE to force BFM to work with them; a venture that almost killed the struggle had we not momentarily broken rank and reached out to the actual owners of the matter, the Lozi masses in a bold manner.
Although we managed to make some irreversible gains, aided by the emergency of Linyungandambo, leading to the 2012 BNC, the ‘restorationists’ reappeared on the scene with an unworkable and irrelevant “alliance” which they only used as a front to push their own selfish agenda. This “alliance” was meant to “unite” activist groups and work towards our independence despite the fact that the BNC had already declared us free and that its resolutions only called for the formation of a Barotseland Government (not an alliance) to lead the proceedings of disengagement with the Zambians. As has now turned out, the “alliance”, was only a paradox designed to divide us, slow and eventually kill the very BNC declaration. We are presently in this, seemingly, limbo and confusion all because of the involvement of a small but very powerful group of those who believe in a restoration of an Agreement that never even operated.
I trust that the foregoing does answer, even in part, some of the valuable question posed by Hon. Wamu.
It is immaterial for Zambia to understand the 2012 BNC resolution if we the ones who came up with it do not comprehend it in the first place. The people of Barotseland are the only ones who can emphasize (binding) its seriousness. Zambians and the international community can only follow.
Concerning the king’s “silence”, this writer was reliably informed that His Majesty the Litunga had called upon the Zambian acting President to unconditionally release Hon. Afumba Mombotwa and the rest. Given the confusion and the power struggle currently taking place in that country, one would believe that Dr. Guy Scott is almost powerless to a greater extent. If it were not so, our leaders were going to be released as soon as it was learned that there had been an attempt to kidnap them for diabolical reasons. It is actually reported that Dr. Scott had even articulated that Hon. Mombotwa and company did not commit any crime. Why would they still be detained then and made to appear in Zambian courts without any supporters, relatives or well wishers? I believe the king has and is still possibly doing something about it although it is impossible to count on BRE given their track record.
It will not be far fetched to state that BNFA is actually NOT what it represents itself to be. This is the “alliance” I refer to above. It is actually not an alliance but an extension of ‘restorationist’ group with a self explanatory name. That is why they would not hesitate to insult the victimized people of Barotseland, labeling them the “semi-illiterate hiding in holes holding the wrong end of the stick”. That is not talk one would expect from a unitary body. Recently there were some activists who broke away from the BNFA and formed a “congress”. This only shows that the BNFA is simply not for Barotseland’s independence and some of its members will not hesitate to betray their own brothers. This is in spite of some acknowledgeable positive efforts the group has made. However, we shall do ourselves good service not to count the BNFA as being genuinely bent on the BNC resolution because not everyone claiming to be in the struggle is sincerely in it.
About participating in the Zambian elections; honestly speaking, we do sympathize with them on what has befallen their presidency and we pray that all goes well with their elections. However, we realistically have nothing much to do with Zambian elections based on the 2012 BNC Resolution. After all, we have never benefited from whatever government sits in Lusaka. This is a fact. That is why we are the poorest compared to other Zambian regions. This is also much against Clause 9 of the BA’64. Lozis who will participate will do so due to fear or their own selfish ends, period.
We believe that a lot has been done by the Royal Barotseland Government, Linyungandambo, BFM and actually by the BNFA too. It is only that seemingly, the latter is still working towards its selfish goal. However, a number of countries are now aware of our situation with Zambia. Anyone who would even attempt to reverse our declared independence will be attempting to bring a catastrophe that we have thus far managed to avoid. The BNC has never reversed its resolutions and it will not do so with the 2012 one.
I also personally have a weird belief that we find ourselves in this predicament today because of our fore-fathers’ sins. I also believe that God has heard our prayers, like the children of Israel (Exodus 3:7-9) and has forgiven us because we have asked Him to do so (1John 1:9). However, we also need to be intelligent enough to know the power of unity and perseverance. A nation’s freedom does not normally come easy. Much has been done already and against all odds, we shall soon be independent in the actual meaning of the word. We need to break down the walls that divide us.
I believe that in convening the 2012 BNC conference, His Majesty the Litunga did all that he could. He actually voiced his support for an independent Barotseland when we met him on 24th January 2012 in Kashandi. He said it was all going to depend on the BNC’s outcome and that he hoped that that year’s Kuomboka ceremony was going to be the happiest. The king being sincere or not, the fact is that Barotseland is now supposed to stand united on our independence regardless of who calls himself Administrator General or Prime Minister. The enemy only takes advantage when we are divided. We shall hold the Zambians accountable for all crimes committed against our people. No human being dies without God’s knowledge. God will always judge for spilt innocent blood. Barotseland is ours and we have nothing to fear. We shall not lose hope because from where some of us stand, we see our day. The songs and dances are already prepared.
Kozo. (Shuwanga Shuwanga)