Zambia discontinues trial of 9 Livingstone Barotseland activists as Munyinda gets new criminal charge!

01 August 2019

The nine (9) Livingstone Barotseland activists who were arrested and jointly charged for ‘unlawful assembly’ and ‘seditious practices’ last year have been freed on nolle prosequi.

Col. Lubasi, Ndopu Sanjola, Pastor Elliot Mbulana, George Akufuna, Silumina, Kebby Sishekanu, Phelim Kaungu, Ms Mukubesa Mubita and Mrs Yubai Mutukwa were arrested on 10th May 2018 and left to languish in deplorable incarceration for a month before they could be granted bail or trial dates.

This was after the nine Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) Livingstone Chapter leaders held a peaceful press conference to reject the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) imposed dialogue process presented at an earlier press conference by the GRZ/BRE emissary, Mutungulu Wanga, who had wanted the people of Barotseland to rubber-stamp the suspicious dialogue process with the Government of Zambia over the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

However, when the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, 30th July 2019 at the Livingstone Magistrate court, Zambia’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shawa Siyunyi, said the state had decided to discontinue the cases against the nine accused on a nolle prosequi.

And in another separate incidence, prominent Barotse activist Munyinda Munukayumbwa (25), who was arrested on Tuesday, 14th May 2019 and later charged with ‘proposing tribal war’ on six counts in the Mongu subordinate court, appeared in the Kaoma magistrate court on 25th July 2019 for possible commencement of trial - only to learn that the state had since changed his charge to ‘criminal libel’ on four counts, but all related to some Facebook articles he allegedly authored or caused to author on a Facebook page titled Barotseland Watchdog.

Munyinda was then asked to take a fresh plea to the new charges and his case was adjourned to the 29th and 30th August 2019 after he had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Zambian state often arrests Barotse people and then looks for what charges to slap them with, while the victims endure lengthy incarcerations without trial or later release them on nolle prosequi after the state fails to prove their criminality.

The nolle prosequi is the instrument the Zambian state often uses against its political victims, especially the Barotse, after holding them in unlawful lengthy detention where they suffer untold torture and punishment for their perceived political crimes.

In this way, the accused are actually punished for crimes they never committed, with the view that they will stop their social or political activism, and with the nolle prosequi, the victims would not be able to counter sue the state for unlawful detention or claim any compensation.

However, the Livingstone Barotseland activists freed on nolle prosequi have vowed to continue their peaceful fight for Barotseland independence until Barotseland is totally liberated.

In March 2012, the supreme and highest policy-making body in Barotseland, the Barotse National Council, BNC, unanimously resolved to pursue Barotseland self-determination outside of the Republic of Zambia after the latter refused to honour the pre-independence 1964 treaty which guaranteed Barotseland autonomy within the sovereign Republic of Zambia.

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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.