Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front cadres hijack funeral of Barotseland independence leader

17 August 2020
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Washanga Eddie Maswabi (L), Mulonda Sendoi (R) - CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

Some known Patriotic Front (PF) cadres, who are related to deceased Barotseland leader, Likando Pelekelo, have threatened to involve Zambia state police to arrest all Barotseland activists who will insist on according Likando a heroes’ funeral and burial.

The named family members, Washanga Eddie Maswabi and a former District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) - now Commissioner at the Teaching Council of Zambia, Mulonda Sendoi, who are known active members of Zambia’s ruling party, want to bury Likando Pelekelo early Tuesday morning without involving Barotseland Political leaders in a low key family procession while threatening to call on state police to arrest all those who will insist on making any other arrangements.

The latest turn of events has emerged after the duo was informed that the Barotseland activists had requested for a parcel of land from the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to serve as a memorial park where heroes like Likando Pelekelo would be put to rest.

And some close family members are shocked that the two named party cadres who never cared for the deceased throughout the time he was on trial or in prison have suddenly come from nowhere to deny their relative a befitting burial as the hero that he is.

The family source has accused the duo of rejecting the funeral program proposed by Barotseland activists and backed by the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) only to advanced their selfish political ambitions as parliamentary candidates in the coming 2021 general elections.

“How can they threaten to use state police to arrest people who wish to mourn their departed compatriot and accord him a burial befitting his status?” lamented the close family member, stating further that Mr Sendoi Mulonda may be working with the ruling party to quicken the burial process, so that Barotseland activists would not have a hand in the burial whatsoever.

The duo wants Likando buried hurriedly in Senanga instead of the BRE allocated heroes memorial park.

Meanwhile, Barotseland Transitional Government (BTG) spokesperson, Lubinda Kunangela, has confirmed that some family members are opposed to the BTG arrangements to accord Likando a national funeral.

He said, however, that further consultations are still underway so that Likando’s burial will not be rushed to allow for the nation to adequately prepare a befitting send-off.

Mr Kunangela is hopeful that a more reasonable compromise will be reached with the family to allow for a better-arranged funeral program that will take at least a week.

Likando Pelekelo died on 15 August 2020 in a Zambian state maximum prison, and his body was today transported back to Barotseland where he is expected to be buried at a hero’s memorial site.

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