Chitimukulu lectures Nkandu Luo about the Bemba kingdom, tells her she has short memory

A Letter To Honourable Nkandu Luo,Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs

Preamble

A concerned citizen wrote some sticking words illustrating the truth that evil schemes cannot and will never succeed:

There are few citizens in any given country of this universe whom God preserves to stand up to call a spade, a spade and sound the alarm when evil starts taking root and His people are taken for a ride.’ (The Post 1st November 2002).

You have continued to shower provocative taunts upon Bashilubemba (hereditary councillors) and indeed upon the Bemba people at large, and I say so, because social anthropologist Andrew Roberts in A History of the Bemba wrote:

 

The most important social institution among the Bemba, other than the family, is chieftainship…..among the Bemba, chieftainship continues to command respect and stimulate local pride.’ (ibid, pp.12/29).

I am the most senior member of the Bemba tribe, one of the powerful and influential tribes on the continent of Africa, but you have publicly defamed, antagonized, humiliated and dishonoured me. I have therefore decided to exculpate myself in the eyes of my fellow tribes-women and men and expose your scheme anchored in trickery and unprecedented deceit to devastate the Bemba chieftaincy and pave way for the transfer of the Bemba paramountacy and other chiefdoms from Abena Ng’andu to Ngoshe Mukote old lineage.

This has been clearly demonstrated by the humiliating removal of Senior Chief Nkula Kafula Musungu II by a group of specially selected unruly prison rascals while the chief had in fact gone through traditional initiation.

But to the contrary, I was de-gazetted on the 8th May 2013 on the pretext that I had not gone through rituals, without even the slightest courtesy of consulting Bashilubemba on whom Andrew Roberts wrote:

The Bemba do have, in the priest-councillors (bakabilo) of Chitimukulu and senior chiefs, groups of men whose business it is to be experts on most aspects of chieftainship __ ritual, government and the choice of successors. These subjects involve recourse to history, since practice is based on precedent.’ (ibid., p13).

In August 2013, President Sata added another charge when he told His Excellency Bwalya Chiti, ambassador to Germany that I had been de-gazetted because I had been illegally selling land.

The positions of Senior Chief Mwamba and Senior Chief Nkula are of very strategic importance in deciding who next Chitimukulu should be. And therefore, it is just too much of a coincidence because the PF came into power in 2011, but why did the removal of Senior Chief Nkula and the issues of rituals and the selling of land and my subsequent de-gazetting come up in 2013 merely two months before the selection of the next Mwinelubemba?

On the other hand, Sub-Chief Chimba acts as regent during the lengthy period of embalming Chitimukulu and in addition Bashilubemba appoint a care-taker who takes-over the responsibilities of coordinating all the activities during the period of embalming and reports directly to Sub-Chief Chimba. And for sure you cannot have an old man running about and doing all these things. And this arrangement which is purely traditional has been going on from the time immemorial.

After the death of Chitimukulu Kanyanta in 1943, his son Beleshi Kanyanta was appointed the care-taker; after the death of Chitimukulu Kafula Musungu in 1965, his grandson, Mr. Stephen Mutale, who married President Sata’s sister was the care-taker. After the death of Chitimukulu Musenga in 1969, his grandson Mr. Ackson Chilufya Mwamba (the late Mwinelubemba Chilufya Mwango) was the care-taker; after the death of Chitimukulu Bwembya, Sub-chief Chisangaponde, the son of Chitimukulu Musungu was the care-taker; after the death of Chitimukulu Mutale Chitapankwa II, his son, Mr. Mulenga Ng’andu was the care-taker and after the death of Chitimukulu Chilufya Mwango, his son, Chilufya Mwamba was appointed to be the care-taker and whose duties included collecting the late chief’s subsidies to pay the embalmers.

However, in the same way, just two months before the selection of the next Mwinelubemba, you ordered the removal of the care-taker and the subsidy was withdrawn. When you came to Kasama and I demanded to know the actual motive of removing the care-taker, you were at a complete loss and just muttered that you wanted to ‘normalize the situation’ I could not see how you could ‘normalize’ when it was actually ‘devastating.’ I was sure there was a hidden evil motive because you could have only withdrawn government subsidies and not order the removal of the care-taker.

The Tactic of Character Assassination

Honourable Minister you accused me of ‘masquerading as Senior Chief Mwamba’ (The Post1st May 2013). And on the 9th The Post came up with the front page headline: Sosala masquerading as Chief Mwamba-Sata. ” (ibid.)

My Cambridge Advanced Learners’ Dictionary defines the word ‘masquerade’ as ‘behaviour that is intended to prevent the truth about something unpleasant or not wanted from being known.’

W.V. Brelsford in ‘Succession of Bemba Chiefs: A Guide for District Officers’’ wrote:

‘The appointment of chiefs lies primarily with the Paramount-in-council, which is the Superior Native Authority.’

And Andrew Roberts in A History of the Bemba wrote:

‘The senior Bakabilo are no mere servants of Chitimukulu but are themselves the hereditary holders of historic titles, some as old as the Chitimukuluship itself and they are in a real sense the source of chiefly legitimacy. First of all, there are the senior bakabilo of Chitimukulu, those who determine the most crucial issues, such as the royal succession. These men are known as Bashilubemba, the elders of Ulubemba i.e. Chimba, Chitikafula, Kapukuma, Katenda, Munuka and Nkolemambwe.’

In the Supreme Court Judgement No. 25 of 2008 between Chief Mpepo (Ackson Chilufya Mwamba), appellant and Senior Chief Mwamba (Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba), respondent reads on J18__ 623:

 

’’In the case of the Bemba customary law of succession, it is generally agreed by the parties that a chief below Chitimukulu, it can be Senior Chief Mwamba, Senior Chief Nkula or indeed any other, is chosen or appointed by the Paramount Chief-in-council. When the choice of a Chitimukulu is an issue, the body mandated to make the appointment is known as Bashilubemba. The composition of the two bodies, including the necessary quorum for transaction of business, was not part of the evidence. Besides, what the evidence failed to establish is the role of Chandamukulu, the Queen Mother (including Mukukamfumu, the Queen for Chinsali side), in the selection process of Chitimukulu and the chiefs below Chitimukulu,’’

 

And in accordance with the above itemized procedure the Bemba Royal Electoral College (inchenje Council) held a meeting on 6th October 2007, which was chaired by Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu Chilufya Mwango and twenty-one Bashilubemba were in attendance. And also in attendance was the then Principal Local Government officer, Nixon Nkwapu, Provincial inspector of Government transport, W. Wilombe and the Administrative officer, Kasama Municipal Council, Abias Sikamanga. I was subsequently recognized as Senior Chief Mwamba of the Bemba people through Statutory Instrument No. 93 of 2008.

 

For Hon.Nkandu Luo, to state with impunity that ‘I masquerade as Chief Mwamba’ is the worst type of an insult in Bemba customs

 

And since I was appointed by Bashilubemba and recognized by the state, therefore, Honourable Minister, to state with impunity that ‘I masquerade as Chief Mwamba’ is the worst type of an insult in Bemba customs, as Andrew Roberts pointed out, ‘Subordination is deeply ingrained in Bemba society, and it is not too much to say that mucinshi (respect, deference, propriety) is one of those essentially untranslatable key words which characterize a whole society,’’ (ibid., p.xxx).

I kept wondering day and night because I had all along believed for more than a decade that I was in good books with you, but suddenly strange things began to happen, i.e., that I was ‘’masquerading as Senior Chief Mwamba’’

I have just learned that the hatred arose after Africa Opportunity Co-ordination Organization Board in Nairobi wrote to me:

‘ With your royal position and high level of traditional knowledge and experience of the traditional norms and culture in Zambia, Africa AOCO board has appointed you to spearhead the formation of Pan African Development Committee in chiefdoms not only in Zambia, but in Africa as a whole.’

But since your preferred candidate was not picked up and so you decided to destroy me internationally.

The Know-it-All Mentality

A social anthropologist W. Brelsford wrote:

‘The system of Bemba succession is very intricate to the outsider and a study of it is essential. Unless we fully understand the flexibility of a system that attempts to satisfy the demands of such a large clan, many choices of successor may appear very puzzling.’’

On 21st June 2013, Honourable Minister, you said in Parliament ‘….we have a chief who was nominated without following a proper transfer system and was not initiated……….The withdrawal of Chief Mwamba from his position is based on the fact that he never served as Chief Nkolemfumu and also refused to be initiated traditionally…Mr. Speaker, Chief Mwamba refused to be initiated traditionally. Unsolicited, he went to Radio Mano to say he would not be initiated because that would conflict with his religious principles.’’

In fact, the truth is that you cannot think a traditional muddle clear: you have only to obey it clear. As Alexander Goldenweiser put it in his book, Anthropology:

An Introduction to Primitive Culture:

‘’What the anthropologist really deals with, then, is not the past but the present…people in general, and primitive in particular, do not think or analyze their culture__ they live it. It never occurs to them to synthesize what they live or reduce it to a common denominator, as it were.’’ (ibid., p.43).

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in customary matters you think yourself into cotton wool. The point is that in cultural norms, intellect or reason is not sufficient to explain strong elements of ritual nature. This is because ritual deals with objective realities and definite contents and demands. The moral law, of course, is an order of reason.

thereby permitting the objectivity impossible for the ignoramuses puffed up western accumulated book knowledge whose opinions and axioms are perverted.

However, reason is not able to create the concrete moral order out of its own depths without confrontation with outside reality. In this process, reason has only to judge whether certain modes of conduct are morally good or evil. On the other hand, conscience is not mere reason, because it is more than an executive agent of pre-existent moral law, whose only task is to apply the laws to concrete situations here and now. Conscience evidently is not identical with the power of the will, since man may will and do what is against his conscience. It is merely a feeling, because it deals with objective realities and definite contents and demands.

And in this respect, the mystical nature of chieftainship is an extraordinarily eclectic dissertation particularly valuable in that it allows western culture to view itself from the outside, thereby permitting the objectivity impossible for the ignoramuses puffed up western accumulated book knowledge whose opinions and axioms are perverted.

I had made the issue very clear on what you, Honourable Minister, refer to as ‘’proper transfer system’’ in The Saturday Post of 4th May 2013, where I quoted Brelsford:

‘Another guiding line is that there is no sequence of chiefly names leading to the Paramountcy, only relationships and a new Paramount may step up from being Mwamba or Nkula or from being a man with no earlier post. The sequence of Chitimukulu, Mwamba, Nkolemfumu, Mpepo need not necessarily be a permanent order of names to the Paramountcy.’

Why you decided to ignore the anthropologist’s version and went on to inform the Members of Parliament with your own wild and perverted opinions on matters in which you are not in the least qualified puts a lot of question marks on your motives.

Supreme court judgement

In the case between Chief Mpepo (also known as Ackson Chilufya Mwamba) and Senior Chief Mwamba (also known as Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba), the Supreme judges in their ruling said:

‘We relate to the procedure that is followed in the appointment of Paramount Chief Chitimukulu. The issue of what attributes or qualifications a candidate should have for him to be considered for Chitimukuluship is a matter best left to Bashilubemba to decide. The evidence of the plaintiff is that a Chitimukulu is appointed following the principle of ladder climbing, a candidate, on the ‘’Kasama’’ side, must start as Chief Mpepo, move to Chief Nkolemfumu and then to Senior Chief Mwamba before he can become Chitimukulu. In the process of ladder climbing, the plaintiff also brought to our attention the issue of seniority and stated that a nephew cannot supersede an uncle as was the position in this case.

‘While the foregoing proposition may be true in a normal situation, the evidence of the defendant brings out a situation where Bashilubemba may not strictly follow the principle of ladder climbing and seniority. The example of the late Chitimukulu Chitapankwa II, who held no chiefly office before ascendancy to Chitimukulu, has not been disputed and we are glad that the plaintiff’s counsel conceded that it was not a must that ladder climbing must always prevail.’’(p. J20 – 625).

It is difficult to understand why you, Honourable Minister, can dispute what a prominent lawyer such as Mr. Bonaventure Mutale, a State Counsel conceded to!

In the case of the late Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu Chilufya Mwango who had not gone through any initiation whatsoever at that time, the Supreme Court ruled:

‘’As we write this judgement, we are aware that the defendant has, by statutory instrument, been recognized as Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people by the President. Having affirmed the position that in the choice of a Chitimukulu Bashilubemba have a final say: that they are not restricted to the system of ladder climbing and seniority….in the circumstances, the defendant is the duly appointed Paramount Chief Chitimukulu by Bashilubemba’’ (p. J21 – 626).

 

I hope it is now clear to you, Honourable Minister, that initiation is not a condition for the recognition of a Bemba chief by the President.

How Nkandu Luo misled parliament

And on your statement in Parliament:

‘’Chief Mwamba refused to be initiated traditionally…Mr. Speaker, Chief Mwamba refused to be initiated traditionally. Unsolicited, he went to Radio Mano to say he would not be initiated because that would conflict with his religious principles.’’

 

Honourable Minister, I believe you should differentiate when you are talking about political issues which mostly involve in twisting the frame of the language and moral issues where authority should march with sincerity. In the first place Radio Mano broadcasts are limited within the radius of about 150 kilometers and Lusaka is about 850 kilometers and how did you manage to pick up that broadcast where I would not be ‘’ initiated because that would conflict with my religious principles.’’

In fact all programmes were being recorded for quick reference in case of queries and I had never uttered anything to that extent at any moment in my broadcasts. I would not even dare to declare such, since my predecessors, for example, Senior Chief Mwamba Mubanga Chipoya (1887- 1898); Bishop Joseph Dupont (popularly known as ‘’Motomoto) (1898- 1899); Senior Chief Mwamba Musenga (1946-1966); Senior Chief Mwamba Mubanga Chipoya II (1980-1996) and Senior Chief Mwamba Chilekwa Yambayamba (1997-2006) were all Catholics and I am one and I cannot therefore see how I have become more Christian that them. That statement was only the creation of your own evil fertile imagination that is bent to destroy me as a Bemba chief.

And again and again I had stated over and over in The Post of 30th March and 9th May 2013 and even Bashilubemba also stated the same thing that: ‘’I could not go through the rituals because my superior had only gone through the process almost at the end of his life and when I inquired after his demise, I was told that the rituals could only be performed after the burial.’’
And how you have suddenly become the ‘’super-expert’’ far beyond the collective traditional knowledge and experience of the seventy-three Bashilubemba on Bemba customs, norms and rituals is far beyond most of us to comprehend.

The unquestionable authority of Bashilubemba on Bemba issues which you do not recognize has been over-emphasized by all anthropologists and as Andrew Roberts wrote:

‘’furthermore, the values of chieftainship (which is the prerogative of the Bena Ng’andu) are principally affirmed and maintained by men who are not Bena Ng’andu at all. The Bakabilo and Bafingo of Chitimukulu have an interest, not so much in the ruling elite for its own sake, but as guardians of chieftainship and final arbiters of a man’s personal and ritual fitness to rule. The Bakabilo can be said to represent the Bemba as a people, not indeed against the Bena Ng’andu in general, but certainly against individual chiefs who appear unworthy of their office. Significantly, the Bashilubemba __ the senior Bakabilo __ like to speak of themselves simply as ‘ifwe ba Bemba,’ ‘we the Bemba’,’’ (ibid., p.19)

Supreme court judgement

In view of the above, let us look at J13 __618 of the Supreme Court judgement which reads:

‘’Alluding to the case of Ignatius Muhau Vs Attorney General and National Airports Corporation, a case founded on the principle of judicial review and where we said that the court cannot enquire into the merits or demerits of the decision made by a body with the power to make decision. Professor Mvunga, S,C., submitted that the decision of Bashilubemba would not be attacked on any ground of illegality, impropriety or unreasonableness in the Wednesbury sense……’’

The Issue of Selling Land

In August 2013, President Sata added another charge when he told Ambassador Bwalya Chiti that I had been de-gazetted because I had been illegally selling land.

Honourable Minister, you wrote to all Paramount chiefs; all Senior Chiefs and all Chiefs on the subject of: SELLING OF CUSTOMARY LAND:

‘’It has been brought to my attention that customary land is being sold on a daily basis by yourselves and village headmen, sometimes for very little money or in exchange of gifts such as secondhand or reconditioned vehicles…..’’

What is amazing is that out of 288 gazetted chiefs; perhaps thousands sub-chiefs and if not millions village headpersons, I am the only one singled out as having sold customary land and you subsequently recommended that I be de-gazetted.

Further deception by Nkandu Luo

And in the same way that you had misled the nation on my ‘’masquerading as Senior Chief Mwamba,’’ and Parliament on why ‘’I would not be initiated because that would conflict with my religious principles.’’ You also went on to mislead the Commissioner of Lands that I had not been gazetted but had only been acting as Senior Chief Mwamba.
And in turn the Commissioner of Lands in his letter dated 8th May 2013 to the Kasama Municipal Council Town Clerk wrote:

‘’It has been brought to my attention that Mr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala was sitting-in as Senior Chief Mwamba was in fact not recognized as chief by the Government and therefore had no mandate to give out land…….there must be an immediate repossession of all pieces of land which were illegally given under his hand.’’

My reply to the Commissioner of Lands in my letter of 16th instant was very simple:

‘’If I was not recognized, why then have I been de-gazetted as per Statutory Instrument No. 34 of 2013 dated 8th May 2013.’’

And what is amazing is that it is just too much of a coincidence that President Sata’s Statutory Instrument and the Commissioner of Land’s letter to the Town Clerk were both dated 8th May 2013 since they were written simultaneously.

It is very clear that, Honourable Minister you are by all means determined to secure my end by direct attack, to rush the field and win by any deceit. That was Biblical Samson’s way and it worked well except for one minor oversight; it slew the victor along with the vanquished.

How true are the words of President Kaunda:

‘’The world of power can so easily become a closed universe, cut off from the source of morality, generating a fraudulent morality of its own, driving men in directions which, in their better moments, they would not take.’’ (Letter to my Children p. 74).

Honourable Minister, I am a very reasonable person who does not do things haphazardly and therefore I had permission from the then Minister of local government and Housing, Honourable Tentamashimba. Kasama Municipal Council was negotiating with National Housing Authority for a project to build houses. And I was approached for the release of land at Kasama airport area. I, however, pointed out to them that it would be very unreasonable for me to release the land free without the Bemba Royal Establishment benefitting anything.

This was reported to the minister who invited me to Lusaka and I did point out that according to Land Act 1995, land has value and is that value the prerogative of Councils and our subjects only. I cited the example that if I gave ten hectares to a person and then he sold the same land for millions of kwacha, could that be reasonable! ‘’President Mwanawasa had insisted that chiefs would remain perpetually poor if they did not adopt the culture of venturing into businesses in order to bring development into their own chiefdoms.’’ And the only asset at our immediate disposal is land.

Honourable Tentamashimba advised me to negotiate with the councillors, but before we could draw the Memorandum of Understanding between the Kasama Municipal Council and the Bemba Royal establishment, the Minister rang and advised me to go it alone ‘’because the MMD cannot be empowering opposition-run councils.’’

Kicking Sand into our Eyes

‘’kicking sand into our eyes’’ and this was clearly demonstrated in Parliament on 21st June 2013, when in answer to Honourable Dr. Chituwo on the reasons for my de-gazetting, you said:

‘’ I should not create my own way of handling matters. According to the law that I am supposed to follow, the royal establishment chooses a chief who is initiated through customary tradition. In this case, we have a chief who was nominated without following a proper transfer system and was not initiated. In fact, to make things clearer, let me say that the people in the past created this problem. That is why when I was asked to comment on this issue, I threw the issue back to Bashilubemba and said that they should put their house in order so that they give us the right person through the right procedures.’’

Hon Nkandu Luo’s contempt for Bemba traditions and the Bemba people

In these words you expressed in no uncertain terms the contempt you have for the Bemba traditional system and indeed for the Bemba people. By your statement that ‘’the people in the past created this problem,’’ literally means that you have categorically stated that Bemba traditional system which has been in existence for over 200 years is a total collapsed system and that was why you as a ‘’cultural super-expert’’ had the duty to ask the ignorant Bashilubemba, ‘’to put their house in order so that they give us the right person through the right procedures,’’ further means, according to you since you are more of an expert than Bashilubemba, I am, personally, a total and complete right-off as far as succession to Bemba chieftainship is concerned.

I suppose your greatest problem is that you can contradict any authority, for example, Supreme judges in their ruling said:

‘’We relate to the procedure that is followed in the appointment of Paramount Chief Chitimukulu. The issue of what attributes or qualifications a candidate should have for him to be considered for Chitimukuluship is a matter best left to Bashilubemba to decide.’’

President Sata stated: ‘’Professor Luo should have a better understanding of the Bemba succession process since she hails from the royal family.’’ (The Post 9th May 2013). I have been wondering whether the President actually meant that Professor Luo ‘’should have a better understanding of the Bemba succession process,’’ than Bashilubemba.

And in order to revamp the collapsed Bemba traditional system you decided to appoint PF cadre-chiefs from Ngoshe Mukote lineage, and accordingly, Chileshe Yulaya Mumba (earmarked to be Chitimukulu) and Grimson Mwila have been gazetted as Bemba Chiefs i.e., Chewe (SI 126 of 2011 of 11th November 2011) and Chimbuka(SI 24 of 2013 of 28th February 2013), respectfully without even the slightest courtesy of notifying the Bemba Royal Establishment.

Honourable Minister, you contemptuously and deliberately ignored Bashilubemba who form the electoral college. And Andrew Roberts in this respect wrote:

‘’The senior Bakabilo are no mere servants of Chitimukulu, but are themselves the hereditary holders of historic titles, some as old as the Chitimukuluship itself. Since they are essential to the maintenance of chieftainship through their control of chiefly appointments and their responsibility for chiefly rituals, they are in a real sense the source of chiefly legitimacy.’’(ibid. p. 15).

Justice Gregory Phiri also talked about the importance of the electoral college, Hourable Minister, even in your Bisa traditional system when he nullified the appointment of Mr. Abnar Kakungu Mulenda as Chief Chibesakunda:

‘’In the court’s assessment, the royal embalmers, grave care-takers, the Shimwalule and Pumomwefu were vital traditional institutions and instruments of succession among the Bisa people and that no one should rise to the Chibesakunda throne without their involvement,’’ (Zambia Daily Mail 19th January 2002).

But you deliberately decided to ignore the Bemba electoral college, since it is a collapsed system.
Let me digress to point out that in the above case Mr. Harrison Chibesakunda sued as the complainant. However, in my case as in the case of ‘’selling land’’ I was the only one picked out of 288 gazetted chiefs and the state became the complainant and the executioner and totally ignored the explanations of Bashilubemba and myself as stated earlier that:

‘’I could not go through the rituals because my superior had only gone through the process almost at the end of his life and when I inquired after his demise, I was told that the rituals could only be performed after the burial.’’

Contradiction in appointment of PF cadre chiefs as Bemba chiefs

On the other hand, you told Parliament: ‘’….in the Bemba tradition, when a person is selected to be a chief, that person has to go through the traditional rituals before he can be called a chief. He is also given what are called the instruments of power, and the instruments of power in the Bemba Chiefdom are called Babenye.’’
Brelsford wrote:

‘’…..when Chitimukulu Makumba died, Chikwanda inherited the Paramountcy. He was successed as Chikwanda by Musungu, the younger brother of Bwalya Nkula. Chewe Mulenga wa cilaka died about 1912 and Bwalya Nkula obtained the relics (Babenye) without a war and then brought in his youngest brother Bwembya as Chewe.’’ (ibid,. p.30).

In the same way, Andrew Roberts wrote:

‘’Mulenga wa cilaka died in 1912, and as no successor could be found in his lineage, the Chewe title was taken in 1919 by Bwembya, a younger brother of Nkula…..when Bwembya became Chewe in 1919, he gave the relics of Chewe Mulenga wa cilaka to Nkula and they are still at Nkula’s…..’’(ibid,. pp. 361/2).

In view of the above, the questions are: Since you yourself told Parliament that ‘‘the instruments of power in Bemba chieftaincy are called Babenye.’’ And furthermore, Andrew Roberts wrote: ‘’Succession was controlled by a group of hereditary commoner priest-councillors (bakabilo), who decided the appointments, organized the rituals of burial and installation, supervised other rituals….’’ (ibid., p.310).

Since Babenye are at Nkula and the hereditary councilors who should have conducted the succession rituals were ignored, then, Honourable Minister, how valid (traditionally) are the appointments of chiefs Chewe and Chimbuka?

What is amazing is that Chiefs Chewe and Chimbuka who were not even sanctioned by the Bemba traditional appointing authority (i.e., Chitimukulu-in-council) as even specified by the Supreme Court; they have no babenye and were not traditionally initiated by Bashilubemba qualify to be gazetted, while on the other hand, I, Henry Kanyanta Sosala, sanctioned by Chitimukulu-in-council, comprehensively qualify to be de-gazetted!

How true are Dr. Kaunda’s words on abuse of power:

‘’The attraction of power is that it extends the range of a man’s personality and allows him to fulfill himself through the personality of others. Power enables men to multiply the impact of their personalities on the world and other men. Hence it is often the source of pride and arrogance. People in power use the vast power at their disposal to mould the lives of the subjects to the point where they cease to be free persons and become, as it were, limbs and organs of their bodies; there will expressed through theirs and their voices speaking through their mouths.’’ (ibid. p. 72).

In the same way, the Chiluba regime ignored Chitimukulu-in-council as the only legitimate appointing authority of Bemba chiefs and recognized Mr. Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba as ‘’Senior Chief Mwamba’’ under Statutory Instrument 102 of 2000 dated 3rd October 2000. However, the Supreme Court Judgement No. 25 of 2008 between Chief Mpepo (also known as Ackson Chilufya Mwamba) Appellant And Senior Chief Mwamba (also known as Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba) respondent ruled that ‘’It was wrong for former President Chiluba to recognize the plaintiful as Senior Chief Mwamba because that was against the wishes and decision of the Paramount Chief-in-council and therefore a contravention of Section 3 of the Chiefs’ Act.

It was pointed out that there was no dispute at trial that the appointing authority of chiefs subordinate to Chitimukulu was the Paramount Chief-in-council and not the President of Zambia or indeed the High Court of Zambia. In this view, the President should have referred the matter to the Paramount Chief-in-council for review and hence customary law was not followed.’’ (p. J 11- 616)

The Chiluba regime’s strategy was to break up the unity and allegiance to the paramountaincy and create a weak Bemba multi-chiefdom tribe that could easily be scrapped. And the first step was to give motor vehicles to some subordinate chiefs so that they could sever their allegiance from Mwinelubemba and thus weaken Bemba power. And in the same way that you want to pass-on the paramountaincy to Ngoshe Mukote lineage.

Historic facts on Ngoshe Mukote Lineage.

In 2000, Mwinelubemba Mutale Chitapankwa II assigned me the task to research and compile comprehensive data on insurgent groupings that had emerged and whose aims were to revive the old lineages and alter the present Bemba hierarchy. These were: Ichinga Council i.e., claiming the chiefdom of Nkula in Chinsali District; Ituna Traditional Council which supported the government-sponsored ‘’Senior Chief Mwamba’’ alias Mr. Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba in Kasama District. And the Restoration of Kaliminwa Chiefdom in Mpolokoso District.

In 2002, Chitimukulu-in-Council promoted me from Chief Mpepo to Senior Chief Nkula. Chileshe Yulaya Mumba raised an order of interlocutory injunction that first sought to restrain me from succeeding to the throne of Senior Chief Nkula; second to restrain Mwinelubemba Mutale Chitapankwa II from appointing me as Senior Chief Nkula and third to restrain Chief Mukwikile who was then the acting Chief from entering Nkula village and to act as caretaker of Nkula chieftaincy.

Mr. Justice J.A. Banda made the following ruling on 9th December 2002: ‘’…the application is dismissed and the earlier order of interim injunction stands discharged and the costs are awarded to defendants..’’ Chileshe Yulaya Mumba has since failed to pursue the determination of the main court.

The case of Ituna traditional Council is the one that was dealt with by Supreme Court and from which I have intensively quoted. In the Kaliminwa case, a complaint was raised against the Bemba Royal Establishment with the Permanent Human Rights Commission and in August 2000, an enquiry was held before the Supreme Court Judge Lombe Chibesakunda, sitting with two commissioners, Messrs Lavu Mulimba and John Shakulanda at Kasama. The claims were rejected.

Bemba history has shown that in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and more specially during the reigns of Chitimukulu Chileshe Chepela and Chitapankwa, the Bemba political system was transformed from a congeries of chiefdoms ruled by different branches royal clans into the hegemony of one such branch in which Imiti lineage has maintained and extended its influence.
Andrew Roberts wrote: ‘’The distribution of power had been achieved through almost a century of dynastic conflict and manipulation.’’ (ibid. p. 174).

And indeed eventually Bemba power has now concentrated in a small group of closely related royals and their agnatic kins. And most Bemba scholars have come to the general consensus that this was what provided the most effective basis for the spectacular expansion of Bemba power as being experienced today. And as Andrew Roberts noted: ‘’Besides, no other chiefly clan in the region has gained such power for its tribe as the Bena Ng’andu (the royal clan).’’

Chewe Yulaya Mumba wrote to the Secretary to the Cabinet on 2nd July 2004, on what he termed: ‘’Brief History of Ngoshe Mukote Chiefdom of Ichinga.’’ In the introduction of that letter, he stated: ‘’Mr. Secretary Sir, I have great honour to explain to you the brief history of the Bemba’s of Ichinga and our succession lineage of Ngoshe Mukote’s clan.

We originated from Luba and I am the descendant of Chilufya Mulenga, the daughter of Mukulumpe, whose sons were Nkole, Katongo, Chiti and one daughter by the name of Chilufya Mulenga. Then Chilufya Mulenga, the queen mother to Ngoshe Mukote (the queen) and Chilufya of two bows (ichamata yabili) meaning the one who succeeded his two uncles Nkole and Chiti at once.’’

He went on to state that he others held meetings with government officials with a view of claiming back the Nkula throne from Imiti lineage back to Ngoshe Mukote. He mentioned the people as: Chimbuka, David Mutolo Kabungo, Cosamu Chewe, Julius Sekwila, Harry Chimfwembe Kape, R.R. Kayame and Kacheche.’’

It is clear that Chewe Yulaya Mumba did not understand what others were sayings in their meetings about the origins of Queen mother Ngoshe Mukote because he is very unreasonably arrogant. And had he understood the contents of Cossam Chewe’s memorandum dated 7th February 1981, he could not have attached it to his letter to the Secretary to the Cabinet.

Cossam Chewe stated in his memorandum that the members of the Ngoshe Mukote lineage are descendants of Mwenya, the first wife of Mukulumpe and her son was Muleba who was the leader of their trek, apart from the one that was led by Chiti and Nkole. And these he claims are Luba, while the descendants of Mumbi Mukasa whom he claims to be the second wife are Bena Ng’andu. And this clearly contradicts the utterances by Mr. Yulaya Chewe.

This, Honourable Minister, means you are dealing with a cheat because your preferred Chitimukulu doesn’t even know his royal origins, since the contents of Cossam Chewe’s memorandum corroborate with what anthropologists have written because there is a general consensus that the title of the chiefdom in Ichinga, now known as Nkula in Chinsali District was originally called Katongo. And Katongo of this title was the blind brother of Chiti and Nkole who later followed them from Kola (Andrew Roberts pp. 67/88 and Brelsford in Aspects of Bemba Chieftainship p. 9)

In that lineage Namfumu Ngoshe Mukote was said to have been a half-sister of Katongo whom he brought when he finally followed his brothers here. This is because historically Mumbi Mukasa had three sons, namely Katongo, Nkole and Chiti and a daughter Chilufya Mulenga whom their half-brother Kapasa seduced and bore Chilufya wa mata yabili.

The name of the royal mother Ngoshe Mukote does not appear anywhere in the origins of Bemba chieftainship nor in the legend of migration. However, Namfumu Ngoshe Mukote appears in history at the beginning of 1800s from the composite genealogy based on Reverend Paul Mushindo, Sewuka and Mutashya (Roberts p. 83).

In this respect Andrew Roberts continued: ‘’So after Katongo became Chitimukulu, his sister’s son, Kamponge, who was also called Chewe, was about to take over the chieftainship when he was challenged by Katongo’s son, Masaye. This man wanted a brother of Kamponge to succeed but Kamponge defeated his opponent. He took the name Nkula (‘kukula’ to pull) because Masaye in trying to obtain the chiefly relics had dragged Kamponge out of the hut by the leg.’’ (Ibid. pp 90/91).

Witchcraft Disintegrated Ngoshe Mukote Lineage

It was the practice of witchcraft which brought about the disintegration of the house of Ngoshe Mukote. Andrew Roberts wrote: ‘’Kamponge died soon after Chitimukulu Chileshe Chepela (1860) and a great dispute broke out over the succession.

Chikabola a holder of a minor Ng’andu title of Kabungo and probably a nephew of Kamponge claimed the Nkula title, but he was suspected of having killed Kamponge and Chimfwembe duly succeeded him. But he also soon died and again foul play was suspected and one faction asked Chitimukulu Chitapankwa to make an appointment. Meanwhile another faction led by Nsunge, a son of Chimfwembe approached Mwaba, the chief of a nearby Nkulungwe and invited him to succeed and this infuriated Chitapankwa who had already been irritated by Mwaba’s pretensions.

Kabungo again laid claim to the Nkula title but was rejected. And none of Chimfwembe’s nephews were thought fit to rule, so Chitapankwa installed as a regent his daughter Mande Namuseye.’’ (ibid. p. 134).

Situation Analysis

I’ll at this point digress in order to give a clear understanding of how different procedures and strategies have proved to be the new interpretation of Bemba traditionalism. It’s only through situational analysis that we can be able to understand the Bemba political system in action and reaction. And that is why the axiom ‘’history makes custom’’ is often quoted in Bemba politics.
But unfortunately, the Ngoni tribesmen invaded Bembaland at the time when Princess Mande Namusenga was a regent of Ichinga. The traditional name of Ichinga means ‘’barrier or fence to keep out the enemy forces.’’ Andrew Roberts enlightens us on the situation: ‘’Meanwhile, the Ngoni recruited support from among the Lungu, Mambwe, Namwanga and Iwa. They returned to Manga with a large force and launched a successful attack, in which they killed Mukukamfumu II Kasonde, a sister of Chitapankwa and captured her daughter Mwango Chonya also known as Chimbabantu. Makasa himself fled west to his son Changala’s village, while the Ngoni occupied Manga and built a village of their own, Chipekeni.’’ (ibid. p.145).

It is evident that Chitimukulu Chitapankwa was in quandary, because his daughter could not be in a position to mobilize and direct the army to fight such a strong army on her own; second, he could not recall the royals from the house of Ngoshe Mukote who had only proved to be very irresponsible witches and third, he was afraid of a bad omen if he installed a relative from Imiti lineage to take-over from Ngoshe Mukote lineage.

And from the outset, the situation was really tense and demanding. The remark by a social anthropologist becomes significant in a situation as such: ‘’Whenever there was a Bemba chief, there was effective rule’’ (Brelsford in Tribes of Zambia p. 31). However, Chitapankwa did eventually come up with a workable solution that successfully solved the problem both politically and militarily.
We have already seen that when Kamponge succeeded his uncle Katongo, the chiefdom came to be known by his praise-name ‘’Nkula’’ and his other name ‘’Chewe’’ i.e., Nkula-Chewe. So Chitapankwa split the Nkula-Chewe chiefdom into two i.e., Nkula and Chewe. The area of Nkula retained the traditional name of Ichinga and was given to Imiti lineage. Andrew Roberts wrote: ‘’Chitapankwa sent his sister’s son Mutale Shichansa giving him his daughter Mande (the regent) in marriage. Mutale became Nkula I in 1870’’ (ibid.p.136).

The other chiefdom of Chewe remained in the hands of Ngoshe Mukote lineage and was given the traditional name of Ituntwe i.e., ‘’from Ku-tuntumana – come in crowds, because there were good trees there.’’ So Nkula belongs to Imiti lineage and Chewe which is self-contained belongs to Ngoshe Mukote lineage and these lineages are autonomous, but are held together by common affinity to Chitimukulu.(In the same self-contained family line-up category are also Chimbola, Nkweto and Shimumbi chiefdoms).

On the other hand, we have a report that corroborates with the above which was compiled by M.J. Otter a District Office of Chinsali on 9th November 1924 when he met the members of the Ngoshe Mukote lineage who were claiming the throne of Nkula at Musapa village. (The minutes are available).

Article 2 of the report refers to the then Chinsali District Officer, Young around 1898: ‘’Mr. Young, seeing Chikwanda, divided the Ichinga country, he nominated Chikwanda to be chief of a part of it and Kafwanka to be of the other part i.e., called Chikwanda/Nkula thus the country came under two chiefs – one, Chikwanda (Nkula of the Mukuka branch), the other Kafwanka (Chewe of the Ngoshe branch).’’

However, the final report after the meeting that was sent by H.G. Willis to the Secretary for Native Affairs dated 18th December 1924 dismissed the Ngoshe Mukote’s claim to the throne of Nkula .

Andrew Roberts wrote: ‘’Mulenga wa cilaka died in 1912 and no successor could be found in his lineage, the Chewe title was taken in 1919 by Chewe Bwembya. And he gave the relics of Ngoshe lineage to Nkula IV.’’ (Chewe Bwembya was from the Mukukamfumu lineage).

What is amazing is that no successors could be found for 58 years (i.e., 1912-1970) when at last Julius Sekwila and his brother Chileshe Yulaya Mumba suddenly came on the scene from nowhere and began to masquerade as genuine senior royal family members in the Ngoshe Mukote lineage and with no royal family trees and began to claim for senior positions in Bemba chieftaincy .

The former who lived in Kitwe gained public notice in 1970/71 when he claimed the Chitimukuluship. (Zambia News, 27th September 1970);(Times of Zambia 31st May 1972 and 4th June 1971). However he was unable to travel to Kasama when BashiLubemba summoned him to go and present his family tree.

You’ll note from M.J. Otter’s report that Chewe chiefdom was ruled by consort Kaonga who was married to the royal mother called Sekwila who was most probably Kafwanka’s sister until 1934 when Bwembya of the Mukukamfumu lineage took over.

W.V. Brelsford in Succession wrote: ‘’It was in 1937 when Bwembya moved to be Chikwanda III, the Superior Native Authority abolished the post of Chewe and Nkula absorbed the area..’’(ibid. p. 90). In 1944 there was a thoroughly reorganization of the Bemba chieftainships since there were about forty chiefdoms and some which only consisted of ten villages and then through a scheme that was drawn by the Provincial Commissioner, Gilbert Howe, which involved the amalgamation of chiefdoms which as a result reduced Bemba chiefdoms to only eighteen and Chewe chiefdom became part of Nkula.

But note that since 1937 when Bwembya left, there was no one from Ngoshe Mukote lineage who had attempted to claim the throne of sub-chief Chewe until 1999 when Senior Chief Nkula VIII invited Chileshe Yulaya Mumba to become sub-chief Chewe.

According to Chileshe Yulaya Mumba’s affidavit in support of summons for an interim injunction submitted to the High Court registrar on 19th September 2002 and prepared by Messrs. M.L. Mukande & company, article 5 reads: ‘’That I depose to the contents of this my affidavit knowing the same to be true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.’’

He, however, lamentably failed to present a reasonable family tree in support of the affidavit of the aforesaid injunction. A family tree is the only ladder to the acquisition of Bemba chieftaincy. But you can see that Yulaya Mumba’s fake family tree does not even show his own name or where he fits in as a member of the Ngoshe Mukote royal family.

In fact he was appointed single-handed as sub-chief Chewe by Senior Chief Nkula VIII (Mr. Victor Ng’andu), without the rigorous scrutiny of his family tree by Bashilubemba and his inclusion in the Bemba chieftainship was always a source of conflict between Mwinelubemba Mutale Chitapankwa II and his younger brother.

It is evident that his appointment was not sanctioned by Chitimukulu-in-council because the letters of introduction of all appointed chiefs originate from Ulubemba and are signed by Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu in office. And yet the letter to the Council Secretary of Chinsali District Council dated 20th June 2000 was written by Senior Chief Nkula, who is not even a member of the Bemba appointing authority (i.e., Chitimukulu-in-council). And indeed Yulaya Mumba has no royal origins because even his sponsor merely wrote of his family background: ‘’He is the last born in the Queen of Ngoshe MukoteChiefdom.’’

Honourable Minister, you categorically told Parliament, ‘’ I should not create my own way of handling matters. According to the law that I am supposed to follow……’’ And therefore ‘’according to the law you follow,’’ it is amazing that you did not notice anything amiss in family trees presented to you by Grimson Mwila and Chileshe Yulaya Mumba and hence their eventual recognition.

The greatest problem is your inconsistency or short memory because according to The Post newspaper of 1st May 2013, you were quoted as having said that it was Queen mother Chandamukulu who appoints Chitimukulu and you wondered what would happen since Chandamukulu had just died.

And to the contrary, you were again quoted in The Post of 3rd October 2013 as having said that it was Queen mother Ngoshe Mukote who appoints Chitimukulu. The already quoted Supreme Court’s judgement in part reads:’’…. Besides, what the evidence failed to establish is the role of Chandamukulu, the Queen Mother (including Mukukamfumu, the Queen for Chinsali side), in the selection process of Chitimukulu and the chiefs below Chitimukulu.’’

After meeting the members of Ngoshe Mukote family on 9th November 1924 who were claiming the Nkula throne, the colonial District Commissioner, H.G. Willis wrote to the Secretary for Native Affairs on 18th December 1924: ‘’..I agree that Ngoshe Mukote branch of the family has no good claim, they had been driven away many years before the Government came and to revive such claims is impossible.’’ Honourable Minister, how have you managed to decipher what was ‘’impossible’’ after eighty-nine (89) years (i.e., 1924-2013)?

The Supreme Court judges only mentioned ‘’…Mukukamfumu for Chinsali side,’’ because there was absolutely no evidence of any trace of the existence of Queen Ngoshe Mukote in Chinsali District since that lineage became extinct at about 1867. The two questions are: what are the sources from which you obtained such false historic information.

And second, who has since been appointing Chitimukulus for the past one hundred years? It would certainly be hard to find in the Zambian political history, a more tragic case study on abuse of positional power than the story of your case, Honourable Professor Nkandu Luo.

American President Abraham Lincoln was right in his claim that you cannot fool the people at all times. And that the most costly mistake a leader can make is to underestimate the people’s capacity to discover that they are being duped.

And indeed, every form of oppression begets its own resistance; every injustice spurns its own freedom fighters because surely no Bemba can ever view with equanimity such taunts and provocations against h/her tribe. It is therefore my moral responsibility as the most senior member of the Bemba royal family never to make a butchery of my conscience, but to instill into the hearts and minds of the Bemba people the fearlessness and resolute firmness spirit of Bemba culture; to uphold Bemba values and consciousness and be ever-ready to stand on guard for Bemba sovereignty which is sacrosanct.

And as Andrew Roberts put it: ‘’Amid the upheavals of the twentieth century, the Bemba have retained a sense of corporate continuity and communal pride through the survival of their political structure, a living testimony of their imperial past.’’ (ibid., p. 292).

Epilogue

I cannot hesitate to state that by this letter, I am stepping on the landmine because deducing from the foregoing you are more than ever determined to destroy me physically, morally, politically and spiritually since I am the only great obstacle in your recent constituted Bisa nationalism with the strategic evil plan of transferring the Bemba paramountcy to Chileshe Yulaya Mumba, a man of common stock and therefore reduce the Bemba tribe to nothingness.

‘’The nail that sticks up gets pounded down,’’ says the famous Japanese proverb. I would state that indeed, Honourable Minister, you temporarily have all the state machinery at your disposal to deal ruthlessly with me, but I have confidence in the Justice of the Living and Almighty God.

An ancient scholar, Eliphaz said, ‘’God upsets the plans of the crafty, so that nothing they try seems to succeed. He traps the wise in their own schemes and what they thought would succeed, doesn’t.’’ (Job 5: 12, 13). And the great physicist, Albert Einstein once said, ‘’God doesn’t play dice.’’

You can vehemently deny with your lungs out but the reality on the ground falls entirely within the passage from Atkins Court, 2nd ed., Vol. 25, which states that ‘’…the scope of the defense of justification does not depend upon the way in which the plaintiff pleads his case, but on the meaning or meanings which words are capable of bearing’’ In other words, ‘’Actions speak louder than words.’’

HENRY KANYANTA SOSALA
MWINELUBEMBA CHITIMUKULU KANYANTA-MANGA II

Cc Archbishop Telesphor Mpundu, Lusaka
Archbishop Ignatius Chama, Kasama
Bishop Charles Kasonde, Solwezi

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