Linyungandambo gives conditions for dialogue over Barotseland impasse

The Linyungandambo freedom fighting movement of Barotseland has given conditions for them to participate in the recently announced dialogue with the Zambian government over the Barotseland impasse.
Among the conditions is the release of Linyungandambo leader Afumba Mombotwa and his two colleagues currently serving 10 year jail terms in Northern Zambia if the Zambian government is sincere with their gesture to dialogue.
They have also demanded for decriminalisation of all matters related to Barotseland including those related to the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964 and the 2012 Barotseland National Council (BNC) resolutions under which it was resolved to revert Barotseland to its pre-1964 status.
They have wondered how the Zambian government expects people of Barotseland to dialogue on a matter that they (Zambia) consider a crime.
‘How are we expected to freely discuss what the Zambian government considers a crime in the presence of their heavily armed force? Reads part of the communiqué released on 3rd May 2018 and signed by all Linyungandambo affiliate organisations.
Another demand is that all active and on-going court processes, warrants of arrests and manhunts issued on any Barotse people over Barotseland related matters must be forthwith be unconditionally withdrawn.
It is also demanded that the dialogue be held on neutral ground with independent observers who should include the Church, the International community, United Nations, SADC, Commonwealth, EU, International Human Rights Watchdogs and the media.
They have also demanded that the dialogue must not be between the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the government of Zambia but should rather be between the Litunga of Barotseland, his council, the chiefs, and the people of Barotseland on one part and the government of Zambia on the other, as the case was when negotiating and finally signing the 1964 Agreement.
They have pointed out that dialogue between the BRE and government will be tantamount to the Zambian government talking to itself as the former was a creation of the Zambian government but should rather only serve as facilitators.
Linyungandambo has also maintained that the 2012 BNC resolutions must form the only basis of any present and future dialogue with the Zambian state as all other matters are now rudimentary to it.
‘The 2012 BNC, being the most recent PIZO (People’s council), mandated the Barotse Government to engage in a dialogue process on matters pertaining to a peaceful and successful disengagement of our two nations and peoples. As such we are not prepared to waste time discussing any frivolities about dead issues,’ reads part of the communiqué.
They have stressed that they are confident that the above conditions are not vexatious but favourable with the Zambian state, bearing in mind that the Zambian government was the first to frustrate the peaceful and harmonious co-existence with Barotseland by unilaterally annulling the only instrument designed to be the basis of any future unity between Barotseland and independent Zambia.
Linyungandambo has however warned that its desire to amicably and peacefully negotiate the current altercation with Zambia does not mean they will not explore any other means necessary to achieve their objective if the preferred option fails.

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