Afumba Mombotwa, the leader of Linyungandambo, one of the freedom fighting movements in Barotseland is still marooned at Mwembeshi prison with three other colleagues four months after they were committed to the Kabwe High Court. The Watchdog understands that the freedom fighters are refusing to be tried by a Zambian court.
Meanwhile, international lawyers engaged by Linyungandambo are said to have filed papers against Zambia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Wednesday 20th May 2015.
The other team of international lawyers (Dugue & Kirtley) engaged by the Barotseland National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) is said to be lobbying Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom to assist the former British protectorate of Barotseland challenge Zambia before international bodies.
The Litunga signed the documents for the ICJ last week before they were taken this week.So far he has refused to corporate with president Edgar Lungu to denounce the secession idea.
Due to the tension between the Zambian government and the Barotseland, the Kuomboka ceremony has been cancelled this year for the third time in the PF government’s four years in power. See details here http://www.zambianwatchdog.com/no-kuomboka-for-third-year-under-pf/
In the past and when there was harmony in the region, the Kuomboka was conducted even if the water levels were low as long as the Nalikwanda (that ugly big boat) could sail. Maybe the Litunga should ask Chief Monze to donate a modern boat for the next Kuomboka.
Afumba Mombotwa and the three co accused were arrested on 5th December 2014 in Sesheke on their way to Livingstone after the Zambia police was informed that they were in the area after holding a meeting with Senior Chief Inyambo Yeta at Mwandi Palace.
The four were committed to the Kabwe High Court on a charge of treason and sedition by the Mumbwa Magistrate Court on 26th January 2015 and should have been relocated to Kabwe but are still at Mwembeshi Prison as the Zambian government seems not to know what to do with them.
Worse still is that the four have made it clear that they will not appear before any Zambian court unless their international lawyers advise them.
Charges are that on dates between 1st March 2012 and 2nd August 2013 while in Sioma District of Western Province and jointly acting together with other unknown persons, the four, Afumba Mombotwa, Masiye Masiyaleti, Likando Pelekelo and Sylvester Kalima Inambao allegedly attempted to secede Western Province from Zambia.
Afumba was a member of the technical committee that presented submissions from all districts of Barotseland to the Barotseland National Council which voted to accept Zambia’s refusal to respect the 1964 Barotseland Agreement, a move which could have allowed Barotseland to remain a part of Zambia with semi autonomy as enshrined in the 1964 treaty.
Barotseland activist groups and the Kuta are now pursuing ways to peacefully disengage from Zambia.
The Watchdog is informed that a team of international lawyers engaged by Linyungandambo flew to The Hague in the Netherlands on Wednesday 20thMay 2015 to file in documents before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Zambia.
The other team of international lawyers (Dugue & Kirtley) engaged by the Barotseland National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) have lobbied the assistance of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth of Britain to assist the former British protectorate of Barotseland challenge Zambia before international bodies.
Information filtering through suggests that President Lungu is under pressure from the international community and Zambia risks sanctions.
‘The President consulted President Mugabe of Zimbabwe on the issue and was advised to respect the demands as Zambia cannot stand sanctions even for two weeks, that’s why he wrote the people in Barotseland that he was ready to resolve the matter but other ministers have warned him with impeachment should he allow Barotseland to disengage from Zambia,’ a source close to the government said.
Meanwhile the third deadline given to Zambia to respond to the submissions by Barotseland to the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) lapsed on 5TH May 2015 with no counter submission from Zambia.
This is the third time that Zambia has failed to respond despite making requests for time to do so. The ACHPR is an organ of the African Union based in Banjul, Gambia. It was during one of the meetings in Banjul that Given Lubinda as Foreign Affairs Minister was accused of betraying Zambia and was subsequently dropped by late President Sata.
Last week a team of Barotse activists made submissions before the United Nations mission in Botswana.