The Zambia police yesterday denied the Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) a ‘permit’ to hold a sensitisation meeting on Sunday 8th April 2018 at Mongu’s Blue Gums ground.
No proper reasons were given by the police for blocking the intended meeting but they told the BNFA to go to court if the so wish as police would continue blocking their applications to hold public meetings.
The BNFA have notified police several times to hold sensitization meetings following their participation at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) for Zambia in Geneva on October 10, 2017. However, police have relentlessly denied the Barotse self-determination movement ‘permission’ to hold any meeting. The public order act only requires that police be notified about an organisations’ intention to hold meetings,
The BNFA has lamented in a statement that other Zambian organisations that participated in the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva on 10th October last year have been allowed to hold sensitisation meetings without hindrance from the police. The BNFA has since called on the people of Barotseland (Western Province) to fight for their right to self-determination.
‘The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights allows us, as a people to choose our own political status and to determine our own form of economic, cultural and social development. This is Barotseland’s only option after the unilateral abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement 1964,’ reads part of the statement released by the BNFA Publicity wing.
Meanwhile the Barotse Imilema (BI) an affiliate member of the BNFA has filed a legal suit against the Mongu Police Commanding Officer, a Mr Chipasha for stopping them from putting of regalia branded ‘I love Barotseland.’
BNFA Youth Chairperson Lutangu Sinonge has contended that Chipasha and the Zambia police have no right to prohibit the Barotse Imilema and BNFA from wearing their regalia.
Sinonge was recently summoned to Mongu Central Police where he was interrogated by 4 officers including the Commanding Officer, Chipasha and was asked to tell the police who procured the regalia, where it was produced and for what purpose to which he responded that the regalia was meant to create awareness on Barotseland’s fight for independence.
Chipasha however claimed that the regalia was offensive to the police and that it posed a danger to public safety and further stated that the BI’s symbol of crossed hands was extremely distasteful as it ‘arouses public resentment’ against the Zambian state.