Sata’s new districts in Barotseland meant to further undermine traditional leadership

Although the creation of new districts is construed to be well intended for the enhanced administration and development of Zambia, the move has a concealed ill intention to weaken further and undermine the local traditional system and alienate it from the people even much further.

This way government wants to be able to reduce the powers and influence of the traditional rulers.

In case of Western Province the new districts have been targeted to coincide with the main traditional royal establishments: Limulunga, Nalolo and Mwandi.  The main idea is to put an end to the power and influence of the Litunga and his subordinate local Chiefs so that their call for the restoration of the Barosteland Agreement or seccession becomes completely irrelevant|

To an un-discerning person, the move by Michael Chilufya Sata to create new districts in Western Province, is indication of the President’s goodwill and love towards the People of Western Province. This view point may seem logical since the President has done the same by creating a new province of Muchinga where he hails from; and there also new districts have been created in order to lay foundation for “an enhanced and efficient decentralized development of the country “.

Alas, the motive is completely different for Western Province!

In Western Province, the centers earmarked for establishment of administrative districts include 1) Limulunga 2) Nalolo 3) Mwandi.

These three happen to be the nerve centers of Barotseland. The three are the main headquarters of the Lozi Royal establishments. It looks likely that Namayula, and Naliyele will soon be announced as well!

The motive for establishing, a district at Limulunga, barely 15 km from Mongu BOMA cannot have any other well intention other than to mete the final blow to extinguish the Litungaship. A district council under the current arrangement is headed by the district commissioner at a district level. And a district council at Limulunga will be run by the district commissioner. The Litunga in Limulunga will be reduced to a senior citizen or at best a Chief resident at Limulunga under these arrangements, with no role to play when it comes to the administration of the council

Similarly, Chief Inyambo Yeta at Mwandi will have little say in district council matters, since elected counselors and the Town Clerk will administer all council matters. The Chief may or may not be consulted at all. Consulting him will now remain a discretion of the council officers.

Historically however, our traditional chiefs are the custodians not only of our land, but even for the local governance and judicial system of our traditional setups. Our traditional Chiefs not only fought for the land but they stood in defense so that our land was not taken away from us by invaders.  Today modern society sees traditional chiefs as irrelevant and not worthy the honor that should be accorded to them. We seem to forget that, without these chiefs who stood many times in defense of this land, today there would be no Zambia to talk about at all. In fact without these Chiefs we do not have an identity as a people.

It becomes obvious therefore, that the true custodian of the land in Zambia is the local traditional Chief. In my view, the Zambian constitution should actually reflect this and return the custody of land, from a politically elected president with a finite term of only a few years, to the traditional rulers, the traditional chiefs who have a perpetual lifetime term of office and are in fact the ones with a historical interest to our land. It is so much of an anomaly and shock for one when once elected into office as president he becomes the custodian of all land and natural resources of Zambia. No wonder politicians will not hesitate to sale out land to foreigners.

Let it be clear to everyone that these Chiefs as primitive as they may seem to be; as powerless (without an army) as they may be; as poor as we have all along come to make them by taking away from them the national cake, they represent our identity as a people. The difference between the Kolwestans and the people of Barotseland lies in the traditions and norms of their cultures. This is the Zambia the real Africa that we talk about. Zambia the real Africa is not about animals only; but rather it is about a diversity of traditions and cultures as well. Without each one of us recognizing this diversity and respecting the other for what they are, this nation called Zambia will soon cease to be a unitary state as we know it today.

For Western Province, the President has to do more consultations with the local people. Let the people suggest to government where new districts may be created! We understand that he has promised the Litunga more than just to protect him. However, it is not probable that our King has in exchange for this protection given away his royalty and his birthright. Mr. Sata must know that the Litunga, as much as he is King, he is also a servant of the people of Barotseland. He does not own the people, but the people own him. For 30 years while in captivity under the Kololo rule at Lukwakwa the people of Barotseland protected the Litunga. Sebitwane although he ruled Barotseland, could not subdue it completely so as to be able to capture the Lozi King. The people sacrificed their lives to protect and defend their King. Therefore any agreement entered into with the Litunga if it is not in the interest of the people can be nullified by the people in council (the Kuta).

It is not the Litunga who represents the people; rather the people represent the Litunga. That’s why he does not speak in public!. The Ngambela speaks on his behalf and on behalf of the people. Please Mr. President, know and understand this well. It will help you in the way you deal with the Litunga. Yes he may get alms that you give to him personally, and enjoy them! – but such alms cannot buy the royalty of the people of Barotseland.

The creation of councils to run the affairs of our traditional palaces is not a welcome conceived move as it interferes with authority of the Litunga and that of our traditional chiefs. The creation of these districts also takes away the authority of the traditional rulers over their land as this will pass to be under the control of the district councils so created. There is no law in Zambia that allows a president to unilaterally grab traditional land from Chiefs without people’s due consent. This move by Mr. Sata to create District councils over traditional palaces is dictatorial. Zambia is a democracy and dictatorship cannot be tolerated. All well-meaning Zambians will stand and fight this!

Already, the situation in Western Province is so polarised with the people calling for the restoration of the Barosteland Agreement. President Sata tricked the people of Western Province to vote for him campaigning that once in power he would restore the Barotseland Agreement.

Now that he is in office he has turned round and now wants to mete the last blow to finish once and for all any reference to the Lozi dynasty. He has even sent his soldiers with instructions to kill anyone who says “ fa..’ or “fale …” , in other words anyone who speaks Lozi in western province or all the native people in the province. What kind of a leader would have so much hatred for his own people?

His appointments to positions in his government are proof enough of this hatred of other tribes.

Sata however, forgets that he is not a Chief of Muchinga Province but a president of the Republic of Zambia – a multicultural nation with over 72 tribes. A president is a father to the nation, he is supposed to be the unifying factor for all the tribes in the country. The prosperity of one tribe and even that of all tribes is supposed to be his concern. It is only when all the tribes or the people of Zambia prosper the he can be regarded as a successful leader. Prosperity for himself and his family alone may not guarantee him success as a republican leader.

 

The tribal differences that we so much talk about ourselves are not visible in the eyes of those who observe us from afar. That is why the Europeans classified us all as Bantu; on account of the similarities that we present in the eyes of an outsider. It would be good therefore for us to also observe these similarities and capitalize on them as a unifying factor. In actual fact all tribes in Zambia share so much in common. We have the same problems of poverty, hunger, lack of shelter, and because we even share the natural environment and resources. We also share the calamities of disease, drought, famine and everything else, together!…

 

Why should there be so much hatred….? I wish to argue those well-meaning Zambians that surround our President to pump some sense in him. There is no possibility that one day this country will be for Bembas alone – Or that by presidential manipulation all Bembas will be rich and everyone else will be enslaved to them… Such kind of thinking is trash! God provides opportunity to all… And he will provide an appropriate opportunity to all – even to the marginalized!

 

The efforts by government to silence the people of Western Province date as far back as soon before the ink dried on the signed Barotse Agreement documents. The referendum of 1969 was manipulation of Government, followed by the local government act of 1972.. Soon afterwards in 1975/6 several lozi women were killed under the hand of the so called (supposedly a tall Lozi man – Munukayumbwa Sipalo), a strangler who went round in Lusaka killing only Lozi women from Western Province. A lozi man, killing lozi women!

 

The said strangler was allegedly caught and killed the same day by Police at Lusaka Police Headquarters. He was never brought before any Court of law for trial. No his identity revealed to the public! Not while alive! The so called tall Lozi man, killing Lozi women, however, seems to have been a creation of government in a desperate effort to justify the declaration of the State of Emergency; And also as a way to drive the beautiful lozi women (Macholocholo) to mistrust their fellow lozi men and be lured to get married to urgly Kolwestan men. This government did in order to promote Kaunda’s slogan of “One Zambia, One Nation”. Lozis were most resistant to the culture of inter-marriages.

Mr. Sata seems to have been a secret admirer of Dr. Kaunda. Now he also sings “One Zambia, One Nation” just as Kaunda did. No wonder now he wants us to go back to the “Kwacha!., Ngwee!…” slogans. However, the “One Zambia, One Nation ….” slogan was only meant to work in the minds of all Zambians against the implementation of the Barotseland Agreement which many feel its implementation means having another state within the state. Now President Sata has vowed to put an end to the matter. He has even declared war against the people of Barotseland. At the same time he wants to extend a seemingly helping hand by creating district councils over traditional palaces so as to subdue completely the strong lozi kingdom and its chiefdoms once and for all. It will not be surprising to hear that he wants another two districts in Western Province at Naliyele and Namayula.

Further looking at his choice of districts for western province shows that he is really not seeking to bring genuine development to western province. Nalolo is situated within the flood plains of Barotseland. Such cannot be an appropriate location for establishing a district, because the people of Nalolo have no fixed abode. Due to periodic floods people in these areas have no permanent residence and they live a nomadic kind of life. If government was serious about helping people to develop, they would first seek to encourage the people to have more permanent homes. Establishing a district in places like Nalikwanda as opposed to Nalolo would have been a more helpful effort by government.

– Mulobezi or Luampa as opposed to Mwandi,as a district would make more sense

– Mangango, in place of Limulunga is also a good location to establish genuine government ministries’ presence for the people.

To the people of Barotseland I say, please wake up and unite! otherwise, za luna li lu siile!

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