Security officials in Zambia are shocked that president Michael Sata has appointed a rebel Mutangelwa Imasiku as his High Commissioner to Angola.
Mutangelwa Imasiku has not only caused havoc in Zambia before but is also on the wanted list of the Namibian and Botswana governments.
President Michael Sata recently apologized to Angolan over Zambia’s treachery and support to (UNITA), a former rebel movement that killed thousands of innocent Angolans and Zambians in its decades of terror.
It is speculated that Zambia is eying oil from Angola hence the effort to mend the bi-lateral relationships.
Angola has not yet responded to the apology though Angolan media say the government is still studying the move by Zambia.
But security personal in Zambia are wondering whether sending a person who is unacceptable by regional government is in the best interest of Zambia.
Who is Mutangelwa Imasiku?
Imasiku Mutangelwa aged 56 has a long history of clashing with Zambian authorities over the restoration of the 1964 Barotseland Agreement. He has also annoyed the governments of Botswana and Namibia over plans by all Lozi speaking people in the two countries to secede and join their Zambian counterparts under a united Barotseland.
And Imasiku has a history of fleeing from security personnel and being in detention over the issue of an independent Barotseland.
To achieve these objectives, Imasiku formed the Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) in 1996.
In August 1999, the Zambian government banned the BPF of Imasiku Mutangelwa, when his alliance group in Namibia called the Caprivian Liberation Army (CLA) tried to take over the Caprivi Strip. The Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) seems to be a reincarnation of the Barotse Patriotic Front (BPF).
Caprivi secessionists, who are Lozi like Imasiku, launched an attack on the Caprivi’s main town of Katima Mulilo on August 2 in which 15 people were killed before Namibian Security Forces crushed the insurrection.
Imasiku sought refuge at the South African High Commissioner’s residence in Lusaka on August 5 after Police had asked him to report to headquarters for questioning.
But the South Africa High Commission declined to grant him asylum. The South African High Commissioner Themba Thebete, said Imasiku left his residence voluntarily and South Africa had been assured that he would receive fair treatment by the Zambian authorities
The case against Imasiku was referred by the Magistrate’s Court to the High Court, where it remained pending at year’s end. Imasiku was represented by a lawyer called Noyoo Noyoo.
Regarding the Mongu riots that took place in January, Imasiku was arrested but acquitted for the offence of rioting on 1st July 2011.
Magistrate Lameck Ng’ambi said in Imasiku’s case, the only connection to the charge was a recording in which he said the proposed meeting of 14 January 2011 would proceed with or without the sanction of the police.
Mutangelwa has not renounced his declared plan to make Lozis in these countries secede and form another country.
Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia share a common border at Katima Mulilo.
It is this region that Mutangelwa wants to create a new country.
With his new status as High Commissioner, will Mutangelwa work for Zambia or will he use his diplomatic credentials to achieve his lifelong dream?
As a diplomat, he can now fly in and out of Namibia and Botswana as he wishes. How will Namibia and Botswana react?
Understandably, President Michael Sata wishes to deal with the issue of Barotseland secession by getting some key people on his side, but can Mutangelwa really be on the side of the Zambian government?