What Mbundas told Roger Chongwe’s Commission of Inquiry

What Mbundas told Roger Chongwe’s Commission of Inquiry

CHEKE CHA MBUNDA SUBMISSION TO THE COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY ON THE MONGU RIOTS OF 14TH JANUARY 2011 AND THE COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY ON BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT 1964

SUBMISSION

Mr. Chairman Sir,

We are from Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association. It is an honor to be accorded this rear privilege to make these submissions from the Mbundas and their Chiefs in Zambia.

Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association is a representative organ of the Mbundas in Zambia, Angola, Congo and Namibia. It was formed in 1956 and registered in the Laws of The Republic of Zambia by the Registrar of Societies in 1982 as Cheke Cultural Writers Association and later renamed to what it is now and re-registered for change of name in 2008.

This change was necessitated by shift in the Association’s vision from just writing about the history to also revive, preserve, promote and protect the Culture and affairs of the Mbundas, their Monarch and Chiefs.  This entails organizing and holding cultural gatherings, and to this end executing programmes relating to “Official Representation and Custodian of traditional music, makithi (known as makishi in other languages), oracles, myths, oral and written records of the Mbundas.

Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association is non political and non partisan, but support the Government of the day. In other words Government will be supported by the legitimacy of the ballot.  These are historians who wrote ‘The History and Cultural Life of the Mbunda Speaking People’ book in English in1994 and translated it in Mbunda language in 1998.

Brief History of  The Mbunda Speaking People

Mbundas are a distinct group comprising of seven dialects, and these are Mbunda Manthzi, Mbunda Shamuka, Mbunda Yauma, Mbunda Ndundu, Mbunda Nkangala, Mbunda Mbalango and Mbunda Sango.

These are under the leadership of nine chiefs in Zambia, namely Senior Chief (Mwene) Sikufele, Manyinga – Kabompo; Chief (Mwene) Chiyengele Josia Nyumbu, Nang’oko – Mongu; Chief (Mwene) Kandala, Mabumbu – Mongu; Chief (Mwene) Chiyengele Chingumbe, Kayombo – Kabompo; Chief (Mwene) Mundu, Liumba –Kalabo; Chief (Mwene) Kandombwe – Luvuji, Lukulu; Chief (Mwene) Kasabi, Lukute – Kaoma; Chief (Mwene) Kasimba, Kalumwange – Kaoma; Chief (Mwene) Lindeho, Chamemba –Kalabo.

Cheka Cha Mbunda Chairman Ndandula Libingi

In Namibia the Mbundas are found in Rundi District under the leadership of Chief (Mwene) Kanyanga.

In Congo (DRC) Mbundas are found in the confluence of Kwilu and Kasai Rivers.

In Angola, Mbundas are found in Moxico and Kuando Kuvango Provinces under the leadership of 55 Chiefs.

All the Mbunda Speaking People and their Chiefs in these four Countries ascribe to the leadership of the Mbunda Monarch in Angola under King Mbandu III, the twenty second (22nd) Monarch on the throne today.

This is a more or less similar situation where the Chewa People of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia have Paramount Chief Gawa Undi in Zambia. It only goes to show that the Mbunda Speaking People are a big tribe that cannot be subjugated by another tribe, and one of the 73 ethnic groups in Zambia.

The Mbundas came into Barotseland from Mbundaland in 1795, almost a Century before the white man divided and shared Africa into political boundaries in the year 1885   The first Mbunda Chief to enter Barotseland was Chief (Mwene) Mundu, followed by Chief (Mwene) Kandala and finally Chief (Mwene) Chiyengele,  The three Chiefs came to Barotseland not because they ran away from any war, but due to the warm friendship they enjoyed with the Litunga of Barotseland then, Mulambwa Santulu,

The coming of Chief (Mwene) Chiyengele in Barotseland brought about great changes in the lives of the Aluyi and Mbundas in Barotseland.  First, the Mbundas fought the Luvales who troubled the Aluyi by always getting their cattle and halted the Luvale incursions in Barotseland. This resulted in a strengthened friendship between Aluyi and Mbundas, causing Mulambwa to declare Chief Chiyengele as the Senior Chief of the Mbundas in Barotseland and decreed a ten point Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty with the Mbundas as given below:

1)        We give you this sharp-pointed pole to replace those poles with rounded tops for your royal palace. It is only your palace which will be built with sharp poles called milombwe.

2)        Your royal drum (Kenda na Vafwa) and royal xylophone (Kamuyongole) should be played in your palace, when you visit others and whenever you come to this capital.

3)        It is only you who will use a royal fly whisk of the eland.

4)        You are free to continue to teach your people your language and culture; you will not be forced to take our language and culture.

5)        There shall never be a Lozi person who enslaves a Mbunda and no Mbunda shall enslave a Lozi

6)   You are not forced to live on the Barotse plain but free to live in the forests.

7)        You are free to cultivate cassava, yams and millet in the multitude that you wish.

8)        In military and political matters you should be allied with the Aluyi

9)        Never fight among one another, but love one another.

10)      Finally, respect chieftainship and the elders.

This and other factors earned Mbundas to be represented on the Barotse National Council.

Secondly, the Mbundas fought alongside Aluyi in the Aluyi/Makololo war in 1830, which ousted the Makololo rule on the Aluyi. This led to the establishment of the Mbunda Chieftainship at Lukwakwa under Senior Chief Sikufele now in Kabompo District, being a descendant of Mulambwa and a Mbunda wife. As you might know Mr. Chairman, the Makololo from the south introduced the Lozi language spoken not only in Western Province today but also Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa and Caprivi Strip .

Thirdly, the Mbunda war machinery of Bows and Arrows, fought alongside the Aluyi to conquer the Tongas, Ilas, and the whole Bantu Botatwe group, which resulted in the Aluyi/Mbunda cousinship with Tongas

Later the Kaonde/Aluyi war which Aluyi lost in the first battle, but warn with the help of the Mbunda war machinery, where Mbunda Chief Kasimba of Kalumwange played a major role resulting in the Mbunda Chieftainship having firmly been established there at the confluence of the Lalafuta and Kyamenge in 1893, opposite Chief Mushima Njivumina of the Kaonde.

All this proved the fighting supremacy of the Mbundas in fighting alongside the Aluyi and in honoring the Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty, Mbundas remained the true allies of the Aluyi both in military and political matters.

The Relevance of The Mbundas To The Barotseland Agreement 1964

Mr. Chairman in reference to the summarized Mbunda history referred to earlier, it is without doubt that the Mbundas in Zambia are part of the ‘Barotseland Agreement 1964’

1)    Barotseland Agreement 1964 is real and valid and above all still a legal document, and was signed by affirmation of the Holy Bible before the Holy God in the British Parliament.

2)    The Barotseland Agreement 1964 states clearly of the one part namely that‘Sir Mwanawina Lewanika the third, K.B.E, Litunga of Barotseland, acting on behalf of himself, his heirs and successors, his Council, and the chiefs and people of Barotseland.’

It should be noted with reference to the Mbunda history in Barotseland that,‘the chiefs and people of Barotseland’ given in the preamble of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 include the Mbunda, and others tribes in Barotseland such as Nkoyas, Totelas, Lenjes, Lambas, Ilas, Tongas, just to mention a few, the archives are there to prove.

3)    One of the provisions on Item 2 entitled The Constitution of Zambia in the Barotseland Agreement 1964 state that ‘The Constitution of the Republic of Zambia shall include the provisions agreed upon for inclusion therein at the Constitutional Conference held in London in May, 1964 relating to (a) the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the individual, and those provisions shall have full force and effect in Barotseland’.

It is without doubt Mbundas are one of the individuals that should enjoy this ‘human rights and fundamental freedoms’ as enshrined in the Barotseland Agreement 1964 of Barotseland. It is clear that the Mbunda/Aluyi relationship is so interwoven that in certain cases it is not possible to distinguish a Mbunda from Aluyi.  The Nalikwanda used in the famous Kuomboka Ceremony was made initially by Mbunda Speaking People. Most of the songs and utilities used in Kuomboka are for Mbundas and other tribes in Barotseland such the Nkoyas, Mbukushu, etc.  The Nkoya rethym is majestic and befitting royalty. In short the Mbundas of Zambia are qualified to speak on the Barotseland Agreement 1964.

MONGU RIOTS

Mr. Chairman, we realize there are terms of reference to this Commission and it will not be professional for us to submit to every term of reference, for obvious reasons that we do not want to speculate. However, we will submit on the terms of reference where we are competent as follows:

A)  THE CAUSE OF THE RIOTS THAT TOOK PLACE IN MONGU IN WESTERN PROVINCE OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA ON 14TH JANUARY, 2011, IN WHICH TWO (2) PEOPLE LOST THEIR LIVES AND ABOUT ONE HUNDRED (100) PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH RIOT

Mr. Chairman, it is without doubt that the riots that took place in Mongu in Western Province were caused by the inability or willingness of the three successive Governments to respond to numerous presentations of the people from Western Province to have the Barotseland Agreement 1964 which was abrogated in 1969, restored. Here are the facts which you know very well Mr. Chairman:

Barotseland Agreement 1964

The Barotseland Agreement 1964 is an agreement that ushered in Zambia on 24thOctober 1964.  Therefore Barotseland Agreement 1964 is a ‘Parent Legal Document’to the Republic of Zambia.  This agreement cannot therefore be annulled by an Act of Parliament because, item 8 under Implementation says ‘The Government of the Republic of Zambia shall take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that the laws for the time being in force in the Republic are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Agreement’, meaning that the Government of Zambia shall not make any laws inconsistent with this Agreement.  Any attempts to do so it is inconsistent with the Agreement and may only be done out of malice, ill intent and sheer prejudice.

1)   “Exhibit 1” The Opening Speech of H.H. The Litunga Mwanawina III To A Barotse Conference Held at Government House, Lusaka  In April, 1964.

Paraphrasing this speech Mr. Chairman, in paragraph 4 – 7 the Litunga said:

4.  “When in 1889 my father, King Lewanika, sought the protection of Queen Victoria, that protection was granted on understanding that the Barotse Government would continue to govern the people of Barotseland in accordance with the agreements made”.

5.  “When in 1911 King Lewanika agreed that his country should be administered as part of the new Northern Rhodesia he agreed on the understanding that this arrangement would not affect the powers of the Barotse Government”.

6. “Since the times have changed, the administration of Barotseland has been modernized and my Government have recently agreed under the provision of the reforms to appoint a provisional Cabinet comprising 5 elected Departmental Heads under the chairmanship of my Acting Ngambela to form a Barotse Cabinet. These reforms will be carried out with the help of my new Cabinet at the earliest possible time in accordance with the wishes of my people, who now desire to go forward in unity with the rest of Northern Rhodesia on the basis set out in my Government’s memorandum”.

7. ”It is in the belief that agreement can be reached on this basis that we have presented this memorandum which we have agreed among ourselves; and I have readily accepted your invitation, Mr. Prime Minister, to discuss it with your Government as between friends and in the earnest desire to reach agreement and to go forward into the future together.”

2)        “Exhibit 2”  Speech By The Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda At A Meeting Held At The Headquarters Of The Barotse Government At Lealui On Thursday, 6th August, 1964

Paraphrasing this speech Mr. Chairman, in paragraph 4 and 11-12 the Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda said:

4. An Under Minister will be appointed to each Province as the personal representative of the Prime Minister – and after Independence of the President. In Barotseland the Under Minister will be a direct link between the Litunga and the Central Government, and he will be particularly responsible to the Prime Minister – and later the President – to ensure that the Barotseland Agreement, which was made in London immediately after the Independence Conference in May, is being honoured. It will be no part of the functions of the Under Minister to interfere in the running of the Barotse Government…..

11.  I should now like to turn to the Barotseland Agreement which was reached in London in May, and I wish to give an assurance that it is the Government’s full intention that the Barotse Agreement will be honoured fully after Independence. I believe that the Agreement reached in London was an honourable Agreement from the point of view of both the Central Government and the Barotseland Government, and I believe that the way to ensure that it is implemented to the advantage of us all is by loans of a close personal relationship between the Litunga and the Prime Minister – and later the President – through the Under Minister. I am very glad that the basis of the Agreement is

12.  that Barotseland is an integral part of Zambia, and I can assure you, Sir Mwanawina, and all Members of the Barotse Royal Family and of the Barotse Government, that the Government has no wish to interfere with the day-to-day running of the internal affairs of Barotseland. This is the responsibility of the Barotse Government and the intention of the Central Government will be no more than to give to the Barotse Government its maximum assistance and co-operation.

However, Mr. Chairman, four years after Independence and Barotseland Agreement 1964 being in force serious violations were noticed;

3)    “Exhibit 3” Letter to His Excellency the President of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, Lusaka From the Barotse Royal Establishment dated 13th September, 69

Paraphrasing this speech Mr. Chairman, in the introduction they wrote:

“We have noticed from Government Gazette No. 513 of Friday 29th August, 1969 that through constitution (Amendment) No. 5 Act, 1969 that the Attorney General intends to ask Parliament to terminate the Barotseland Agreement, 1964 so that all the rights, liabilities and obligations there under should lapse. We have the honour, therefore, to request Your Excellency as a Christian National Leader and one of the three principal signatories to that agreement, to advise the Attorney General to withdraw that Bill. We make this humble request for the following reasons:-

6.  Should the Barotseland Agreement, 1964 be terminated, the suspicions of those who thought that the last referendum was intended to terminate the agreement and to abolish our Status and way of life, not the European Farms, would be confirmed.

15.  In conclusion we would like to assure Your Excellency of the loyalty of the Malozi including the Litunga and Chiefs to you and we would like to put it in writing that we have no intention or plans to secede from Zambia, but our only plea is for the validity of the Barotseland Agreement, 1964 to continue in fulfillment of the sincere assurances which we were given before and after independence.

4)        “Exhibit 4” Memorandum of the people of the Western Province of Zambia to His Excellency the President Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, President of the Republic of Zambia, Following His Excellency’s Address in the Western Province on Saturday, 16th March 1991.

Paraphrased Mr. Chairman, the memorandum’s paragraphs 1 and 3 read:

1. Your Excellency, we the people of the Western Province – The Barotse

people otherwise known as the Malozi humbly request your Excellency’s

conscientious consideration of the review of the provisions of the Barotseland

Agreement of the 18th May, 1964…….

3. The Barotse people hope that this Memorandum shall be received and be attended to in the same spirit of honesty and candidness as the Agreement that was entered into and which has been referred to in this Memorandum. In the absence of anything also to the contrary the Barotse people seek restoration of the provisions of the Barotseland Agreement of the 18th May 1964 and therefore seek from the Government of the Republic of Zambia strict compliance with the provisions of the agreement and with the Barotse authority ordinance of 1936.

5)        “Exhibit 5” State House, Lusaka, Republic of Zambia Letter to Hon. G. Mukande, The Ngambela, Barotse Royal Establishment, dated 1st August 1991.

Paraphrased Mr. Chairman, the memorandum’s paragraphs 1, 6, 7, and 11 – 12 read:

1. “I wish to thank you most sincerely for the memorandum you forwarded to

me and for the very fruitful discussion we had with your delegation here at

State House on the 26th June, 1991.”

6. “The second issue relates to the Barotseland Agreement. I was pleased that during our discussions you confirmed your understanding of the role of that agreement in the new Zambia. There is need for us to study this in detail soon after the elections and together work out and enhance channels of communication and consultations in the implementation of the issues which were raised in our discussions. Here I am thinking specifically of the way in which Party officials in the area can have their responsibilities clearly demarcated with those of the Indunas so that there is no conflict in how we serve our people”.

7. “On the question of Silalo Indunas referred to as ‘Chiefs’ on National Registration Cards in their local areas of responsibility, all that needs to be done is for me to receive their names, as indicated in my earlier communication to you and their areas and then work out how these relate to the Barotse Royal Establishment on matters relating to administration and the judiciary in particular”,

11. “Obviously there is a lot of work to be done by both the Government on one hand and also the Barotse Royal Establishment on the other, working hand in hand to serve the interests of the people of the Western Province in particular and Zambia in general. We have to start afresh and in the Third Republic, after elections, I can assure you, the Party, when it is returned to power, will pay particular attention to all the matters which you raised and have now reached me directly. I must admit at times due to a breakdown in communication there seemed to be problems when in fact there was not. What we all need to do now is to gear ourselves for more work in the new Republic. On my part, I promised to do my best to achieve the objectives which together we should set up for the benefit of the people”.

12. “To succeed we need the commitment of everybody. If there were any mistakes we should frankly state these and work hard to correct them. Our objectives are the same – which is to bring development to the Province and improve the standard of living of all our people in peace and security. In all this we will rely completely on the guidance of the Litunga, all the Chiefs in the Province who are his children, his Council and the entire Barotse Royal Establishment.”

6)        “Exhibit 6” State House, Lusaka, Republic of Zambia Letter to Litunga Ilute, dated 22nd October 1991.

Paraphrased Mr. Chairman, the citing the whole letter, he wrote:

“I had a very useful meeting indeed with your Ngambela and his delegation.The Ngambela and his distinguished colleagues were most able in explaining to me the anxieties in Western Province in regard to some aspects of the Barotse Agreement as experienced over the period of the First and Second Republic of our young nation.

For my part, I see the need to look at these anxieties as we enter the Third Republic. I appreciate greatly too the most important point stressed to me by the Ngambela and the members of his delegation that the anxieties over the Barotse Agreement are indeed and truly anxieties within our own one and same family as a Zambian nation and that all that which has to be said and done in this regard has to be accepted and understood in this important way by all of us. This great spirit expressed by the Ngambela and his delegation is the strength, indeed the foundation of all that which we must do together in order to iron out any and all anxieties wherever these may exist on either side of the matter so as to create the complete harmony which is so essential in the development effort of the people and for the most beneficial utilization of resources in their own particular areas for their own immediate good and for the greater strength of our nation as a whole.

It is my desire and decision that we look together at any and all the anxieties over the Barotse Agreement in detail, piece by piece and step by step until we shall have covered the whole area to the complete satisfaction of all sides. We shall do this as a family. Indeed, we must do this as a happy family which is committed to the great welfare and well-being of all its members.

Since we must deal with a concrete situation and must look at concrete arrangements to correct specific anxieties in a concrete and workable manner, I believe it is right and proper that we are led into our effort by some assistance which is professionally knowledgeable and competent in this area. It is my belief that if we proceed steadily in this way, we should be able to deal with each and every anxiety in a most practical and workable way for ourselves.

In this regard, I proposed to the Ngambela and his delegation for your consideration that you appoint a lawyer of your own choice within Zambia who will work with the Attorney General and Solicitor-General over these anxieties in the Barotse Agreement with the view to having them all ironed out.

You will, indeed, be free to instruct your chosen lawyer to cover the areas of anxiety as you see them. He will report progress to you just as the Government legal officers through the Attorney General will report progress to me. Where the two legal sides feel there should be a meeting between you or the Ngambela and myself, I will be available. I want very much to see these anxieties completely ironed out and as quickly as possible as we go into the Third Republic.

I explained to the Ngambela that the State will meet the cost of the lawyer whom you will engage on this exercise. It is only essential that he must be a Zambian lawyer working in Zambia as it will not be possible for the State to make any payments in foreign exchange for this work which will take place within our own family.

If my proposal is acceptable to you, the work to iron out in this way any anxieties in Barotse Agreement can start straightaway. I explained all this in full to the Ngambela and his distinguished colleagues whom I trust will amplify my present message to you.

 

In conclusion, I want to assure you as I have always done that I see no insurmountable obstacles at all in dealing with and resolving any and all anxieties over any aspect of the Barotse Agreement within our one family of the Zambia to which we are all an integral part. I know fully well what it is that we are talking about: I understand it and appreciate the situation perfectly. Our free nation has to continue to move together as one family of many united viable houses.

7)        “Exhibit 7” R. M. A. Chongwe & Company Advocates and Commissioners of Oaths And Consul of The Barotse Traditional Authoritiee, letter To The President of the Republic of Zambia, dated 21st April 1992.

Paraphrased Mr. Chairman, as you are aware the letter’s paragraphs 1, 5 – 8 read:

1.  “We represent the Barotse Traditional Authories in this matter who now

have instructed us to contact you on the same”.

5.  “Mr. President Sir, the members of the Barotseland Royal Establishment had constantly reminded the UNIP government about the breach but due to the perpetual State of Emergency that existed at the time coupled with UNIP’s dictatorial tendencies, it was feared and indeed reasonably so, that any pressure exerted on the UNIP government would have serious repercussions on the members of the Barotse Royal Establishment and therefore the grievances could not be publicly voiced out.

6.  “Sir, the Barotse people are now desirous to have your comments on this matter as they feel betrayed by their own government in whom they had entrusted their rights and believed were entering into this Agreement in good faith”.

7.   “Sir, the former President Kenneth D. Kaunda did at least concede to dialogue with the Barotse people and its our client’s wish that you personally meet them to discuss this long standing matter which has caused a lot of anxieties among the Barotse people whom we understand Sir, tirelessly campaigned for your government’s victory in the last elections and have vowed to continue to support your government with blind loyalty”.

8.   “It is our considered opinion Mr. President Sir, that this is not the kind of matter that we should merely leave to the courts to decide because of it’s sensitive nature and the need for continued peace, unity and stability in our nation of Zambia. We therefore, as a result have halted the court proceedings which were commenced in the Second Republic to allow you, Mr. President Sir, to discuss this matter with the Barotse people through their Royal Establishment.

8)        “Exhibit 8” Minister of Legal Affairs, R.M.A. Chongwe, SC, MP, letter To The Hon. Mr. Ilute Yeta, The Litunga of the Western Province, dated 2ndOctober 1992.

Paraphrased Mr. Chairman, as you are aware the letter’s paragraphs 1, 2, 7 – 9 read:

1.     “On Wednesday the 21st Day of October, 1992 a delegation led by the

Ngambela and comprising of members of the Royal Establishment and the

Council met the Hon. Ministers of Defense, Finance, Home Affairs, Local

Government and Housing, Lands, Commerce Trade and Industry, Tourism and

Legal Affairs. The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Legal Affairs.

2.    “The Ngambela of the Western Province representing the Barotse Royal

Establishment said that he had been instructed by the Litunga and the people of Western Province to negotiate with the Government for the restoration of the Barotse Agreement which was signed on the 18th Day of May, 1964 between the Government of the Northern Rhodesia, the Litunga of Barotse Land and the British Government who were the Colonial authority in the then Northern Rhodesia before the 24th October, 1964 when the country achieved independent nationhood.

7.  “The Government was of the view that dialogue between the Government and the Litunga and the Royal Establihment of the Western Province was essential particularly when questions relating to the Barotse Agreement of 1964 arose. The Government observed however that it had been in power for barely 12 months and the Agreement referred to was signed in 1964 and the abrogation of the Agreement took place almost 22 years ago through a constitutional amendment and that since 1964 a lot of events have taken place in Zambia.

8.  “The referendum of 1969 which took away people’s property rights and which was fully supported by all the Zambians including the people from the Western Province was an event in point which gave authority to the then Government to abrogate the Agreement of 1964.  The enactment of the One Party State constitution to replace the 1964 constitution and the subsequent appointment to the Central Committee of the Litunga of the Western Province are events which would tend to affect the status of the Barotse Land Agreement of 1964. The Ngambela and his delegation had produced certain letters written by the former President to the Litunga and dated the 22ndOctober, 1991 and another dated 21st April, 1992 from the lawyers of the Royal Establishment to the President of the Republic of Zambia. These documents the members of the Government delegation were seeing for the first time and it was felt in the event that as the Government knew very little about the Barotse Agreement as such, it was only fair that the Government should be given a little more time to study the matter and communicate with the Ngambela at a later stage to continue the discussion”.

9.  “It was therefore agreed between the Parties that the discussions hould be adjourned to allow Government to study the whole issues raised by the Ngambela and his delegation and at an appropriate time a further meeting will be held to discuss the Barotse Land Agreement of 1964.

 

10. “It was also noted that the proceedings that had been instituted by the Royal Establishment against the Government in October, 1991 were still live and that the matter was therefore subjudice.

9)        “Exhibit 9” Minister Without Portfolio, Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda, MP, Letter To The Ngambela, Royal Establishment, Mr. G. Mukande, dated 18th August, 1993.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, Government of the Republic of Zambia gave its position and it will be interesting if I may be allowed to read the letter in full. It reads:

“WITHOUT PREJUDICE

RE:  THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT 1964

Further to your request yesterday that I put in writing the Government’s position on the Barotseland Agreement 1964, I wish to advise that we have considered your submission in the matter. As we understand it, your case is that this Agreement is alive and should be restored.

It is the Government position that we cannot negotiate this Agreement on the following grounds:-

(a)  That the terms and clauses of the Agreement were incorporated into the Laws of Zambia in 1964, when they became subject to amendment and alteration just as any other Laws.

(b)  That the procedure for amending the law of the land was followed, the said amendments having been tabulated and presented before Parliament and subsequently assented to by the President.

(c)  Our further inquiries show that no judicial process was commenced by the Royal Establishment or any other party aggrieved by the proposed amendments in reasonable time. It is our position that the demand is stale as it has been overtaken by events and is no longer legal.

However Government is willing to discuss other issues which you raised without relating them to the Agreement, such as land issues, grants and welfare of chiefs and indunas. Government is prepared to discuss and resolve these matters politically.”

Mr. Chairman a summary of these facts show without doubt that:

i)             The successive Governments have been toying with the people of Western Province in manipulating the law to reject calls to have the Barotseland Agreement 1964 restored.

 

ii)            The successive Governments have kept this important undertaking as a secret failing to expose the Barotseland Agreement 1964 to the people of Zambia to read and understand it

iii)           The slogan of “One Zambia One Nation” has been sung by politicians of the successive Governments without teaching the people where it emanated from.

iv)           The successive Governments failed to include the Barotseland Agreement in subjects like Civics and History so that the young generation could learn about it, thereby creating a generation gap.

v)            As a result a volcano of ill feeling coupled with the generation gap was being built which ended in explosion on 14th January 2011 known to us today as the Mongu Riots.

We cautioned the Government then in our press conference of 11thJanuary on what to do. We were ignored and the consequences are that lives were lost.

All above being the case we hold the successive Governments responsible for the Mongu Riots of 14th January 2011.

B)  ASCERTAIN THE CONCERNS OF THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN PROVINCE AND RECOMMEND MECHANISMS FOR ADDRESSING THE CONCERNS

1)    Unfair Treatment of Mbundas in Western Province and Need For Mutual Respect and Co-existence Between Lozis and Mbundas

Mr. Chairman, Mbundas in Western Province live in serious suppression and tribalistic scorn from their perceived Lozi brothers despite the historical background we alluded to in our preamble. It is surprising to note that certain groups of people in this country, and Western Province in particular, are still made to believe that Mbundas are refugees who can be threatened with eviction back to Angola.

i)             In January 2011 during the run up to the Mongu Riots, we received disturbing reports and fliers from Mongu, authored by a group of Barotseland Activists calling themselves ‘Linyungandambo”.  In these fliers, they warned: “This serves to warn the following: Mbundas, Ma Luvales and other tribes that they should start preparing to leave Barotseland by 14th January, 2011 when we shall secede from Zambia. It has been observed that this period around when we have been fighting for this cause, they have not been supportive and we feel its high time they went back to Angola where they came from, failure to comply will lead to loss of lives”.

ii)            On 8th January 2011 one of the Mbunda entrepreneurs had windows to his shop broken by a group of the ‘Linyungandambo’ boys who ran way after the incident at the harbor

iii)           In the submission to The Government of The Republic of Zambia by The Barotse National Council on the matter of The National Constitutional Conference and The Barotseland Agreement 1964, dated 25th August 2009, commented on page 8, paragraph 6 that “As to tribal conflicts, this is an issue blown out of proportion by detractors and that Barotseland, being a nation of 32 tribes, is bound to experience friction among some sections of its people. It should also be noted that some of the tribes of Barotseland came to the kingdom as refugees escaping civil strife in their original countries. Barotseland did not confine these people to refugee camps as is the practice in modern times but received and accorded them due recognition as tribes under their own chiefs in the same way that the other tribes of the kingdom were organized. What is expected from these tribes is to accept the way the kingdom is structured as a nation.

iv)          In June 2005 there was another call by Mr. and Mrs. Mukamba and Mulele Mumpisho when they were interviewed by Aketata Batunda on Radio Liseli, insinuating that Mbundas are finishing forests in Western Province and that they must go back to Angola, warning that one day you will be ruled by a Mukanda initiate (a circumcised). This disturbed Mbundas, thanks to interventions by the Barotse Royal Establishment, the situation was calmed down.

v)            Mbunda Chiefs in Western Province are not being accorded the respect they deserve. Following are cases in point Mr. Chairman:

 

a)   All Senior Chiefs in Western Province are Lozi and never has the BRE ever thought of recommending a Mbunda Chief to a Senior position as agreed in the Mulambwa/Chiyengele Agreement, and despite their assertion in their submission to The National Constitutional Conference of 25th August 2009 that ‘the other tribes were received and accorded them due recognition as tribes under their own chiefs in the same way that the other tribes of the kingdom were organized. What is expected from these tribes is to accept the way the kingdom is structured as a nation”.

b)   All Mbunda Chiefs in Western Province including the first Mbunda Chief to migrate to Barotseland in 1795, Chief Mundu of Kalabo are not recognized but regarded as Indunas or traditional Counselors serving under Lozi chiefs.

c)    Two Mbunda Chiefs, Chiyengele and Kandala are the only ones recognized, but as Lozi Chiefs due to their changed status through intermarriage roots with the Lozis.

vi)          In 1964 after independence, Mbunda and Nkoya educational book were burnt by some Lozi Government officials to prevent Mbunda and Nkoya languages to be taught in Western Province.

Mr. Chairman, our appeal to the Government and indeed questions lingering on the minds of the Mbunda Speaking People are:

i)             How many Mbundas have been on the political hierarchy since independence? Mbundas have a number of Professors, Doctors and University Graduates but are not receiving recommendation for appointment. In the recent reshuffles, we as Mbundas are worried that one of the few Mbundas who was in a key position in the country as ZESCO Director Human Resources, has been fired without reason.

ii)            Mbunda is a second largest tribe in Western Province, why is Mbunda language not taught in Western Province? Why is it not specified in the National Census as a distinct language group instead of putting under “others”?

iii)           Why are Mbunda Speaking People not represented on Radio Liambayi and Liseli, community radios within our community?

iv)          Despite the long historical background of the Mbundas in Western Province, only two Mbunda Chiefs, Chief Kandala and Chief Chiyengele Nyumbu are gazette, even then they are recognised as Lozi Chiefs.

 

v)      Why should Mbunda Chiefs in Western Province be gazetted as Lozi Chiefs when the Mulambwa Agreement is clear about the relationship between Lozis and Mbundas?

2)    Developmental Concerns

1)    Poor developmental infrastructure:

It is clear to every Zambian today that Western Province is the poorest province in Zambia. This is due to poor road network and inadequate educational facilities especially at tertiary level, when some provinces have more than one University. How do you Mr. Chairman expect the province to develop in the absence of key developmental facilities?

2)    Lack of Industries:

Western Province Mr. Chairman, is endowed with a lot of natural resources such as fish, Mangos, rice, timber, cashew nuts, cassava, minerals just to mention a few, but none of these are exploited. A lot of Mango and fish and meat are being ferried to other provinces for sale.

 

Recommendations

 

1)    We call upon the Barotse Royal Establihment and Lozis in general to honor the Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty and give the Mbunda Chiefs in Western Province the respect they deserve, if we have to continue leaving with them as allies in military and political matters.

2)    Mongu has no Senior Chief. We call upon Barotse Royal Establishment and the Government to upgrade Chief Chiyengele in Nang’oko as Senior Chief in accordance with the Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty, and correct his gazette recognition notice with Chief Kandala of Mabumbu as Mbunda Chiefs and not Lozi Chiefs.

3)    Western Province has only 11 Chiefs including The Litunga. Lewanika controlled Barotseland using Silalo Indunas because people were less then, but areas in Western Province have more people now making it difficult to administer the people adequately. Depending on Silalo Indunas or Traditional Counselors is no longer feasible due to less respect given to Silalo Indunas now.   Namwala District has 12 Chiefs in Southern Province, how can the whole province have only 11 chiefs?

4)    We call upon the Barotse Royal Establishment and the Government to recognize Chief Mundu, Liumba Palace Kalabo District; Chief Kasimba, Kalumwange Palace, Kaoma District; Chief Kandombwe, Luvuji Palace, Lukulu, Chief Kasabi, Lukute Palace, Kaoma and Chief Lindeho, Chamemba Palace, Kalabo as Mbunda Chiefs. These are not Indunas but Mbunda Royal Blood Chiefs with flywhisks, who came from Angola as Mbunda Chiefs.

5)    We call upon the Barotse Royal Establishment to reconstitute the Barotse National Council to its original form and representative off all chiefs in Western Province, unlike the way it is now where Indunas sign submissions to the Government, in direct reference to the submissions to the national Constitutional Conference dated 25th August 2009. The highlighted sentiments in this submission clearly show that Mbunda chiefs were not represented.

Utilizing these chiefs in National Development will result in development trickling to their subjects who are the grassroots.

6)    We call upon the Government in power to check the red tape in Western Province and balance up the representative levels there. We know that the Chiefs Gazette of Western Province call for appointments from Western Province to have the Litunga’s recommendations. This is slavery to other tribes who are not Lozi. How does the Litunga recommend the installation of a chief who is not of a Lozi Royal Family.

7)    We call upon Mbunda Speaking People to stop regarding themselves as strangers in         Western Province due to persistence unfair tribal treatment from some of their Lozi Speaking brothers. We refuse to be subjugated by another tribe and we don’t believe in subjugating anyone despite the weaknesses.

8)    We call for the encouragement of the spirit of brotherhood among the 32 ethnic groups in Western Province. For example by elevating some Mbunda chiefs to Senior positions and recognizing the Mbunda Chief who have been humiliated to Indunas or Traditional Counselor positions under other chief, when they are also of the Royal families. Well qualified Zambians of Western Province among the 32 ethnic groups should be appointed to Senior Government positions irrespective of their ethnic affiliation. The idea of identifying everyone in Western Province to be Lozi is very discriminatory.

9)    Link all the districts in the province with good tarred roads to boost the commercial activities for the benefit of all Zambians.

10) Construct at least two Universities to alleviate the accommodation and transport challenges experienced by Western Province families seeking higher education in other provinces. This will reduce illiteracy levels in the province.

11) We call upon the Government to woo investors to set up industries to exploit the natural resources abundant in Western Province.

12) The Ndola Oil Refinery in Ndola cannot take the Angolan crude oil, why not invest in a n Oil Refinery in Western Province to take the Angola Crude Oil which is so near to us and yet far? This will greatly help the people of Western Province in form of balanced share of the National cake.

Conclusion

To conclude Mr. Chairman, when we refer to Barotseland which was a Barotse Protectorate and Barotseland Agreement 1964, it should be understood that it is beyond Western Province as may be taken today. It goes beyond the line of rail, North Western Province and Copperbelt Province, involving five Provinces of Zambia today. And so the Barotseland Agreement 1964 should be understood in its right context. There are a lot of stakeholders who should be involved.  Barotseland Agreement 1964 was not only meant for a few Aluyi in the plains of Zambezi River and Mongu. We believe the Barotseland Agreement 1964 is real and a valid legal document. This document Mr. Chairman, as you know it is a one way root and does not call for secession. People of Western Province voted for President Sata because he promised them restoration of Barotseland Agreement not secession. Why not give Government chance to fulfill the campaign promise?

We are therefore happy with the steps that the Government of the Republic of Zambia is taking and we are confident that the matter will be resolved amicably and soon. It is our expectation that the matters should be dealt with in a manner befitting dignity respect and due honor to both parties. It is a great privilege to our Zambians that one of the parties to the agreement namely our dear beloved former President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda is still alive. We call upon you to offer the Zambians citizens an honor to have the former President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda’s submissions on this Commission to explain this mess. The issues can be resolved only if the parties are honest with each other.

We therefore humbly ask the Government of His Excellency, President Chilufya Sata to be sincere in the initiative to solve the challenge of the Barotse Agreement 1964 which was abrogated by the first Zambian Government led by our beloved former President Kenneth Kaunda, so that the matter is brought to its conclusion and we know that this will be a landmark step in history for this country and the continent as a whole. We are confident that His Excellency, President Chilufya Sata will rise to the occasion as he has shown the desire to settle the matter once and for all. We however, urge him to involve all the necessary stakeholders to the Agreement and not a selected few. It is our hope this document will assist in the development of the Great Republic of Zambia

The Barotseland Agreement 1964 is a legal document and we strongly urge citizens and especially the chiefs of the land of this country to read it and understand it for it is the parent to Zambia by law.

 

However Mr. Chairman,  we wonder why you as an individual should be used always to look at the Barotseland Agreement 1964 saga. In April 1992, Rodger Chongwe is lawyer representing the Barotse Royal Establishment, October 1992, Rodger Chongwe is Minister of Legal Affairs on Government’s side, November 2011, Rodger Chongwe is Chairman Mongu Riots Commission still bordering on Barotseland Agreement 1964. Mr. Chairman, what new confidence are you bringing to the Zambia people today and yet in all your past engagements the successive Governments remained obstinate? Aren’t your ethics as a learnt Lawyer seriously compromised Mr. Chairman?

 

Finally Mr. Chairman, what are the terms of reference for this Commission you are chairing? In The Post issue of Wednesday November 2, 2011, the submissions public notice is headed as “Commission of Inquiry Into the Mongu Riots of January 14th, 2011”, but at the bottom of the same notice, your Secretary is given as belonging to the “Commission of Inquiry Into The Barotseland Agreement, 1964”. Which one of the two is correct? Can you assure the Nation that this is not one way of blind folding us?

We rest our submission Mr. Chairman. If there are any questions we will be glad to answer them.

Ndandula Libingi

National Chairman

Cheke Cha mbunda Cultural and Writers Association

 


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