Editor General, Barotseland Post
In a bizarre twist of events, Barotseland independence leader Afumba Mombotwa has been expunged from the earlier list of pardoned inmates released by State House earlier this afternoon.
When asked by a journalist why the number of names pardoned has reduced from five (5) to four (4) with the notable absence of Mr Afumba Mombotwa, Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo, announced that the list he was presenting was the official final list and any other list circulated elsewhere was not the official list.
However, both President Edgar Lungu and his Press aide, Isaac Chipampe, this afternoon released a press statement announcing that the President had pardoned five (5) inmates whom they named as:
1. Chief Mulongwe
2. Hon Maxwell Mwale, former Minister in the MMD Government
3. Mr Derrick Sinjela, a Journalist
4. Mr Afumba Mombotwa
5. General Christopher Singogo, Former ZAF Commander
Their statement was not only widely circulated on social media but was also made available to both radio and television stations in the country, including the country’s national broadcaster, ZNBC on their 13:00hrs news bulletins.
It was despicable to watch the republican president on national television publicly display a well-rehearsed orchestration by three self-imposed chiefs who have, for some time now, mounted an open rebellion against the Litunga, King of Barotseland, and to label their rebellion as ‘tribal conflicts’, even when the main architect among them is actually a blood relative of the current Litunga, is very disheartening.
If President Lungu and his Patriotic Front (PF) are not co-conspirators in this charade, then the Zambian President is being played for a fool by his regional political aides masquerading as civil servants, in the name of Permanent Secretary, Danny Bukali and his Kaoma counterpart, District Commissioner, Kennedy Liale Mubanga.
Rarely do we address individuals except when we have cause to believe their public sentiments represent a national or a sectional mindset that needs pointing out, calling out or deserves commendations. This is the case with our esteemed elder brother, Bo Simataa Simataa, whose recent public sentiments on Barotseland must be addressed because he, like many others, are today apparently struggling to reconcile themselves with the ongoing increase in separatist feelings among many, especially younger Barotse people in Zambia and Barotseland!
Therefore, rather than think that this is an attack aimed at our brother’s person, we would hope that this is taken as an interrogation of his kind of mindset about Barotseland, which unfortunately is still shared by many others! We sadly observe how he and many others suffer noticeable anguish whenever they encounter Barotseland nationalism, especially on social media! Although Barotse people are usually peaceful in their debates, Bo Simataa and his kind somehow believe it is wrong for any Barostzish person in Zambia to think of themselves as anything other than Zambian. Bo Simataa may be sincere in his recent cautionary views about Barotseland but we also think his recent warnings are wrong and misguided.
With His Majesty, The Litunga, King of Barotseland now back from what many agree was a splendid and spectacular historic royal visit to the tourist city of Livingstone, some were, however, unamused that Barotseland Post did not highlight the alleged flouting of some core cultural values of Barotseland!
“How can your publication (Barotseland Post) flatter Lubosi with such praise about his magnificence when you know very well that he is breaking cultural norms daily, uncharacteristic of the King of Barotseland?
“What is ‘Kupuwana Ceremony’ and how could you even think of using such a term for what Lubosi just did in Livingstone?” retorted one unhappy reader of our article on the royal visit, introducing herself as an angry and disappointed royalist and member of the extended royal family, who also went on to say she had since lost confidence in Barotseland Post, claiming further that she previously believed the publication would always defend Barotseland. She was now accusing the publication of apparently condoning and promoting Imwiko II and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) in their gross violations of the long-established cultural traditions.
However, after a long discourse with her explaining that, as a publication, it was within our mandate to document and report on all major events taking place in Barotseland, factually and objectively for posterity, the complainant was pacified by further assurances that the Editorial team would write a commentary to include her actual concerns, among others.
This week saw many ex African presidents from the SADC region fly into Zambia to honour Zambia’s founding President Kenneth Kaunda, wrongly considered as the nation’s founding father. These honours coincided with the old man’s 95th Birthday. However, we have said it before and we wish to say it again, that Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia is not an Honourable man. Accordingly, he will not be until he publicly states why and how he has defrauded Barotseland and her people their right to Self-determination alongside their brothers in Zambia as guaranteed in the now-defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
This is the same man who on 6th August 1964 stood before the Barotse King, Sir Mwanawina III, KBE, his Kuta and Barotse government, in the presence of many Barotse people (BNC) as witnesses and said;
“….It is the (Zambian) government’s full intention that the Barotseland Agreement  will be honoured fully after independence…. 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 the Barotse Government its maximum assistance and co-operation. …The customary rights in Barotseland will remain with the Litunga, National Council and the District heads of Kutas."
Barotse news media have done a tremendous job highlighting issues that affect Barotseland, so far, and it would be very sad if the Barotse Royal Establishment’s newly installed Ngambela, Mukela Manyando, begun to regard the men and women who have worked selflessly to promote Barotseland as enemies rather than partners in development.
It may be true that many times some Barotse media have reported news that has turned out to be untrue or misleading, but again this may also be due to the lack of transparency that has emanated from the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) itself or sheer lack of logistical capacity to run professional news media!
However, if the new Ngambela will appreciate the potential good that Barotse media can bring to the general development of Barotseland, he should now be seeking to see how he can engage the various existing Barotse media, and avail himself to them so that whenever there are issues that need clarification, the news media could simply reach out to him to authenticate their news before publishing it.
Brandishing them as mere enemies of the Kingdom will be counterproductive!