His Majesty the Litunga, King of Barotseland, Imwiko II has arrived in Livingstone to grace the 5th Zambezi International Regatta scheduled to take place on the 14th of September.
On hand to receive him as his aeroplane touched down on Wednesday afternoon, 11th September 2019, were several Batoka chiefs, among them, their Royal Highnesses Chief Chikanta and Chiefteness Sekute of Kalomo district, covering Dundumwezi and Kazungula districts respectively.
The chiefs were at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport alongside the Provincial Minister, Edify Haamukala, to welcome the Litunga who is in the tourist capital for an official royal visit to grace the International Regatta and South investment Expo at the invitation of the Provincial leadership and the government of Zambia.
Batoka, now largely the Southern Province of Zambia, was once a District of Barotseland and its people continue to enjoy a very special relationship with the King of Barotseland.
This September, His Majesty the Litunga, King of Barotseland, will ceremoniously travel to Livingstone on the Zambezi River, the first such royal travel by any Litunga since his father did it in April 1947 when he travelled on the incredible Zambezi to meet King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the Zambezi Boat Club.
The Litunga will travel to Livingstone to grace the 5th Zambezi International Regatta scheduled to take place on the 14th of September.
For this royal tour of duty to Livingstone, the King and his royal entourage will travel the traditional way called Kupuwana, when the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) will come with their royal boats and barges for a flotilla on 13th September 2019.
Kupuwana is a distinct water ceremony the King of Barotseland undertakes when on an official or ceremonial tour of duty different from the annual Kuomboka or Kufuluhela festivals.
Consequently, alternative but equally spectacular royal barges, such as the Indila, are used for the voyage in the place of the Nalikwanda and the Notila royal barges that are the main features during the Kuomboka water festival and its reverse voyage, Kufuluhela.
As the African-American Homecoming team emotionally retraced their ancestors' painful journey through the Lwanginga River basin, hundreds of their brothers and sisters in Kalabo were on hand to walk with them and later console them with a regatta on the Lwanginga.
The visit to Kalabo happened on Tuesday, 13th August 2019, to help the African-American Homecoming team retrace some of the routes that their enslaved ancestors may have passed as they were taken away into American slavery centuries ago during the transatlantic slave trade.
Their activities for the day ended with an emotional visit to the Kaasa ka ma Mbali at Namaloko village in the Barotse plains.
And Barotse social media, BBN, reports that the team was officially welcomed by Kalabo District Commissioner (DC), Fridah Luhila, and her Sikongo District counterpart, Bright Tombi, at the Kalabo District Administration office.
The Homecoming team later paid a courtesy call on acting Muleta, who is the most senior Induna and representative of Her Royal Highness, Mulena Mukwae Mboajikana of Libonda Royal Palace, after which they proceeded to the Kalabo harbour at the banks of the Lwanginga River where the local Homecoming organizing committee had set up a regatta (canoeing competition) for their entertainment.
King Mulambwa Santulu, the tenth male Litunga of the then Alui Kingdom, which was later named Barotseland, and Moses Grandy, an African-American former slave, were on Sunday afternoon recipients of honours from their respective descendants for the distinguished roles they played in ending the centuries-long transatlantic slave trade.
At a national prayer rally held on 12th August 2019 to commemorate 400 years since the first African slaves arrived in English America at Mongu Stadium presided over by the Honorable Ngambela, Prime Minister of Barotseland, Mukela Manyando, and attended by thousands of Barotse people from across the Kingdom, the two historical figures were given honorariums in recognition of their rare courage and determination.
The Ngambela of Barotseland received the honorary trophy on behalf of His Majesty the Litunga, King of Barotseland and the Kingdom, while Mr Eric Anthony Mubita Sheppard received the honorary trophy on behalf of Moses Grandy.
His Majesty the Litunga, King of Barotseland, Lubosi Imwiko II has warmly welcomed the African-American homecoming team led by Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS), Eric Anthony Sheppard, and has given his royal blessings for this week’s 400th anniversary commemorations of the beginning of slavery in English America as well as the planned future restoration activities to be undertaken by DRS in the Kingdom Barotseland.
This happened on Friday morning, 9th August, 2019 at the Litunga’s winter palace, in the royal capital of Limulunga after the African-Americans had arrived to a thunderous welcome in Mongu on Thursday night, at about 23:00 hrs local time, where thousands had waited all day to give them a befitting welcome never before witnessed in the Kingdom.
And Mr Eric Anthony Sheppard, leader and founder of DRS, was given a rare honour when His Majesty the Litunga gave him a new name, Mubita, while Prof. Zoe has taken the name Sibeso!
The Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has rejected the Constitutional Amendment Bill of 2019, indicating that some proposed articles are not consistent with the traditional system of Barotseland.
Addressing the press in Limulunga on Tuesday 6th August, 2019 afternoon, Ngambela Mukela Manyando, the Litunga’s Prime Minister, stated that the Kuta had observed with grave concern that some of the proposed articles would derogate the authority and stature of the Litunga of Barotseland and, therefore, he questioned the motive of passing such legislation whose effect was the destruction of traditions and customs of one section of the same country!
And Zambia’s Prime Television News has reported in their mid-morning news on Friday, 9th 2019, that the BRE feels that some articles if passed would have the potential to create anarchy in the region because others will have powers of declaring themselves chiefs.
Prime Television’s Lloyd Kapusa reported that in a meeting held on July 30th - 31st 2019 by the District Palace Kutas which convened in Limulunga, the Winter Capital of the Litunga (King) Lubosi Imwiko II, the BRE sat to analyze the constitutional Amendment Bill of 2019 and resolved not to support the National Dialogue Forum, NDF, resolutions.
“The BRE observed with grave concern that some of the proposals in the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019 will if passed, derogate the authority and stature of the Litungaship - the very foundation of our tradition and identity.
“We, therefore, question the motive of passing such legislation, whose effect is the destruction of traditions and customs of one section of the same country!” Ngambela Mukela Manyando was quoted reading out the Kuta’s resolutions opposing the controversial NDF resolutions.
Through a program called The Home Coming Project, which helps African-Americans trace their original roots, some who reportedly traced their roots back to Barotseland are scheduled to arrive home today for a two-week-long pilgrimage to commemorate 400 years since the first slaves arrived in English America.
The team of ten African-Americans led by Eric Antony Sheppard, the President and Founder of The Diversity Restoration Solutions (DRS) Inc. (USA), arrived in Lusaka, Zambia on Tuesday 6th August en route to Barotseland, where they will be received by the King of Barotseland, Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II, the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and their brothers and sisters in Barotseland for two-week-long festivities that will be organized in many districts across the Kingdom.
The first documented Africans to arrive in the English-speaking colony of what would become the state of Virginia in America, arrived in August 1619 on the “White Lion,” a Dutch man-of-war ship carrying enslaved cargo from the West Coast of Africa, and this August 2019 will be exactly 400 years since.
And to commemorate this special event, many African-Americans, and some from the Caribbean, are travelling back to Africa to reconnect with their ancestral homeland, with many deciding to relocate there permanently!
A President empowered through the currently proposed Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill of 2019, also known as Bill 10, can and could dismantle Barotseland without any consultation, Elias Munshya, an international legal practitioner has warned.
Weighing in on the controversial bill, the Zambian lawyer based in Canada has bemoaned that Bill 10 explicitly refuses to acknowledge any role for Barotseland as it empowers the President of Zambia with a unilateral power to split provinces and to create new provinces, without recourse to the people concerned or to the Parliament of Zambia.
He fears, therefore, that Barotseland is now at the disposal of the unilateral power of the President to do with it, whatever the President wishes!
“Just when we were hoping that wounds of Barotseland could be healed by acknowledging its constitutional status within a united Zambia, Mr Lubinda comes up with a bill that completely undermines the viability of a united nation, as a President empowered through Bill 10 can dismantle Barotseland. This is not right!” complained Mr Munshya in an article published in the widely circulated Zambian daily tabloid, The Mast on July 23, 2019.
The nine (9) Livingstone Barotseland activists who were arrested and jointly charged for ‘unlawful assembly’ and ‘seditious practices’ last year have been freed on nolle prosequi.
Col. Lubasi, Ndopu Sanjola, Pastor Elliot Mbulana, George Akufuna, Silumina, Kebby Sishekanu, Phelim Kaungu, Ms Mukubesa Mubita and Mrs Yubai Mutukwa were arrested on 10th May 2018 and left to languish in deplorable incarceration for a month before they could be granted bail or trial dates.
This was after the nine Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) Livingstone Chapter leaders held a peaceful press conference to reject the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) imposed dialogue process presented at an earlier press conference by the GRZ/BRE emissary, Mutungulu Wanga, who had wanted the people of Barotseland to rubber-stamp the suspicious dialogue process with the Government of Zambia over the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
However, when the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, 30th July 2019 at the Livingstone Magistrate court, Zambia’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shawa Siyunyi, said the state had decided to discontinue the cases against the nine accused on a nolle prosequi.
In response to the article ‘Are Lozi special in Zambia?’ a Zambian blogger writes, “Mr Sibeta Mundia, no one is disputing the fact of how Lozis became Zambians. But, when did Barotseland become a State?”
This is a fair and reasonable question deserving a reasonable response. Hence, a public response may benefit all others with similar questions.
That Barotseland became a British Protectorate in the late 1800s is an indisputable matter of public and international record, and we may not have time and space to outline all the records.
However, the real issue is not whether or not the British accorded Barotseland such protectorate status, rather that we are today dealing with a sinister Zambian national policy that seeks to re-write the history of Barotseland and its own history in the process!
Recently, one egomaniac Zambian High Commissioner, Emmanuel Mwamba, even went on international television, SABC, to embarrass himself when he promulgated this Zambian national policy on Barotseland, and then used that policy to dispel the existence of valid protectorate treaties Barotseland had with the British government in history, relegating them to mere agreements and concessions about the exploration and exploitation of minerals in the territory!
“Zambians who come from the other provinces must understand that the ‘Western Province’ has a legitimate claim to be part of Zambia on a DIFFERENT BASIS to the rest, and cannot in good conscience try to gloss over and arrogantly dismiss this fact, as has been the practice in the past.” Dr Rodger Chongwe, 2010.
Although not specifically stated in post-independence and current national constitutions, it is not a mere supposition or vain claim to state that the Lozi speaking people, also known as Barotse, are a special people in Zambia. Rather, their special status is indeed a legitimate historical and legal fact.
This is not to mean the Lozi are necessarily superior or inferior! They are simply special and the reasons for their uniqueness are briefly outlined here below for those without the historical and legal knowledge of the special circumstances under which the Lozi speaking people became part of independent Zambia.
“However, just like many of us had warned the BRE and the Litunga, the 2019 proposed bill not only maintains the status quo [depriving the king of his powers to dethrone and enthrone chiefs in Barotseland] but also goes further to give the Zambian President sweeping powers to divide, create or re-align provinces including Western Province [Barotseland].”
All Zambia’s successive constitutional amendments, starting from the 1965 amendments to the latest proposed Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill of 2019, have always had specific clauses targeted at stripping the Litunga, King of Barotseland, of his bona fide rights and powers over his Kingdom as well as depriving the Barotse people of their rights to self-determination.
In the latest 2019 constitutional amendment bill, for example, there is a clause that gives the President of Zambia exclusive powers to divide, dismember or create any province in Zambia, including Zambia’s Western Province which forms part of Barotseland, without any consultation with the people concerned, parliament or any statutory body in Zambia.