Accordingly, the BRE representative at Likando’s burial, Senior Induna Imandi, Hon Nyambe Namushi, was tasked to announce that on the day before his burial and the actual day of burial, all the BRE Kuta, including the Saa Kuta, were closed in honour of Hon Likando Pelekelo who passed away on Saturday 15th August 2020, in Zambia’s state maximum prison where he was serving a 15 – year sentence for his involvement in the peaceful campaign for Barotseland self-determination.
Induna Imandi said that the gesture was to demonstrate solidarity with Likando Pelekelo and the rest of the nation and also to show the Kingdom that the BRE understands and appreciates what he and other Barotseland independence campaigners are doing.
The Senior Induna further called for a unity of purpose if Barotseland is to achieve its full self-determination. He called on all those who were still mere spectators to get fully involved and carry on from where Likando had ended.
And the BRE has resolved to designate a parcel of land as a memorial burial site for all gallant men and women who die fighting for just causes on behalf of the Kingdom, the Barotseland Post understands.
Passing the resolutions in an emergency BRE Kuta session held on Sunday 16th August 2020, the Kuta reportedly resolved, among other things, that those who give their lives for notable acts of gallantry will now be honoured and buried at the designated memorial park for national remembrance.
The BRE Kuta resolved that never again shall noble acts of gallantry go unrecognized by the Royal Authority.
It was in the same emergency Kuta meeting that the BRE resolved to take an active role in the burial of Likando Pelekelo.
However, at the request of his extended family, Likando Pelekelo was put to rest on Tuesday afternoon, 18th August 2020 in a solemn procession at Sikota burial site in Namalangu area of Senanga, his hometown.
He is survived by a wife, four sons and one daughter, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren after his other two children had died earlier while he was in prison.
Likando Pelekelo, 65, died in Zambian state maximum prison at Mukobeko, Kabwe, Central Zambia, where he was serving a 15 – year jail sentence for his role in peacefully implementing the regularly sanctioned Barotse National Council (BNC) of March 2012 which unanimously resolved to initiate a peaceful separation of the Kingdom of Barotseland from the republic of Zambia after the latter repeatedly refused or neglected to honour the pre-independence Barotseland Agreement.
The Barotseland Agreement 1964 would accord the two separate British protectorates of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) shared political sovereignty on the condition that Barotseland would continue to enjoy internal autonomy within the Zambian republic under the principal leadership of its King, The Litunga of Barotseland.
However, with independence in 1964, the new Zambian government began to unilaterally change its national laws in 1965 in such a way that by 1969, the Barotseland Agreement 1964 was completely abrogated contrary to the pre-independence tripartite treaty signed between the governments of Britain, Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia.
Over the years, the Zambian state has sought to suppress any calls for the restoration of the defunct 1964 agreement, often arresting key peaceful campaigners, until 2012 when the Kingdom of Barotseland unanimously resolved that they would no longer be forced to honour a defunct agreement that the other party was no longer willing to implement.
In December 2014, Likando Pelekelo, Afumba Mombotwa and Inambao Kalima were arrested when a video emerged on YouTube of Afumba Mombotwa taking an oath to serve the King of Barotseland and the Kingdom in a shadow and transitional office of Administrator General, an action the Zambian state regarded as treason, accusing the trio of illegally usurping the power of the State.
The three were convicted in 2016 after a protracted questionable trial in which they were slapped with 10 years prison sentences each with hard labour.
However, after the trio appealed their High Court convictions and sentences, Zambia’s Supreme Court extended their prison sentences to 15 years, claiming their actions to appeal to Zambia’s highest court was a sign of self-righteousness and a lack of repentance for their treason crimes.
The three have been made to suffer untold misery and torture in Zambia’s maximum prisons to serve as an example for those that may wish to continue campaigning for Barotseland self-determination, leading to Likando’s death.
Although Likando died in unclear circumstances, it would point to Zambian state neglect and the deplorable prison conditions the three have been subjected to.
For example, in November 2019, while amusing himself on his 63rd birthday, Zambian President Edgar Lungu announced publicly that he had pardoned Afumba Mombotwa, among four others, only for his Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kapyongo, to announce a few hours later that Afumba's pardon had been reversed, an action that amounts to the mental and psychological torture of a prisoner, never before witnessed in Zambia.
Torture of prisoners, whether physical or psychological, is a crime under International Laws, a violation of prisoners' rights roundly condemned under several international treaties.