State looking into Kuomboka issue
Government says it has not been notified of the decision by the Barotse Royal Establishment to cancel the 2012 Kuomboka ceremony and will engage the organisers to ascertain why the ceremony has been put off.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism Given Lubinda said the organisers of the traditional ceremony, which pulls hundreds of local and foreign tourists every year, will be engaged to establish the reasons behind the cancellation.
Mr Lubinda said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that traditional ceremonies are no longer tribal but important national heritage events.
“The country has major interests in traditional ceremonies because they are no longer for a specific tribe but are a national heritage,” he said.
He said the reasons given by the organisers are unsatisfactory and contradictory.
Mr Lubinda said three different issues have been cited as reasons for the cancellation and he would hold talks with the organisers to clarify the matter.
“We will engage the organisers of the ceremony because they are contradicting themselves on the reasons for the cancellation,” he said.
Mr Lubinda’s comments follow a disclosure by the Ngambela of the Barotse Royal Establishment Clement Sinyinda that the Kuomboka ceremony will not take place because of the emerging full moon.
Ngambela Sinyinda said the ceremony cannot take place under a full moon as this is against Lozi tradition.
He also cited low water levels as the other reason for putting off this year’s Kuomboka.
Ngambela Sinyinda also said the Barotse National Council does not have enough time to organise the ceremony as it had spent most of its time and resources planning for its meeting last month.
Kuomboka means ‘to get out of water’. The traditional ceremony takes place at the end of the rainy season, when the Zambezi River floods the plains of the Western Province.
The festival celebrates the relocation of the Litunga, king of the Lozi people, from his compound at Lealui in the Barotse floodplains of the Zambezi River to Limulunga, which is on higher ground.