PF-Consistently Inconsistent on Barotseland
By Shaudi Mungandi wa Muwina Mungandi
The Statement made by Mutompehi Wynter Kabimba who is PF Secretary General as well as Minister of Justice in the in the PF Government is amusing and quite laughable to say the least. I am sure he makes this statement responding to the pressure that the whole PF, from the so called ‘Man of Action’ Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata to the last man in the PF hierarchy, has been made to bare by the brilliant and down to earth Pastoral Letter issued by the Episcopal council in which they have raised very critical issues over the PF governance of the Nation or luck of it thereof.
Among the things raised by the men of God in their well-meaning Pastoral letter was the issue of Barotseland on which they say:
“6.0 THE BAROTSELAND SITUATION
We are greatly disturbed about events surrounding the Barotseland situation in the Western Province.
We are aware of a climate of intimidation and serious human rights violations currently prevailing in the Western Province: abductions of citizens; arbitrary arrests and individuals being subjected to long periods of interrogations, even torture. These acts are totally unacceptable. They must stop forthwith. This country is not in a state of emergency. We are not convinced that a de facto state of emergency should therefore exist in the Western Province.
The Barotse Issue will not go away or die a Natural Death.That is tantamount to playing Ostrich and burying their heads in the sand.
We reiterate the call we made in our Pastoral Statement (That they may have abundant life, 29 January 2012) for the current administration to work with all stakeholders towards creating a more conducive environment that would lead to the amicable resolution of all matters surrounding the Barotseland situation.
We further urge all our leaders to especially avoid making unsubstantiated alarming statements and threats as these only serve to block opportunities for dialogue.”
The PF response
Mr Kabimba in his attempt to try and diffuse the impact of that well-articulated and well-meaning statement over the Barotse Question and situation on how the PF Government has so far mishandled the matter, he made a statement which has been widely publicised by the PF vuvuzela Media houses including ZNBC TV as well as some online publications, the gist of which was to say that the PF Government has been ‘Consistent’ on the Barotseland issue. What a big joke! If they have been any consistence at all on the part of the PF Government concerning the Barotseland issue it is in its Inconsistency on the same. The PF Government including its top men i.e. Mr. Chilufya Sata and Wynter Kabimba have been ‘Consistently Inconsistent over Barotseland’.
Among other things said by Wynter to substantiate his claim was that Mr. Chilufya Sata’s PF released the Barotse detainees as soon as they came to power according to their campaign promises and ever since no one has been harassed over Barotseland. Can anyone with a sane mind honestly believe what Wynter is saying? The crux of the problem is that in Wynter and his boss we are dealing with men that can tell blatant lies without a wink or mincing any word, without even ‘swallowing saliva’ as we say back home.
Let me just make a few points as pointers to this ‘consistent inconsistence’:
- The jewel in the crown of the PF campaign in Barotseland was the loud proclamation that once in power they will restore the Barotseland Agreement 1964 within 90 days. I do remember that on one occasion Mr. Sata even declared himself a member of Linyungandambo.
- Of course Mr. Sata released the Barotse detainees a little after he got to power thanks to his loud mouth promising things that he has not the slightest inclination to fulfil. He also set up the Rodger Chongwe Commission of inquiry into the Mongu Riots (by the Police) and the surrounding Barotse Issues. Of course it is common knowledge that Mr. Sata and gang wanted to use the Commission of Inquiry to get at the Litunga and get the people implicate their own King as a conspirator in the crimes committed against the Barotse People on and around the 14th of January, 2011. That expectation was not met because the people of Barotseland will not implicate their own King and are so loyal to him that they would actually defend him with their own lives.
- Rather the people of Barotseland used the Commission of Inquiry to articulate more than ever before in the history of the Kingdom, with so much unanimity that they are fade up with Zambian Forced dominion and want the whole world to know that they want out.
- The Rodger Chongwe Commission of Inquiry which was overwhelmed by submission for Barotseland to be separated from the rest of Zambia. Made the mild recommendation that the Barotseland Agreement 1964 should be restored immediately and the name Barotseland should be reinstated. Mr Sata immediately dismissed the report without tabling it before Cabinet. He stated that he will be reluctant to restore the BA ’64.
- Throughout the campaign Sata and his cronies referred to Barotseland as such; Barotseland. But since they got into power the name Barotseland has almost become a forbidden word in their vocabulary even after Rodger Chongwe recommended that the name be reinstated.
- The Commission also recommended that the released detainees be sufficiently compensated for the ordeal that they went through. Mr. Sata’s Government have remained mute over that issue well as it has about everything that the Rodger Chongwe Commission recommended. The whole report is just gathering dust at State House.
- Among the detainees was a Police Superintended a Mr. Maybin Mubita Sikwa who lost his job in the Zambian Police force for no reason at all. Mr Sata promised Mr. Sikwa in the hearing of the delegation of Barotse Activists who were called for talks with the President at State House that he has his job back but to this day to the best of my knowledge Mr Sikwa is still languishing.
Due to the announcement made by Mr Sata about a mysterious Barotse Army which supposedly recruited over 600 ex- police and army officers and due to the declaration of a war that reeks of genocide which the head of state declared when he said: “‘When you go there, just fire, when they say ‘fa’ just fire, when they say ‘enisha’ just fire at them, do not hesitate.’
The Zambia security forces have been carrying out a crackdown on Barotse Nationals all over Barotseland from Lukulu to Sesheke and every place in between. These people are picked secretively and subjected to long hours of interrogation and torture and kept for long without charge. This is in addition to the 17 that were arrested for allegedly tearing copies of the Zambian draft constitution in demonstration of the fact they are not interested in the Zambian Constitution but rather in the establishment of a free state of Barotseland.
How can Wynter have the audacity to say that they are no more people being harassed on account of Barotseland?
This trick of the enemy will not work. Let Mr Wynter Kabimba be well advised that he will achieve nothing by going to the press and say sweet nothings, thinking that the world and Barotseland will buy his story. They should not think that by pretending that all is well in Barotseland and announcing all those developmental plans and programs the people of Barotseland and the World at large will lose sight of the real issues. That is tantamount to playing Ostrich and burying their heads in the sand. The Barotse Issue will not go away or die a Natural Death. Let this Government be ‘Man enough’ and get the bull by its horns by engaging the Barotse Authorities and people amicably and in a civilized way.
Well I am just thinking aloud!