By Henry Kanyanta Sosala
- Analysis of the cat and mouse relationship between Bemba politicians and Bemba chiefs Part 1
- Analysis of the cat and mouse relationship between Bemba politicians and Bemba chiefs Part 2
Examining Events during President Michael Chilufya Sata’s Reign
This was the darkest epoch in Bemba history when Bemba chieftaincy was at the brink of complete and total ruin. This was a time when the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs publicly defamed, antagonized, humiliated and dishonoured me and Bashilubemba (hereditary councilors) of whom social anthropologist,
Andrew Roberts wrote: ‘’The senior Bakabilo are no mere servants of Chitimukulu, but are themselves the hereditary holders of historic titles, some as old as the Chitimukuluship itself. Since they are essential to the maintenance of chieftainship through their control of chiefly appointments and their responsibility for chiefly rituals, they are in a real sense the source of chiefly legitimacy.’’
The positions of Senior Chief Mwamba and Senior Chief Nkula are of very strategic importance in deciding who next Chitimukulu should be. And therefore, it was just too much of a coincidence because when the PF came into power in 2011, Senior Chief Nkula Musungu II, who had undergone all the rituals pertaining to the throne of Nkula was demoted to be Chief Chikwanda. And the fake issues of rituals led to my subsequent de-gazetting and these maneuvers came up in 2013 merely two months before the selection of the next Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu!.
In Parliament on 21st June 2013, when in answer to Honourable Dr. Chituwo on the reasons for my de-gazetting, Honourable Luo said:
‘’ I should not create my own way of handling matters. According to the law that I am supposed to follow, the royal establishment chooses a chief who is initiated through customary tradition. In the Bemba tradition, when a person is selected to be a chief, that person has to go through the traditional rituals before he can be called a chief. He is also given what are called the instruments of power, and the instruments of power in the Bemba Chiefdom are called Babenye.’’
On the other hand, President Sata claimed that he had de-gazetted me because I had not undergone initiation. But again and again Bashilubemba had been stating that: ‘’I could not go through the rituals because my superior had only gone through the process almost at the end of his life and after his demise the rituals could only be performed after the burial.’’ And Bashilubemba were adamant that President Sata was merely interfering in traditional affairs with intent to destroy Bemba chieftaincy.
However, President Sata stated:
‘’Professor Luo should have a better understanding of the Bemba succession process since she hails from the royal family.’’ (The Post 9th May 2013).
(She is actually from the Bisa and not the Bemba royal family). In fact, the President was adamant that Professor Luo ‘’ had a better understanding of the Bemba succession process, which had been in existence for over 200 years than Bashilubemba.’’
How true are Dr. Kaunda’s words on abuse of power:
‘’The attraction of power is that it extends the range of a man’s personality and allows him to fulfill himself through the personality of others. Power enables men to multiply the impact of their personalities on the world and other men. Hence it is often the source of pride and arrogance. People in power use the vast power at their disposal to mould the lives of the subjects to the point where they cease to be free persons and become, as it were, limbs and organs of their bodies; there will expressed through theirs and their voices speaking through their mouths. ’’
And what was amazing was that when President Sata entered State House in 2011, Yulaya Mumba, suddenly and automatically became the most senior Bemba royal family expert and champion.
In the Supreme Court Judgement No. 25 of 2008 between Chief Mpepo (Ackson Chilufya Mwamba), appellant and Senior Chief Mwamba (Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba), respondent reads on J18__ 623:
’’In the case of the Bemba customary law of succession, it is generally agreed by the parties that a chief below Chitimukulu, it can be Senior Chief Mwamba, Senior Chief Nkula or indeed any other, is chosen or appointed by the Paramount Chief-in-council. When the choice of a Chitimukulu is an issue, the body mandated to make the appointment is known as Bashilubemba. The composition of the two bodies, including the necessary quorum for transaction of business, was not part of the evidence. Besides, what the evidence failed to establish is the role of Chandamukulu, the Queen Mother (including Mukukamfumu, the Queen for Chinsali side), in the selection process of Chitimukulu and the chiefs below Chitimukulu,’’
Dr. Audrey wrote in Political System of the Bemba Tribe:
‘’Authority, power and prerogatives depend upon descent and kinship and all branches of the royal clan can claim connection with the original family of which a traditional Chitimukulu was head. The Chitimukulu is the oldest name of a royal chief. It is the name carried by the most senior members of the crocodile totem and as such it demands the most respect. The sway of the Chitimukulu is as much moral and spiritual as temporal. His temporal power too is the greatest of the chiefs. He lives in and rules Ulubemba, the stronghold of the tribe and all appointments of chiefs to help him hold the widening sphere of Bemba rule comes from him.’’
On the other hand, the Chiluba regime ignored Chitimukulu-in-council as the only legitimate appointing authority of Bemba chiefs and recognized Mr. Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba as ‘’Senior Chief Mwamba’’ under Statutory Instrument 102 of 2000 dated 3rd October 2000. However, the Supreme Court Judgement No. 25 of 2008 between Chief Mpepo (also known as Ackson Chilufya Mwamba) Appellant And Senior Chief Mwamba (also known as Paison Chilekwa Yambayamba) respondent ruled that ‘’It was wrong for former President Chiluba to recognize the plaintiful as Senior Chief Mwamba because that was against the wishes and decision of the Paramount Chief-in-council and therefore a contravention of Section 3 of the Chiefs’ Act. It was pointed out that there was no dispute at trial that the appointing authority of chiefs subordinate to Chitimukulu was the Paramount Chief-in-council and not the President of Zambia or indeed the High Court of Zambia. In this view, the President should have referred the matter to the Paramount Chief-in-council for review and hence customary law was not followed.’’ (p. J 11- 616).
However, deliberately wielding his wild powers over the Bemba traditional system and the Supreme Court ruling, President Michael Sata gazetted Chileshe Yulaya Mumba as Chief Chewe (SI 126 of 2011 of 11th November 2011) and Grimson Mwila as Chimbuka(SI 24 of 2013 of 28th February 2013), without even the slightest courtesy of notifying the Bemba Royal Establishment.
It’s here where one realizes the undeniable reality that the entire nation, including all institutions are held on the presidential hook! For example, the attorney –general, who is supposed to be the government’s legal expert could do not advise the President about this terrible and shameless abuse of office. Why should the government’s legal advisor let the President misuse his Executive powers and sink so low as to interfere with a tribal arrangement that has been in existence for more than 200 years!
What about the lawyers who have grouped themselves into what is supposed to be a very powerful legal body to defend the interests of the marginalized, i.e, the Law Association of Zambia? The answer is simple: they could not put their careers on line since they have families to look after.
J13 __618 of the Supreme Court judgement reads:
‘’Alluding to the case of Ignatius Muhau Vs Attorney General and National Airports Corporation, a case founded on the principle of judicial review and where it stated that the court cannot enquire into the merits or demerits of the decision made by a body with the power to make decision. Professor Mvunga, S,C., submitted that the decision of Bashilubemba would not be attacked on any ground of illegality, impropriety or unreasonableness in the Wednesbury sense……’’
We have already heard from the’’ Bemba cultural expert,’’ Honourable Nkandu Luo declare in Parliament, ‘’ According to the law that I am supposed to follow, the royal establishment chooses a chief who is initiated through customary tradition. In the Bemba tradition, when a person is selected to be a chief, that person has to go through the traditional rituals before he can be called a chief. He is also given what are called the instruments of power, and the instruments of power in the Bemba Chiefdom are called Babenye.’’ On the other hand, President Sata claimed that he had de-gazetted me because I had not undergone initiation.
On the other hand, Andrew Roberts wrote:
‘’The senior Bakabilo are no mere servants of Chitimukulu, but are themselves the hereditary holders of historic titles, some as old as the Chitimukuluship itself. Since they are essential to the maintenance of chieftainship through their control of chiefly appointments and their responsibility for chiefly rituals, they are in a real sense the source of chiefly legitimacy.’’
Indeed, according to President Sata and Honourable Luo I was de-gazetted because I had not been initiated in accordance with Bemba customs. But the question is: Who performed the rituals on PF cadre Chiefs Chewe and Chimbuka to make them qualify to be gazetted as Bemba chiefs? If on the other hand, they had undergone through Bisa rituals, did they qualify to be gazetted as Bemba chiefs?
And consequently it has now clearly come to light that there was a calculated deliberate scheme to ruin the Bemba chieftainship because on 17th June 2015, Senior Chief Nkula, Chief Chikwanda, Chief Mukwikile, Chief Luchembe, Chief Munkonge and myself paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Honourable Katema at his office and the files of the PF cadre chiefs, Chewe and Chimbuka do not have family trees. And therefore these two according to Dr. Audrey ‘’have no connection with the original family of which a traditional Chitimukulu was head,’’ where then do these PF cadre chiefs derive their royal heritage to qualify as Bemba chiefs since they are not members of the Bemba royal family?
The family tree is of crucial importance as far as claims to the royal heritage is concerned. For example, the gospel of Matthew in the Bible begins with the genealogy f our Lord Jesus Christ. And by showing Christ as descended from king David, Matthew wants to explicate that Jesus is the royal heir to the throne.
The answer came from the horse’s mouth. Kingsley Kaswende reported on Yulaya Mumba, the PF-cadre Chief Chewe:
‘’..in making a claim for Chitimukuluship, Chief Chewe, for instance, seems to consider an alternative scenario in his case, ‘In fact we from Ichinga do not consider Chitimukulu from the miti clan as a royal. We can do without your Chitimukulu and the boundary will be east of the Chambeshi river. Nkula-chewe-Kaponge-we-Chinga. Chief Chewe will be the overall Paramount chief of Ichinga country’.’’ (Bulletin magazine Volume IV. Issue 3 April 2014). And furthermore, the government approved their traditional ceremony called, ‘’ukulambalala,’’ as opposed to the Bemba ‘’Ukusefya Pa Ngwena.’’
And so, the recent constituted Bisa nationalism had the strategic evil plan of transferring the Bemba paramountcy to Chileshe Yulaya Mumba, a man of common stock and therefore reduce the Bemba tribe to nothingness. And furthermore, Albert Mumbi, who was gazetted as Chief Tungati was transferred to act as Chief Mumpolokoso because the people rose against him was recruited by the Luo-cartel to make another division and another ceremony was approved called ‘’ukusefya Pa Chishamwamba.’’ He was promised to be promoted to a position of Seniorchief inspite of being on the lowest rung according to Bemba hierarchy. His task was to include Bemba chiefdoms of Mumpolokoso, Shibwalya Kapila, Tungati, Chipalo and Senior Chief Shimumbi to break away from the authority of Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu.
Let me give you the clear picture of the strategy: In Muchinga, Yulaya was to be the Paramount chief over Senior Chief Nkula, Chief Chikwanda, chief Mpepo, Chief Luchembe, Chief Mukwikile, Chief Mubanga and Chief Nkweto. ( Mr. Geoffrey Ng’andu the current Chief Mukwikile was to be deployed in the diplomatic service in order to create an opening for Yulaya’s appointee, but he was only to serve for a period of one year and to be recalled and that could have been the end of his story).
And this meant that Mwinelubemba was supposed to remain only with Senior Chief Mwamba, chief Nkolemfumu, Chief Makasa, Chief Chimbola, and Chief Munkonge. And the socaled ‘’Senior Chief Mumpolokoso’’ had one time travelled to appoint Chief Chimbola as Chitimukulu.
An ancient scholar, Eliphaz said,
‘’God upsets the plans of the crafty, so that nothing they try seems to succeed. He traps the wise in their own schemes and what they thought would succeed, doesn’t.’’ (Job 5: 12, 13).
And the great physicist, Albert Einstein once said,
‘’God doesn’t play dice.’’
Examining Events during President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s Reign
And just two days after President Lungu took office, he gazetted me as Mwinelubemba Chitimukulu Kanyanta-Manga II. And it was indeed a great relief and it brought jubilation among the Bemba people since the tension had finally come to an end. But unfortunately we were not aware that we were just fooling ourselves, because the baton in the relay race of hating the Bemba chiefs had been safely passed on from Honourable Nkandu Luo to Honourable Joseph Katema, the current Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs.
And since a long period had lapsed since as Bemba chiefs we had met, I called Ilamfya Supreme Council on 16th March 2015, the Bemba highest decision making body which was best described in the African Weekly newspaper of 14th December 1955, in an article titled ‘’Motion to Restrict Politicians Opposed’’ reads:
We tabled many issues which included PF cadre chiefs Chewe and Chimbuka, which we all thought were straight forward since there were Supreme Court rulings. And the issue of the so-called ‘’Senior chief Mumpolokoso,’’ who had even refused to attend the Council inspite of my having sent two Bashilubemba to deliver the invitation personally. The Supreme Council instructed me to send the minutes and the resultant resolution to the Ministry.
On the 17th June 2015, Senior Chief Nkula, Chief Chikwanda, Chief Mukwikile, Chief Luchembe, Chief Munkonge and myself paid a courtesy call on Honourable Katema at his office to find out why no action had been taken since about three months had lapsed. The Minister promised to act on our issues, but all of us were surprised when we noted his flippant attitude.
During my installation ceremony, Steven Mvula and Kelvin Kachingwe reported,
Here I suppose Honourable Katema was playing with the words of a Catholic priest, Father Joe Komakoma who described traditional rulers as ‘’Easy-to-fool chiefs.’’ (The Post 8th March 2001).
And in our private meeting, President Lungu told me that he had heard about our concerns, but he was only waiting for the necessary documentation from the Minister, Honourable Katema. And on another occasion at State House the President insisted that he could not act without proper papers and on that occasion, he tried to ring the Minister, but he was out of coverage and instructed Mr. Amos Chanda, who contacted his wife, and was told that the Minister was attending some primitive ceremony in some remote area of Eastern Province.
And as recently as 15th December 2015, when President Lungu came to commission a Zesco project at Kasama, we as Bemba chiefs raised the same issue, but the President retaliated that he had not yet received the papers from the Minister.
…To be Continued….