Thursday, February 29, 2024

Part 2: A Letter to Traditional Leaders on controversies regarding land issues

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Dr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala

Professor Akuffo: ’’When a fool becomes wise, then the game is over since there is no one to play the game.’’

Identifying the Source of Leadership

Any human society of whatever level requires organization and speaking of “organization,” I refer to the pattern of observable regularities of behavior by reference to which people are seen to order their social relationships among themselves. And this is the reason how and why political leadership was birthed.

And this therefore means that people are born equal but not necessarily of the same status. William Shakespeare put it thus: ‘’Be not afraid of greatness. Some people are born great; some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them.’’ I am therefore in this article emphasizing to their Royal Highnesses that they stand on a superior moral ground than politicians because of a ‘’Mystical Charter and a Divine Right’’ to be rulers, which can only be described as ‘’intangible mysticism.’’

In fact traditional leadership is inherently political. This is born out of history, custom and practice because before the present mode of governments in Africa, traditional kingship was the sole government. And each chiefdom was a “state” on its own under a traditional government. Traditional authority refers to powers that are associated with and emanate from the institution of chieftaincy. In African societies, traditional rulers derive their authority from customs and traditions that have existed since time immemorial. Traditional rulers are custodians and repositories of traditional customs and cultural heritage. Customs and norms provide a means whereby modes of behavior for each society are fixed. These provide a mechanism whereby young people cannot be brought up in a higgledy-piggledy manner.

When the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar decided to conscript young men from Judah into his service, he ordered his servant ‘’to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families.’’ (Daniel 1:3).

This then means that there are certain clans or families within every nation or tribe that are destined to be leaders. Let me refer to the descendants of Abraham through the patriarch Jacob as revealed when he was blessing his children. And in case of Judah, he said: ‘’Judah will hold the royal scepter, and his descendants will always rule…….’’ (Genesis 49:5).

And as regards the Barotse kingship, the clan of royal blood line or lineage is Banda Andula. The Bemba tribe has about thirty clans, but the royal clan is that of the Bena Ng’andu (i.e., crocodile totem). And in this respect, Andrew Roberts wrote: ‘’The most important social institution among the Bemba, other than the family, is chieftainship. It is above all this institution which generates and perpetuates historical traditions; the affairs regarding which the Bemba look to history for guidance and inspiration are the affairs of chiefs. Bemba history, then, is above all the history of Bemba chieftainship and the doing of the royal clan, the Bena Ng’andu. Yet although such history serves to affirm and reinforce the power and prestige of a ruling group, it is nevertheless accepted by the Bemba as being in an important sense as their own history. The glory of the Bena Ng’andu is something in which all Bemba can share and derive a sense of communal pride. Amid the upheavals of the twentieth century, the Bemba have retained a sense of corporate continuity and communal pride through the survival of their political structure, a living testimony to their imperial past. Besides no other chiefly clan in the region has gained such power for its tribe as the Bena ng’andu…’’
Zambia today as a nation is a federation of chiefdoms voluntarily united to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled central government which is run by tribesmen and women from various chiefdoms. And that was why Dr. Kenneth Kaunda in applauding this wonderful unification of various chiefdoms came up with the motto: One Zambia, One Nation.

The Great, Adolf Hitler in his book, ‘’Mein Kampf’’’ wrote: ’’Popular support is the first element which is necessary for the creation of authority. If popular support and power are united together and can endure for a certain time, then an authority may arise which is based on a still stronger foundation, namely, the authority of tradition. And, finally, if popular support, power and tradition are united together, then the authority based on them may be looked upon as invincible.’’

We must look to another philosophical equation in order to understand the implications of Hitler’s declaration. It is said that Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions. A Republic is a government in which that attention is divided between many, who are doing interesting actions. Accordingly, so long as the human heart is strong and human reason weak, Royalty will be stronger and human reason weak. Royalty will be stronger because it appeals to diffused feelings and Republic weak because they appeal to understanding.

On the Copper-belt before the African Mine Workers’ Union was established in 1953, there were Elders or Tribal Representatives who were primary agents of administration over Africans on the mines. A social anthropologist, A.L. Epstein carried out a research in Luanshya in the 1950s and here is what he wrote in his book, ‘’Politics in an Urban African Community’’: ‘’There were twenty-three Elders in the Municipal location, representing some twenty-three tribes. They all fell within the social category known in Bemba as ‘Abakalamba.’’ They were big ones, men of age and maturity. And on how did they come to be elected as Elders? All the Elders with whom I was able to discuss were in complete agreement that tribal status in itself mattered little in their elections as elders. Any man, they used to say, who was wise and intelligent and well-known among the people might be chosen as an Elder.

And here is the Tribal Status of Location Elders in Mikomfwa (Luanshya) (1953)
Brother of a Chief 4
Son or Maternal Nephew of a Chief 8
Grandson of a Chief 6
Brother-in-law of a Chief 1
Son of a Tribal Councillor 2
Ordinary Commoners 2
Total 23

The apostle Paul wrote: ‘’Everyone must obey the state authorities because no authority exists without God’s permission and the existing authorities have been put there by God.’’ (Romans 13:1). In order to clearly understand the root cause of the rejection of traditional ruler-ship in Africa, we must look back to history. Israel was being ruled by priests, however, during the reign of the patriarch Samuel, the people of Israel demanded to be ruled by a king: ‘’All the leaders of Israel met together went to Samuel and said, ‘appoint a king to rule over us as other countries’.’’ Samuel was displeased with their request for a king so he prayed to the Lord and the Lord said, ‘’Listen to everything the people say to you. You are not the one they have rejected; I am the One they have rejected as their King.’’ (I Samuel 8:4-7).

In his book ‘’God, Spies and Lies’’ John Matisonn quotes Charles Bloomberg thus: ‘’intellectually, the French Revolution was a product of the Enlightenment. Though different Enlightenment thinkers had different priorities, there were common threads. The Enlightenment based its thinking on science and reason. Its political significance was that if you base analysis on reason; if you challenge the divine right of kings. This was truly revolutionary. The French Revolutionary did not just remove the king; it removed God’s political power. Now the ruler’s policies could be contested, assessed, opposed. Overthrowing the king opened the way to election by the people, and the entitlement to debate the correct course of action. The French Revolution dethroned God as well the king.’’

In the course of history, several kingdoms have been overthrown like the Czars of Russia; the kingship of China; Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia; The Pharaoh of Egypt and even including Britain’s Monarch.
Let us look at the events in the history of England. In 1647, there sprung up all sorts of figures in the United Kingdom to denounce the Divine Right —- the Crown or Monarch. At the end of 1648, Oliver Cromwell became a dictator. Let us now listen to what followed from the pen of one of Europe’s great statesmen, Sir Winston Churchill : ‘’At 1300 hours of 30th January 1649, king Charles I was informed that his hour had come. He walked through a window of the Bunqueting house on to the scaffold. He resigned himself to death and assisted the executioner in arranging his hair under a small white satin cap. He laid himself upon the block and upon his signal, his head was struck off at a single stroke. His severed head was shown to the people and someone cried, ‘this is the head of a traitor’.’’

The English Republic was born and the handful of the Members of the House of Commons who served the purposes of Cromwell resolved that: ‘’The people are under God, the original of all power…….that the Common of England in Parliament assembled, being chosen by the and representing the people, have the supreme power in this nation.’’ It was further voted that the name of a single person should no longer be mentioned in legal transactions under the Great Seal. A new seal was presented, bearing on one side a map of England and Ireland and on the other side a picture of the House of Commons with the inscription ‘’In the First year of freedom, by God’s blessing restored.’’ A statue of king Charles was thrown and on the pedestal was inscribed the words, ‘’Exit the tyrant, the last of the kings.’’ On February 5, it was declared that the House of Lords ‘’is useless and dangerous and ought to be abolished.’’ Thereafter, it ceased to meet. The country was then governed by a Council of State annually chosen by Parliament.

How was the Crown restored? George Monk, the Commander-in-chief of all forces was one of those Englishmen who understood to perfection the use of time and circumstances. He was convinced that the mass of English people were tired of constitutional experiments and longed for the return of the Monarch. After only twelve years, on 25th May 1660, King Charles II (the son of the murdered King) returned from exile. He was received with profound reverence. All classes crowded to welcome the King back to his home. They cheered and wept in uncontrollable emotion. They felt themselves delivered from a nightmare. They now dreamed they had entered a Golden Age. It was England’s supreme day of joy. (A History of the English-Speaking Peoples vol. 2 the New World )
The Crown of England is today the most popular and the most respected in the world. Here is what an American church minister, Reverend Jack Hayford observed when he visited the United Kingdom: ‘’Great Britain is a kingdom with a great and glorious past, its history and royal heritage give people faith and hope for the future. They know who they are and what they must do as a nation. Even as I think about these things, millions of ordinary people are excited about the coming celebration of the Queen (fifty years on the throne). The entire kingdom is caught up in a mood of personal and national importance. They are a people of royal destiny and dignity. Each one feels in some mystical way that he is related to the one who wears the crown and holds the scepter. As a visitor from another country, I am deeply moved. There seems to be a national dignity that flows from the throne, even in the humblest home. Each person, great or small feels they are an important part of the kingdom. They are all a part of one royal family, united by a rich sense of historic purpose and identity.’’

(TO BE CONTINUED)

14 COMMENTS

  1. Do you guys remember when a group of thugs settled on my land illegally and then I was accused of burning their illegal structures on my land.

  2. I have much respect for Chitimukulu, but this exuberant expression of academic prowess is anserine. Do this for your thesis at university where peers can review and challenge the assertions without basis. If this was directed at chiefs, there is a forum where they meet- the House of Chiefs. Talk to them there.

    • Kikikikiki Leka imfumu yesu ilande. Its a democracy there’s no protocol for how you are supposed to talk. Practically no rules to speech.
      But ba ntambalukuta fimofimo namu misser. You refer to mass genocidal criminal as “Great” Adolf Hitler. He is never called that unless by Neo -nazis like Trump.

  3. 1. “The great Hitler”? Am sorry sir, but i cannot fathom how any man can refer to hitler as great, except a fascist. Hitler…who killed at least 6 million Jews like animals. The man who locked them up in concentration camps like pigs. The man who used them as guinea pigs to test all kinds of toxic chemicals? The man who sparked word war 2 which resulted in the death on millions and millions of people? He is great? The man who classed black people as “sub-human! And you are a black man….Awe ba sosala. If Hitler is great, then the greatest being in the universe must be the devil. This is so absolutely shocking that it makes this whole article offensive to any human moral and social reason. Of all the bad articles you have written this is a stinker.
    2. The best human outcomes have…

    • Kwena you are right but I wish you could express similar wrath about people like that Belgian King who maimed your congolese brothers. And George Bush who killed Iraqis on suspicion of WMD

  4. 2. The best human outcomes have always been realized through democracy and ot chieftaincy. History is very clear. Chiefs when they have legislative, judicial and executive power as they did before the modern era are almost always cruel tyrants. This is fact. You cannot have a society that is run on the whims of one man.
    3. A correction……Isreal was not ruled by priests but by elders, and then by judges and finally by kings. Its only after Israel was conquered by Greece that priests started to rule, because they had liberated Israel during the Maccabean era.
    Sir, do not twist facts and morals to justify your flawed reason. Worst of all, twisting God’s word comes with a huge price. I encourage you to repent.

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  5. Inclined to agree with #2. This is no place for semi academic articles. We do read Mwizenge’s academic work but thankfully he dials it down so that us ordinary people can read and enjoy.
    The most interesting thing here is that we are now allowed to comment on Sosala’s article. Previously, he was above criticism and his articles were exempted from comments.

  6. Which of our chiefs will read this and comprehend this? I doubt if Mpezeni will understand a sentence of what Mwinelubemba has written.

  7. Most chiefs and headman are illiterate………

    Is that fair to their subjects to have decisions affecting them made by illiterate chiefs and headman……..????

    GRZ needs to organise some form of fast track educational programme for them……..

    Things like witchcraft needs to be debunked , environmental awareness and basic economics and development are things they need to be aware of………..

  8. No one has a divine right to rule. God instituted GOVERNANCE as institutions not as individual persons. Governance starts in the home where a husband is head not ruler, but equal to the wife. Then, the heads of household would have equal standing too at the gate and by reason of age, they would be more respected. Monarchy came because of violence of men against each other. Humanity’s earliest rulers were protectors. The protection was paid for by the weak. This eventually morphed into what we now call tax. We pay for war.

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