Friday, June 14, 2024

Part II: Interrogating The Authenticity Of The Agreement On The Establishment Of The Luapula River Authority


Dr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala


I must retaliate that a free-thinker is not one who marches according to the drum-beat of the majority, but dances to the melody that springs from within. The free-thinker is made to understand that great exploits are hidden in the things people fear most; the mighty futures can only be tracked in fearful circumstances.

It was the great Greek philosopher, Socrates, who felt that it was necessary to create mental tensions, so that individuals could rise from bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative and objective analysis. And therefore the poor masses should not be perpetually condemned in the false and highly perverted blinding conditions. The authenticity of one’s life must be promoted by his ability to understand, at least, the falseness of the conditions under which he lives so that he can rise from the bondage of falsehood to the majestic heights of understanding

Missions of Deceit

A Black American, Carter Woodson wrote in his book, The Mis-Education of the Negro: ‘’When you control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.’’

And he went on: ‘’ Schools have two purposes for Black children i.e., either destroy or indoctrinate. And for those who survive destruction, they graduate believing that Greece preceded Egypt. White is better than Black

In Part I of this article, I wrote that in February 2023 some technocrats from various departments including ZESCO had paid a courtesy call on me and informed me that they had come in the province to meet and get inputs from traditional rulers and other stakeholders in respect of the proposed hydro-electric power project on the Luapula river between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. And I later discovered that the document that was presented was actually: THE AGREEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LUAPULA RIVER AUTHORITY.
In an earlier development, a paper had been presented by Martin Sodala, Assistant Director Luapula Province from 22nd to 25th November 2019 titled: The Background and Status of Luapula River Authority

“The Luapula Catchment occupies an area of about 113,323 Km2 within Zambia and 60,063 Km2 in Congo DRC covering the entire Luapula Province and part of the Northern & Muchinga Provinces” WARMA

  • Luapula River starts from the Bangweulu Swamps (one of the world’s largest wetlands); Length is estimated to be 560 kilometer; The Luapula River has Mumbotuta Water Falls in Milenge & Mambilima waterfalls in Mwense.
  •  Joint Venture ZESCO and SNEL to set up a hydropower station on Mumbotuta Waterfalls. The meeting acknowledged the Joint Venture Hydro-Power Project to be set up at Mumbotuta Waterfalls.
  • The Zambian delegation reported that pre-feasibility study was done and the following were the findings;
  • 3 potential sites, 1 at Mombotuta and 2 at Mambilima were identified along the Luapula River.
  • Power generation capacity of 900mw
  • Feasibility and project structuring are ongoing
  • Power evacuation modalities are being considered to benefit both Zambia and DRC
  • Engagement of financiers is ongoing.

Furthermore, the Zambian delegation proposed the creation of Luapula River Authority to manage the common water together i.e.Zambezi River Authority.

A Brief History of the Democratic Republic of Congo

David Van Reybrouck in his book Congo: The Epic History of A People, summarized the first six months after its attainment of independence in 1960: ‘’Congo had to deal with a serious military mutiny; the massive exodus of those Belgians who had remained behind; an invasion by the Belgian army; a military intervention by the United Nations; logistical support from the Soviet Union; an extremely heated stretch of the Cold War; an unparalleled constitutional crisis; two secessions that covered a third of its territory, and, to top it all off, the imprisonment, escape, arrest, torture and murder of its first Prime Minister.’’

And he went on: ‘’The country fell apart, was confronted with a civil war, ethnic programmes, two coups d’etat, three uprisings and six government leaders (Patrice Lumumba, Joseph Ileo, Justin Bomboko, Cyrille Adoula, Moise Tshombe and Evariste Kimba) — two – or perhaps even three…… of whom were murdered. Lumumba, shot dead in 1961; Kimba hanged in 1966, Tshombe found dead in his cell in Algeria in 1969. Even Dag Hammarskjold, secretary-general of the United Nations, the man who headed a reluctant world government, lost his life under circumstances that still remain unclear — an event unparalleled in the history of post war multilateralism. The death toll among the Congolese population itself during this period was too high for meaningful estimates.’’ (ibid pp 181/2)

A Times of Zambia correspondent in Bukavu filed this report: ‘’……Scores of armed groups roam eastern DRC, many of them a legacy of two regional wars that raged at the end of the last year. The latest emergency is over a resurgent armed group called the M23, which has seized swathes of territory in North Kivu province since emerging from dormancy last year.’’ (ibid 28th December 2022)

One normally questions the reasonableness of undertaking such a huge project with the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country that has never been stable or its citizens ever enjoyed and experienced any peace since Thursday 30th June 1960 to-date (i.e., 63 years down the line) One then wonders and questions the motive why SADC member states should dare to risk millions of dollars to invest in such a risky and unstable country which is well-known throughout the world as the most risky and no insurance company can ever underwrite any insurance policy to cover for whatever business in Congo!

The average Africans can never grasp the truth that the capitalist-exploiter is a great strategic visionary who leads with truth but never to truth and his mind is sharpened to the edge of a razor. The truth is that Lake Bangweulu which covers both Luapula and Northern Provinces is one of the world’s largest wetlands. And climatic indicators had predicated in the 1940s that the southern part of Africa would face acute water challenges in the next one hundred years. In fact this is the third attempt (other attempts were made in 1953 and 1960) to usurp the control of the same water body

A Society of Wolves

What is really heart-wrenching is to note that we have a lot of beneficiaries of foreign funds, plunderers, immoral and unprincipled politicians i.e., outright criminals who have taken the central stage in the running of this country. The worst of characters, who do not in the least care what happens to our country or the citizens because all that they want is money. The South African President, P.W. Botha at one time said that the white man would use the African’s love of money to destroy him. ‘’Here is a creature who lacks foresight.’’ I believe Professor Michelo Hansungule clearly described these individuals: ‘’They are people who are impulsive, cruel; have a peculiar inability to grasp the distinction between good and evil and inhibit a lack of guilty or remorse for any wrong doing.’’

The Post’s editorial: ‘’We have lost a lot in terms of our sense of humanity over the last 15 years. The man-centred society that KK and his comrades tried to build in this country has been substituted by a society of wolves, hyenas and jackals which is centred in greed and vanity where those who are shrewd, who are daring, the most crooked can steal everything and become rich, leaving nothing for the poor and the disabled.’’ (ibid. 18th September 2006).

No wonder John Phiri sarcastically asked: “:…which universities did these educated fools go to where they were given degrees, masters and PhDs on how to plunder the nation’s funds.?” (Education Post 10th July 2005).

It is important at this juncture to let you know the events that contributed to the 1991 regime change in Zambia. According to the career intelligence officer, Dr. Kamoyo Mwale, the coordinated intelligence exchanges between Zambia and South Africa at that time, the regime change in Zambia was initiated by the western countries who didn’t want the future ANC government in South Africa to be influenced by Dr. Kaunda. Dr. Chiluba and his colleagues were given US$ 600 million, which was deposited at some embassy in Pretoria, from where they drew their campaign funds.(Sunday Post 26th March 2006). In that case the Chiluba regime was obligated to its source of existence and power. The English say, ‘’He who pays the piper calls for the tune.’

An international organization, the National Citizens’ Coalition reported in Social Watch Report 2002: “……. Large-scale corruption had diverted resources meant for the people of Zambia, while they watched in sorrow and desperation as their country headed towards becoming the poorest in the world. A characteristic feature of Zambia’s poverty is that the government and international institutions bred it. Zambia’s poverty did not just happen; it was caused…..Former Chiluba’s government was the most corrupt in the history of this country. Resources that should have been used to improve the people’s quality of life were misappropriated in grand corruption episodes..” (ibid. p. 176)(emphasis mine).

How was Zambia’s poverty caused by the government and international institutions? Let us first look at this one and in my next paper, I’ll deal with others. And here is Dr. Kamoyo Mwale again: ‘’we discovered that the MMD government had changed the printers of our money from Harrison in England to Thomas de la Rue because they didn’t want Kaunda’s portrait on the money. This sounded very plausible but later on we discovered that they exploited the loopholes at Thomas de la Rue.

‘’So, they asked for the first consignment of K6 billion to be shipped outside the Bank of Zambia arrangement. Then that money came into circulation in this country. But some of it was already circulating in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We had a very clear dossier on this issue…… our new leaders were getting money directly from the mint….’’( Conversations With Memorable Personalities by Amos Malupenga p.69)

Here are Mr. Kapwepwe’s immortal words: ‘’ Most of the leaders have turned opportunists. We have fallen victim to flattery from imperialists….we no longer mind what happens to the people of Zambia or to their children’s future. And for sure Chiluba could never in his own frame of mind have dreamed of that scheme and on his own engage the printers in such criminal activities. It was clearly the brain-child of the capitalist exploiters. And of course, there are crooked individuals in our midst who were bribed to give our water body of Luapula, Muchinga, and Northern Provinces to the capitalist exploiters.

And indeed even from the spiritual viewpoint, our resources belong to the indigenous people of a particular country and in this respect, the apostle Paul wrote: ‘’From one man God created all races of mankind and made them live throughout the whole earth. He Himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live..’’ (Acts 17:26)

And consequently, our resources are also protected through the Raoul Wallenberg Institute Compilation of Human Rights Instruments under the Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries as stated in the article 7:1:’’The peoples concerned have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects the lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development.’’ And article 14:1 states: ‘’The rights of ownership and possession of the peoples concerned over their lands which they traditionally occupy shall be recognized.’’ Article 17:1 further states: ‘’Procedures established by the peoples concerned for the transmission of land rights among members of these peoples shall be respected.’’

Interrogating The Authenticity Of The Agreement On The Establishment Of The Luapula River Authority



  1. Nobody is going to take Luapula basin water anywhere. After all it continues to flow to the Atlantic ocean even if no hydro-power station is built on it. I sense irrational fear by the Bemba traditional ruler.

  2. The people that were displaced during the construction of the Kariba dam were never fully compensated. To date their descendants reside in unelectrified homes. And now they’ve to climb hills to have a glimpse of the Lake as the whole waterfront has been taken by lodges and crocodile farms.

    • The Luapula river and the Luapula river basin includes Muchinga, Northern and Luapula provinces. Strictly-speaking, there’s no such thing as a river but only a river basin. The Bemba traditional ruler is therefore in order. If you take away the basin, every river would cease to exist.

  3. “Retaliate”or “reiterate”
    Furthermore why is this bemba chief even talking?
    I would have expected Paramount chief Kazembe and his sub chiefs whose kingdoms physically interact with the luapula river to be in the forefront.
    Let him stay in his lane.

    • The above is a reply to you Independent. The other chiefs you hv mentioned are not part of the chattering classes. The Chitimukulu likes to engage with the public in the media and he also enjoys a good argument.

  4. Very well written article by HRH Mwine Lubemba. Indeed MMD govt that took over in 1991 completely ravaged what was once a beautiful country with a bright economic outlook. Chiluba appears to have received a form of devine punishment but others who took part in the plunder appear to have dodged God’s wrath but only time will tell.

  5. Ctn…
    I cry within when I look back and see what the country has become, our roads in towns and rural areas, lack of basic maintenance of urban areas and when I visit the Copperbelt I cry to see the run down state of the once proudly owned mine townships that were well maintained to now become pot holled filled streets with run down recreational centres that no longer serve the communities. I feel pain for the young ones who do not know what they have lost as their birthright, but then again I feel shame for our generation and the one before us more so for not preserving what we inherited for our posterity. Where did it all go wrong? This article is a stark reminder that we fell short of our own expectations, we proved the colonialist right, we destroyed ourselves.

  6. Ctn…
    However, the fact we have bright minds like Dr Henry Kanyanta Sosala that can stoke that burning cinder block to ignite a burning roaring flame in some of us then there is hope that the generation that comes after us will learn from the mistakes and understand what true wealth is. It is leaving no one economically and socially behind as highlighted by the need to allow the owners of the land priority in how they choose to use their own natural resources as for perceived better or for worse is the case in this foreseen DRC- Zambia hydro electric power generating project.

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