AUTHOR : Lubasi Lubasi, Barotseland Post
As Zambia and the rest of Africa commemorate Africa Freedom Day, Dr. Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika has demanded the immediate unconditional release of all political prisoners incarcerated over the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.The Prince of Barotseland has wondered why Zambia should have political prisoners 53 years after its independence, adding that his demand was not only for the release of Afumba Mombotwa and his Lozi colleagues but also all political prisoners in Zambia.
Afumba Mombotwa (59), Pelekelo Likando (63) and Sylvester Kalima Inambao (56) are currently serving 10 year jail sentences each in remote northern regions of Zambia, far from family and friends, over the pre-independence Barotseland Agreement. In fact, since 1965, there has never been a year without Barotse political prisoners in Zambian jails over the defunct agreement.
Meanwhile, Dr. Akashambatwa has rebuffed the notion that the ‘One Zambia One Nation’ motto was about intermarriages, calling it nonsensical.
Speaking when he featured on the Lusaka based CBC TV to promote his two books that will be launched on Friday in Lusaka, Akashambatwa reiterated the hidden facts on the motto that it was in fact derived from the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which was entered upon by Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland to form a country called Zambia.
“The notion that ‘One Zambia One Nation’ motto meant marrying from different tribes is nonsensical because even at independence some people were already married to people from other regions and some were even married to South Africans,” Akashambatwa explained.
He said the motto was premised on the fact that it was agreed that when Northern Rhodesia was to get independent, a country called Zambia was going to be created through the integration of Barotseland as a part of the country, with the people of Barotseland and Zambia being One People and One Nation.
He, however, lamented that the promise on which Zambia was created with Barotseland as an integral part on the basis of a negotiated agreement was forfeited, and within 4 years of independence the agreement was abrogated unilaterally without the courtesy of consultation and caring how the Barotse felt about it.
He explained that it was even criminalized to talk about the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 and further it was distorted that the Agreement was talking about secession when in fact it was an integration agreement.
It was on this basis that Akashambatwa demanded for the immediate release of all political prisoners incarcerated over the Barotseland Agreement as Zambia celebrates this Africa Freedom day!