AUTHOR: News Editor, Barotseland Post
Tempers flared up at the Limulunga Kuta this afternoon when the much anticipated Press Briefing called upon by the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) fell short of the people’s expectations!
Late on Tuesday evening, word went round the royal capital and social media that the BRE would be addressing the press at the Limulunga Kuta on Wednesday morning concerning the recent events that saw the BRE accuse the Zambian government of undermining the authority of the Litunga, King of Barotseland by recognizing chiefs seen by many to have rebelled against the monarch.
Well, whereas many nationals and activists expected this to be the day when the BRE would tell the Lusaka government that ‘enough was enough’ they were very shocked to hear the BRE deliver a very soft worded demand, merely asking the government to prove that it was in fact not behind the recent spate of rebellion spearheaded by some people masquarading as chiefs in the region!
And the irate nationals, who were upset with the royal establishment’s soft stance against the Zambian government, decided to storm out of the royal court, locking the Ngambela’s Kuta with the BRE officials still inside, to demonstrate open disappointment at the below-expectation address by the BRE!
A source from the palace grounds explained that confusion erupted after the BRE failed to give a proper and clear statement over the current state of the kingdom.
“The people want independence, but the BRE in their press briefing to the media only stated that the President of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, and his government are sponsoring and funding some section of the Mbunda community to bring trouble and destabilize Barotseland and that they have since given the Zambian government this week to respond, failure to which they will take another undisclosed step further,” explained the insider stating that this ambiguous statement infuriated the people who then locked the Ngambela’s Kuta with the BRE officials inside!
Meanwhile, some Barotse activists have taken the BRE to task and demanded that they halt all planned dialogue with the Zambian government unless such dialogue was to facilitate the implementation of the Supreme 26-28th March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) resolutions.
Other incensed loyalists have even demanded the complete closure of the Chiengele Chiefdom which is at the centre of the rising rebellion in the Kingdom!
The Press Briefing could only take place at 12:45 hrs after the late arrival of the District Commissioners (DC) for Mongu and Limulunga, Susiku Kamona and Litambo Ndombo respectively!
BRE Press Statement is here below reproduced.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE BAROTSE ROYAL ESTABLISHMENT
22 November, 2018
The Saa-Sikalo Kuta, having deliberated on policy matters affecting Barotseland, our traditional Governance system and its structures; the underdevelopment of Barotseland and the relationship with the central Government have noted the following;
(1) Divisions emerging in our Traditional Governance system is being fueled by the Government and politicians outside government. This state of affairs is of grave concern to the people of Barotseland.
BRE is aware that some people are sponsored to masquerade as chiefs and surprisingly enough Government officials and politicians embrace such illegal self-imposed chiefs by paying courtesy calls on them.
(2) Chiefs in Barotseland, unlike elsewhere, in Zambia are installed by His Majesty the Litunga from time immemorial and they hold office by strictly following our diverse traditions and customs of all the 38 ethnic groups and where any given chief ceases to respect our customs and traditions, hence such a chief ceases to hold office under our customary law. The Barotse Royal Establishment is unhappy with the new constitution chapter one article 165 of the laws of Zambia by implication contradicts the chiefs act, which recognizes the Litunga’s authority over chieftaincy. We urge Government to repeal this diabolic article targeted against the people of Barotseland.
(3) The BRE has had a good relationship with the Central Government and enjoyed their respect; however, the current general feeling of our people is that Government has sidelined Barotseland in terms of developmental projects, which have stalled since 2011. The stalling of developmental projects in Barotseland is deliberate as confirmed by utterances by some government Ministers and officials that Barotseland will not receive a fair share of development because our People did not vote the PF party in the general elections.
Mongu Limulunga road is the main link between the Royal Palace and all districts in Barotseland. The bad state of this road is a big obstacle in terms of communication. BRE has lobbied Government to work on the road year and year out but our requests have not received favourable response. This has become the source of worry for the people.
BRE is aware of some people fueling ethnic tension especially in Mongu, Kaoma and Lukulu with some of them calling for the subdivision of Barotseland. We call upon such misguided people to desist from such acts. The people of Barotseland have lived together in harmony for centuries. BRE’s silence should not be taken for granted. The BRE urges Government to address the raised pertinent issues in order to foster peace and harmony in our country and to solidify the existing cordial relations between central Government and the BRE for the benefit of our people.