In a royal communiqué to the Mbunda fraternity in Barotseland and Zambia dated 6th April, 2017, through the National Chairman of the Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association National Headquarters in LUSAKA, the Mbunda monarchy based in Angola, King Mbandu III, Mbandu Lifuti, has implored all his subjects based in Barotseland and parts of Zambia to submit to the Litunga of Barotseland and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) as it was the right and appropriate thing to do.
All Mbundas in the world, including Barotseland and parts of Zambia, are subjects of the Mbunda Monarchy whose current capital is the Yambayamba Palace in Lumbala Nguimbo, Angola.
King Mbandu III, who began his decree by recounting how the Mbunda came to Barotseland and Zambia at various times over the centuries, stated that all those Mbunda who did not want to submit to the authority of the Litunga should instead return home in Angola where plenty of fertile land existed for productive ventures such as agriculture now that the civil war that rocked Angola was over rather than antagonizing the Litunga of Barotseland.
The Mbunda king further chided those of his subjects behind the formation of the so called Mbunda Royal Establishment and its Council as they were giving a bad name to the rest of the peaceful Mbunda. He particularly advised the disposed Chief Chiyengele, Josia Nyumbu, and his lieutenants such as Mubanga Kennedy Liale to desist from their shameful public media outbursts in the name of the illegally constituted Mbunda Royal Establishment and its Council which does not have his blessing as the reigning monarch of all Mbundas.
The communiqué also copied to the Ambassadors of both Zambia and Angola state in part as below:
“I refer to the meeting I had with Cheke Cha Mbunda representatives on one hand, and the other group represented by Chief Chiyengele Nyumbu, Professor Biemba Maliti of Kitwe and Mubanga Liale of Kaoma on the other on 3rd March 2017, during my medical private visit to Zambia.
“I find it uncomfortable to keep silent when the name of my people, the great Mbunda ethnic group is being tarnished in Zambia by media reports being advanced by a few of my people. Silence might be misconstrued as the position of the majority of the Mbunda people.
“Let me start by giving the migration account of the Mbunda people in Barotseland, according to the Mbunda researched history,” read King Mbandu’s opening paragraph in his open royal communiqué to the Mbunda fraternity, now circulating on various media both in Barotseland and Zambia.
After recounting the migration of the Mbunda people in Barotseland, the Mbunda King made his position known on the rebellious activities perpetuated by some Mbunda people who have embarked on a campaign they have dubbed ‘Liberating Mbunda’ from their alleged subjugation by the Litunga and the Lozi of Barotseland.
The Mbunda king called on all his subjects to submit to the Litunga of Barotseland or for those that found it hard to do so to migrate back to Mbundaland in Angola where they have their rightful claim to land, stating further that in Barotseland, Mbundas were all given lands of settlement in their different areas of jurisdiction, but accountable to the overall custodian of that land being the Litunga of Barotseland, therefore, no Mbunda chief had powers or authority over the other Mbunda in Barotseland.
The King advised all Mbunda fraternity to promulgate peaceful co-existence with their Lozi brothers and the Litunga of Barotseland with whom they have fought many historical battles side by side.
“My humble advice to all Mbundas, especially those who pay attention to those advocating for the so-called Liberating Mbundas, is that, despite being Zambian Citizens by either birth or registration, Mbundas have their own vast big Land which needs to be occupied, it is empty and too large and fertile as compared to the ones they are scrambling for. If anything, that is the land they can claim to possess or own.
“The so-called Mbunda Royal Establishment and its Council recently being advocated in Zambia cannot hold water there due to following reasons:
1) It did not and still does not seek the blessings from the current Mbunda monarch where the Mbunda Kingdom Research and Advisory Council exists and oversees the establishments in other areas where the Mbunda Speaking People are found.
2) It is conceived by Chief Chiyengele alone without consultation with other eight Mbunda chiefs in Zambia, therefore no consensus. Leadership of the so called Royal Establishment is likely to bring divisions between the other chiefs and their subjects, especially with the Mulambwa/Chiyengele Oral Treaty which recognized Chief Chiyengele as the Mbunda Senior Chief out of place. Consequentially even the tenth (10th) point of the defunct Mulambwa/Chiyengele Oral Treaty calls for “Finally, respect chieftainship and the elders”.
That in itself calls for the Mbunda subjectivity to the Litunga of Barotseland.
In this regard, it is equally worth noting as alluded to above, that each Mbunda chief in Zambia migrated to Barotseland from Mbundaland now in Angola, in different circumstances. Some, seeking lands of settlement after differences with the Mbunda monarch, others merely seeking green pasture and for the Mwene Mundu chieftainship, out of friendship with Mulena (Litunga) Ngombala and Mulambwa because of Chief Mundu Mañulumbe’s traditional medicinal powers. As a result, they were all given lands of settlement in their different areas of jurisdiction, but accountable to the overall custodian of that land being the Litunga.
Therefore, no Mbunda chief has powers or authority over the other in Barotseland. The conceived seniority of Chief Chiyengele was verbally bestowed on him by Litunga Mulambwa under the defunct Mulambwa/Chiyengele Treaty, the same Litungaship and BRE being despised (by some Mbunda) today.
Therefore the only binding authority on all Mbunda chiefs and Mbunda people in Zambia is through a signed agreement by all Mbunda chiefs, with my blessing as the 23rd Mbunda monarch in Angola.
3) Western Province (Barotseland) consists of seven Mbunda chiefs and non among them is gazetted by the Zambian authorities as a Mbunda chief. Chiefs Chiyengele Josias Nyumbu and Kandala Sakwiba Libimba are gazetted as Lozi chiefs while the rest are not gazetted. Such an environment may cause difficulties to the Zambian authorities to adapt or recognize a Royal Establishment without government gazetted chiefs, unless as a society registered by the Registrar of Societies.
“Therefore, the statement by Chief Chiyengele as reported in the Daily Nation tabloid of 17th February 2016, that there will be “anarchy” in Western Province should the Barotse Royal Establishment continue to interfere in the affairs of other people’s tribes and subsequent statements in the press by the so called Mbunda Royal Establishment under the supervision of the aforementioned chief is not only unfortunate but uncalled for.
“I have, in my current position as the 23rd monarch of all Mbundas in the world, held talks with my counterpart the Litunga of Barotseland on two occasions and the discussions have been very friendly and fruitful on both occasions. The stumbling block, however, has been a few Mbunda individuals who keep on bringing issues which are championing such statements like the one made by Chief Chiyengele.
“These are people with rebellious spirits who are causing the intended progress on both sides fail to have a starting point.
“The Mbunda Speaking People have had one of the longest war histories in Africa if not second to the State of Israel and will NOT AGAIN sink so low as to find themselves in unnecessary war situations.
“I, therefore, on behalf of the Mbunda Kingdom and Advisory Council with the monitoring of the two Governments of Angola and Zambia, appeal to Chief Chiyengele and those following him to take this advice so as to come to Yambayamba Palace in Lumbala Nguimbo, Angola, so that we constitute a delegation which will meet with the Litunga and the BRE, and together we shall find ways to re-establish the Mulambwa-Chiyengele Friendship Treaty which has been torn to pieces by some unscrupulous leaders in both camps.
“With the now enacted new Zambian Constitution, we shall also look forward to seeing thousands of Mbundas going for Dual Citizenship especially those who are outside the so-called treaty in order for them to come and develop their land abandoned for centuries.
“In conclusion, I commend all the Mbunda chiefs in Zambia who have remained calm despite an embarrassing situation.
“I also commend Cheke Cha Mbunda Cultural and Writers Association for continued dissemination of the correct Mbunda position in Zambia. It is needless to add that Mbunda people believe in dialogue, peace and good neighborliness,” concluded King Mbandu III.
THE FOREGOING WAS FIRST PUBLISHED BY THE NEWS EDITOR, BAROTSELAND POST, on 16 April 2017
FILE PICTURE: King Mbandu III (left), Map showing Mbunda settlements in Barotseland and parts of Zambia