THOUSANDS of Lozi speaking people gathered at Limulunga Royal Village on Saturday afternoon to witness the royal boat dock, the climax of the Kuomboka traditional ceremony.
And Kalonga Gawa Undi of the Chewa-speaking people of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique added magnificence to the ceremony.
As per the Lozi tradition, the crowd waited for hours before the Nalikwanda carrying the Litunga could arrive at the shore (Limulunga) from Lealui.
As they waited for His Majesty, Lozi women, donned in their traditional dress, musisi, sang local songs.
And at about 15:00 hours, Hichilema, in the company of UPND deputy secretary general-administration Gertrude Imenda and the party’s Luena and Nkeyema members of parliament David Kundoti and Kapelwa Mbangweta, respectively arrived at the venue.
As Hichilema walked to his seat, veteran politician Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika stood, threw banter and shook hands with the opposition leader.
Hichilema took his seat and was later joined by Mazabuka Central member of parliament Gary Nkombo and Derick Livune of Katombora constituency.
At about 16:00 hours, paramount chief Kalonga Gawa Undi, amid unyielding State security, arrived at the venue and went to sit in the VVIP section.
A few minutes later, Mbumba za Gawa Undi (a group of female dancers for the paramount chief) came in style.
Others who sat at a close distance with the paramount chief are chiefs and traditional affairs minister Lawrence Sichalwe, Western Province minister Richard Kapita, permanent secretary Sibanze Simuchoba and his Southern Province counterpart Mwangala Liyomba.
During all this period of waiting for the appearance of the Litunga, locals and tourists had the choice of either ‘admiring’ the water or focusing attention on rigid State security at the event.
At 16:55 hours, the Nalikwanda (royal boat) appeared and the thousands welcomed their King with ululations.
North-Western Province minister Nathaniel Mubukwanu was among the hundreds of topless men who were paddling the royal boat.
Meanwhile, a moment of vigilance dawned before the Litunga could exit his boat, suspected ruling PF supporters brought down the mounted fence and combined their energies to push the people who sat behind Hichilema.
The rage continued and in less than two minutes, the space Hichilema and his delegation had occupied was literally flooded with water, apparently from a drum that was positioned behind the arena.
Once the Litunga had disembarked from the Nalikwanda, the thousands followed to the royal village’s main arena.
There, the Litunga and paramount chief Kalonga Gawa Undi grandly sat as they watched the execution of some Lozi cultural practices.
Hichilema and his delegation, who now included Liuwa member of member Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane and Mongu Central’s Dr Mwilola Imakando, sat in one of the tents at Limulunga Royal Village main arena.
On his departure for Mongu town, Hichilema was followed by a huge euphoric crowd./