THE Barotse Royal Establishment is disappointed and dismayed with President Edgar Lungu on how he is handling chieftaincy wrangles in Western Province.
The Kuta (royal council/Cabinet) of the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) says President Lungu’s stance is no surprise but that it: “confirms our long-held suspicions that the government of Zambia is on a systematic mission to dominate, dehumanise and oppress the people of Barotseland.”
BRE Ngambela (Prime minister) Mukela Manyando yesterday, “on behalf of the Kuta and the people of Barotseland,” dismissed reports of tribal conflicts in the region.
Last week on Wednesday, President Lungu, through his press aide Isaac Chipampe, issued a statement directing Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to stop tribal conflicts in Western Province.
The statement was preceded by the President’s meeting with chiefs Chiyengele, Mutondo and Kahare at State House.
“I wish to respond to the press statement from State House issued on 6 November, 2019 by Isaac Chipampe, special assistant to the President for press and public relations, on the subject of tribal conflicts in Barotseland,” Manyando said.
“The Kuta is very disappointed and dismayed at the manner His Excellency the President has handled this matter. However, the Kuta is not surprised….”
He explained that the BRE refuted, in the strongest terms, the allegations that Mbunda and Nkoya chiefs were living in fear, in Western Province, after attempts on their lives by known individuals.
Manyando noted that, such allegation, as claimed by three ‘chiefs’ at State House, was unfounded and a figment of imagination.
“On the contrary, the perceived imaginary tribal conflicts are a fabrication and a creation of the Government of the Republic of Zambia to destabilise Barotseland,” he said.
“The Kuta and the people of Barotseland are alarmed that the President, as Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces, had taken this high-handed directive to deploy armed forces to an area where there are mere family squabbles.”
Manyando added that the BRE was shocked the decision to deploy troops to the affected chiefdoms was arrived at after listening to a one-sided report by: “renegade individuals masquerading as chiefs, and yet they are not chiefs for the Mbunda and Nkoya-speaking people, without verification of the facts.”
“These individuals, namely Webster Mulubisha and Stanford Mayowe, are well known charlatans who have not been installed as chiefs in accordance with the relevant tribal and customary rituals and practices of installation as chiefs Mutondo and Kahare, respectively,” Manyando explained.
“In particular, Stanford Mayowe was disqualified three times but continues, with much irritation, to defy the Mashasha, the Nkoya tribal practice of installation from the male descendants. He lost the challenge for ‘Kahareship’ in 2007 in the High Court of Zambia to Bollen Munguya Timuna because he hailed from the maternal lineage.”
As regards Webster Mulubisha, Manyando said: “it was subjudice for the President to have entertained to this man.”
“He still has an active matter before the Livingstone High Court where his family members have dragged him to challenge the legitimacy of his ascension to the Mutondo throne. In view of the High Court matter which is still active and awaiting judgment, I reserve my comment,” Manyando said.
“However, it will suffice to state that as far as the Barotse Royal Establishment is concerned, the Mwene Mutondo throne is still vacant.”
The BRE also believes that President Lungu is aware that Josiah Mubukwanu Litiya Nyungu was de-throned as Mwene Chiyengele in October 2014 following complaints from “his own people of Nang’oko area for bad governance.”
“On several occasions, hundreds of his subjects, among them members of the royal family and the electoral college, petitioned His Majesty the Litunga, through the Kuta, to remove him for numerous misdeeds and various transgressions,” Manyando said.
Some of the transgressions Nyungu committed include ordering the stoppage of sounding of the royal drum for more than three years, “charging that it made noise for his wife.”
“This action is tantamount to termination and violation of the culture and tradition of the Mbunda people, in relation to chieftaincy,” he noted, adding that Nyungu ordered the assault on his own biological sister by his son.
The other wrongdoings, according to Manyando, are that he chased and victimised some members of his royal family, ordered his subjects to stop cultivating their fields, unless with his permission as well as grabbing land from them, among others.
“The unfortunate fact is that these renegade imposters receive support from the State, for whatever reason, despite the knowledge that they have illegally ascended to the thrones. The action taken by the President is also prejudicial and tantamount to interference of the judiciary,” Manyando said.
“The imaginary threats on the lives of the three individuals and their families, that the President referred to, are non-existent. We dismiss the allegation as an act designed to harass the people of Barotseland by stationing more troops for an unjust cause.”
He appealed to the people of Barotseland to remain calm and focused in safeguarding: “the century-long peace and stability centred on the strong tradition and culture.”
“I appeal to the people of Barotseland to remain calm and focused on safeguarding their God-given inheritance as the BRE engages with the relevant Zambian authorities,” noted Manyando.