AUTHOR: Sibeta Mundia | Barotseland Post | 12th April, 2022.
The 2022 Kuomboka was not only very successful but also very memorable and eventful! Particularly, the inauguration of the King Lewanika Royal Meritocracy Awards as a permanent Kuomboka feature, was a breath of fresh air as it honours the legacy of one of the greatest Kings to have emerged out of Africa.
King Lewanika ruled Barotseland from 1878 (with a break in 1884-5) till his death in 1916, and present-day Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Congo DRC and Angola’s national borders exist in their current form due to his influence, and it was about time that his legacy was commemorated – if not anywhere else, certainly in Barotseland.
In Barotseland, King Lewanika, the unifier, was so named and famed because of how he established a unified Kingdom by bringing the over 38 ethnic extractions found in the territory to live as one Barotse nation!
No one looked at themselves as anything other than Lozi; whether they be maChokwe, Imilangu, maKwamashi, maKwandi, Aluyi, maLuvale, Lushange, maFwe, maIkwamakoma, maKololo, maKwamwenyi, maKwengo, maLiuwa, maLukolwe, maMbumi, maNdebu, maShanjo, maNanzwa, maKwamulonga, maHumbe, maYauma, maNdundulu, maShasha, maMbunda, maMbukushu, maTotela, maNkoya, Simaa, maSubia, maNyengo, maToka- Leya or any other as long as they were within the national boundaries of Barotseland!
A unified and consolidated Barotseland is perhaps one of the greatest legacies of King Lewanika. He believed in unity so much that he took a wife from as many of these tribes as possible, bearing him 44 children (22 males and 22 females). This way, he ensured that all ethnicities would share in the throne of Barotseland through his blood! There is, therefore, no tribe in Barotseland that does not share in Lewanika’s bloodline in one way or another as the citizens were also encouraged to intermarry!
All Lewanika’s successors, thus far, are his children or grandchildren born of different mothers from varying tribes of Barotseland who must always ensure that Barotseland remains strong and united!
WHY WAS INONGE WINA NOT AWARDED THIS INAUGURAL KING LEWANIKA ROYAL MERITOCRACY AWARD 2022?
The answer, in our view, is not far from King Lewanika’s legacy as has been explained above! We may not know the exact criteria used to nominate the recipients, but the name itself is very instructive! It boils down to King Lewanika (the unifier) and his legacy!
Inonge Mutukwa Wina is a bonafide daughter of Barotseland, and her ascendency to the second-highest political office in Zambia would have automatically made her among the inaugural thirteen recipients of this award!
However, she was conspicuously left out, this time, giving rise to many questions, speculations and accusations about why she was snubbed! Therefore, we outline some of the reasons that may have discredited her status in Barotseland, despite her great personal achievements as Zambia’s first female vice president.
We must state also that Inonge Wina will make it on the list in future years because of her contribution and personal achievements!
During Wina’s tenure as Vice President under President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Barotseland experienced the worst tribal divisions recorded since King Lewanika’s passing!
The Lungu-Wina presidency was openly and directly pursuing a strange policy that sought to divide Barotseland along tribal lines to weaken the Litunga (King) of Barotseland in the political hotspot of Western Zambia!
They openly encouraged and financed known rebellious and discredited individuals, masquerading as chiefs, such as Webster Mulubisha and Josiah Nyumbu Litiya Mubukwanu, who was enthroned by Litunga Imwiko II but later dethroned as Mwene (Chief) Chiyengele at Nañoko area of Mongu, to revolt against Litunga Imwiko II. These two rebellious and deposed chiefs were given direct access to State House where they were paraded on national television ZNBC main news, with the support of President Edgar Lungu, to complain against their alleged ill-treatment from the Lozi-speaking people and their so-called ‘Lozi chief’, The Litunga, in the presence of Edgar Lungu who seemed to agree with their rebellious falsehoods!
Zambia’s policy on the Litunga of Western Province (as the Litunga of Barotseland is called in the Zambian Constitution) is a well-established and long-standing policy. The Litunga’s powers and his jurisdiction over the entire Western Province is a constitutional matter stipulated in the chiefs’ ACT of the laws of Zambia.
However, President Lungu and Wina pursued a strange policy that financed the late Webster Mulubisha, who was masquerading as Mwene (Chief) Mutondo at Shikombwe, to go to the High Court of Zambia to have the Chiefs’ ACT repealed so that the Litunga of Western Province would not have his jurisdictional powers over Chief Mutondo and all other maNkoya and maMbunda aligned Chieftencies of the Western Provinces. These currently number over twenty-one, and have all peacefully co-existed under the Litunga for centuries!
This is an assault not only on the current Litunga but also on King Lewanika’s legacy of a strong unified Barotseland!
Strangely, the High Court of Zambia ruled in Mulubisha’s favour in an unprecedented judgement that recommended having the particular provisions of the Chief’s ACT, which consolidated the Litunga’s powers over all the Chiefs in the Western province, expunged from the National Constitution and the Laws of Zambia altogether!
Essentially, this ruling would have meant that the Litungaship would no longer exist in Barotseland. Without the Litungaship, there would be no Barotseland, so they thought, and Inonge Wina, who should have known better, did not seem to care at all!
Secondly, Edgar Lungu and Inonge Wina had continued to recognize these two impostors as chiefs, who the Litunga Imwiko II had dethroned during Michael Sata’s presidency and who the Michael Sata-led administration had de-gazetted as chiefs following the then prevailing Zambian laws under the Chiefs ACT!
Webster Mulubisha and Josiah Nyumbu Mubukwanu continued to receive government salaries and allowances while their replacement chiefs installed by the Litunga after deposing the two were denied government recognition and remuneration, making them languish in destitution!
This confusion later spread to Mwene Kahare Chieftency where the Litunga-installed Chief, Justine Kahare, remains unrecognized by the government to this day!
It took the Litunga having to go to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) to seek a proper legal interpretation over this matter.
In his litigation, The Litunga of Western Province, Imwiko II, was joined by the Paramount Chiefs of Zambia, Gawa Undi of the Chewa people, Mpezeni of the Ngoni and Chitimukulu of the Bemba. The ConCourt ruled in favour of the Litunga and the Paramount Chiefs of Zambia and retained the Litunga’s powers over all chiefs in Western Province and the Paramount chiefs of Zambia’s respective powers over the chiefs under them.
Their powers to enthrone and dethrone were also consolidated!
Therefore, we think that King Lewanika, the unifier, would not want such divisive individuals as Inonge and Edgar Lungu to be honoured in his name as they pursued a policy that divided Barotseland in such a way that his (Lewanika’s) children began to look at themselves as Nkoya, Mbunda, Luyana, Shanjo, Subiya etc!
In Barotseland, no single tribe is meant to be more or less Lozi than the other! All its inhabitants are equally sons and daughters of Lewanika!
Furthermore, it was also under Inonge Wina and Edgar Lungu’s presidency that the current Litunga suffered the worst personal ridicule as Litunga.
He was severally dragged to Zambian courts by known ruling Patriotic Front Party cadres and functionaries, such as Nabiwa Imikendu, over frivolous matters!
It is very uncustomary for the Litunga of Barotseland to be subjected to any litigation as culture forbids him to stand and speak in his own defence!
Strangely, again, the litigants in these frivolities specifically petitioned the courts to compel the Litunga to personally attend court sessions even when they knew that Barotse traditions and culture would not permit him!
The plan was that once he did that, the same people would find cause to appeal to Barotse traditions and culture to have Lubosi abdicate his throne as King for disrobing himself in a common public court of law! Consequently, if he failed to attend court sessions, they would seek to move the court to sue him for contempt of court!
This particular litigation went all the way to the ConCourt for legal determination, and, thankfully, this litigation was also eventually decided in the Litunga’s favour without the Litunga ever needing to set foot in court.
The widely publicised litigation was that Lubosi Imwiko had failed to organize Kuomboka and that he was an incompetent King!
All the while Inonge Wina and Edgar Lungu and their Patriotic Front (PF) party had hoped they would get rid of this particular Litunga and have a PF user-friendly Litunga take over the Barotse throne!
The PF also sought to mobilise their political base along tribal lines in Barotseland. Some tribes in Barotseland who they considered non-Lozi, were financed, used and pitted against those they considered more Lozi.
Some community radio stations were established and promoted by the PF to propagate anti-Lozi and anti-Barotseland hate speech, particularly in Kaoma district.
Also, it was under Inonge / Lungu presidency that those advocating for the restoration and consolidation of Barotseland’s self-determination were arrested and prosecuted indiscriminately!
Some Zambians may not be aware that calls for Barotseland self-determination, whether internally in Zambia or as an independent state, predates Zambia’s 1964 political independence!
It is a legitimate aspiration that won’t simply be wished away! It must be resolved amicably one way or another!
Barotseland joined to be part of Zambia based on the Barotseland Agreement 1964 and no government in Zambia will ever run away from this matter as the Zambian state is actually at fault!
However, during the time Inonge Wina was the leader of government business in Zambia’s national assembly, the Zambian parliament declared that the name ‘Barotseland’ was unparliamentary!
This outrageous parliamentary ruling upset the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) because it meant even they were unparliamentary! How could they possibly be ‘Barotse’ Royal Establishment without Barotseland? Litunga ki Litunga wa Bulozi!
The Litunga is simply the Litunga of Barotseland, and Barotseland is and shall remain Barotseland to its people!
So, declaring their country unparliamentary simply means all Barotse people are unparliamentary! This amounts to genocide as a country has ruled that a section of their citizenry is unparliamentary!
Forget the name ‘Western’ province which was proclaimed and imposed on the territory unilaterally, and only in 1969, shortly after the same Zambian parliament purportedly annulled the pre-independence Barotseland Agreement 1964 treaty that conjoined two separate British Protectorates, Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia, as one independent country Zambia!
There is so much more we can write in support of the Litunga and the Barotse Royal Establishment’s decision to not award Inonge Wina in this Inaugural King Lewanika Royal Meritocracy Award. However, the above listed would stand out as fundamental!
Her association with the ‘disgraced’ Wina name or the fact that there is a new UPND-led government in Lusaka, in our opinion, does not even come close to the reasons for her isolation! The Litunga is always above such mundane political considerations! The LITUNGA is APOLITICAL!
Her being Zambia’s first female Vice President, although a very great achievement, is disadvantaged by her indiscretions as a Lozi princess who should have guided her PF party to adhere to long-standing Zambian policy as far as the Litunga of Western Province is prescribed in the constitution!
She should also have helped protect the people of Barotseland in their collective socio-economic and political struggles and aspirations!
However, we are confident that she will be a recipient of this award in the future! We would simply advise her to visit the Royal Kuta and submit herself to their counsel and iron out whatever issues may still be outstanding between herself and her King so that she can take her due recognition as the first woman vice president in Zambia!
To the winners of the Inaugural King Lewanika Royal Meritocracy Awards 2022, we say congratulations!