News and Information

Barotse inquiry a letdown - Kabimba
February 29, 2012

Barotse inquiry a letdown - Kabimba
By Staff reporters
Wed 29 Feb. 2012, 07:50 CAT [849 Reads, 0 Comment(s)]

FILE: Dr Rodger Chongwe presents the Barotse Inquiry report to President Michael Sata at State House
FILE: Dr Rodger Chongwe presents the Barotse Inquiry report to President Michael Sata at State House
WYNTER Kabimba says it was an oversight for President Michael Sata to have given the chairmanship of the commission of inquiry in the January 14, 2011 Mongu riots to Dr Rodger Chongwe because the chairman was emotionally involved.

And the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) says malicious statements and threats of arrest will not deter it from stating Western Province's ultimate position over the current debate on the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement 1964.
Featuring on a special paid-for programme on both ZNBC radio and TV on Monday night, Kabimba who is PF secretary general said Dr Chongwe's commission had been the most disappointing in the country's history.

But when contacted over Kabimba's statement, vice-chairman of the commission Willa Mung'omba said he had not yet read or heard what Kabimba had said, while Dr Chongwe's phone was outside the coverage area.

Kabimba said the commission misdirected itself by including things which were not part of their scope of work such as the Barotseland Agreement.

"The point really is that this has been one of the most disappointing commissions of inquiry that I can ever remember. The oversight, the inadvertence on the part of the President was to have given the chairmanship of this important commission to a person that was emotionally involved in the matter.

It should not have happened and I am sure as a party, we have learnt a lesson from this," he said.

"The law under the inquiries Act is very express, that a commission constituted or set up under that Act shall confine itself to the terms of reference that have been given to it by the Head of State. And they shall make recommendations against those terms of reference an nothing else.

It is clear from my studying of the documents that were handed over to the President, that the Chongwe Commission did not take this route but beyond that it is also clear that the commission went outside its mandate. What the commission did was that it gave itself over and above what the President said go and find out and make inquiries about this situation, they also added their own terms of reference."

Kabimba said the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was not among the terms of reference for the commission.

"The closest that one would come to that is TOR 11 which says: ‘Ascertain the concerns of the people of Western Province and recommend mechanisms of addressing them.' I am not sure myself whether this says go and delve into the 1964 Barotseland Agreement?" he asked.

Kabimba said the recommendations made by the commission had far-reaching consequences on a number of aspects of the governance and unity of the country and also the peace that was prevailing.

He said it was easy to see or read Dr Chongwe's emotions in the recommendations because he was one of the lawyers that represented the detainees of the Mongu riots.

Dr Chongwe was chairperson of the commission while others appointed to the commission by President Sata included justice minister Sebastian Zulu, In'utu Suba, Frank Chanda, Bright Nalubamba, Willor Mung'omba, one person from the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and another from the Barotseland Agreement activist group, the Linyungandambo.

Kabimba said the recommendations from the commission would balkanize the country and create problems.

"If you know the demographic and ethnic structure of Western Province, you will not arrive at this conclusion. In fact, the Lozis are a minority against the Nkoyas, Mbundas, Chokwes, Luvales, they are a minority when you put these ethnic groupings together so we as PF cannot impose the will of one ethnic grouping on others.

We think that that is not right and we think that is not why we were voted into power. Already some ethnic groupings in the area are resisting the restoration of the agreement," he said.

He said among the findings of the commission were that there was a problem between Mwene Mutondo of the Nkoya-speaking people of Kaoma and the Barotse Royal Establishment and that the government would not want to compound the problem further.

Kabimba said as a responsible government, the PF wanted to cultivate peace and unity in the country so that investors could come and create jobs for the people.

Kabimba further said the party was of the view that in future people who would be sitting on commissions of inquiries should be from the mainstream arena of the PF because they understood where the party was coming and heading to.

"We think that in future, the President must be extremely careful as to who he enjoins certain responsibilities to discharge on behalf of the party and the government.

If not, this is the pitfall that we find ourselves in. You have people with agendas that are at cross purposes with the agenda of the party and I am emphasising this because I am the secretary general of the party and I know the vision of the party and I know who shares the vision of this party and the others that are sangwapo," he said.

And on why his party promised to restore the Barotseland Agreement once voted into power prior, Kabimba said there was need for people to understand the context in which the PF made that statement.

Kabimba challenged people to read the party's manifesto, saying there was no mention of the Barotseland Agreement.

"We deliberately avoided it because we did not want the party to be misunderstood but we analysed it and said what is this agreement all about? We discovered that it was an agreement that was dealing with the devolution of power, so devolution of power for who? Devolution of power for the communities in all parts of Zambia," he said.

He said instead of picking on the Barotseland Agreement as a specimen for his party's programme for devolution of power, there was need for this programme to cater across all the provinces without exception.

Kabimba said if devolution of power was good for the people of Western Province, it should equally be good for the people of Southern, Central, Muchinga provinces.

He said poverty could not be used as a yardstick for such recommendations because the country was largely poor.

Kabimba further said the party would be open to divergent views but that those views should not border on treason.

"…I read a very sad headline today Monday of Mr Ilukena who says that whether Sata likes or not we are going to secede or make sure that Barotseland becomes a country on its own.

Why do you want to create problems for yourself? Because you know that that statement itself is treasonable, why don't you just come and argue your case peacefully. We will listen to you, but don't dare us," he warned.

"We don't want to start expending our energies on arresting people, we are not interested in that. One of the reasons why we fought the MMD was because we wanted to change the culture of governance in this country.

One of the reasons why President Sata decided to pardon the people of Western Province that were arrested following the January 14 riots in Mongu was because we wanted to make sure that our citizens are free to express their views and I want to assure everybody that this is the culture and governance system that we want to cultivate so please don't dare us by way of treasonable statements because we don't want to start expending our energies and diverting the police from maintaining law and order and chasing Mr Ilukena.

We are not interested in that. We want to develop this country and we need the support of the people of this country," Kabimba.

Meanwhile, PF Central Province chairman, Benson Chali said President Sata consulted the Central Committee of the party before saying he would be reluctant to restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

Chali said some chiefs in Western Province were against the restoration of the Agreement as it was a recipe for anarchy in the country.
He said those inciting people to rise against the President were doing so for personal gain.

"Within Barotseland there are people who are saying they are not part and parcel of the demand. I have talked to some chiefs in Central Province who said they don't know that they are part of Barotseland.

Before making that statement President Sata consulted extensively and some chiefs in Western Province don't want that agreement," said Chali.

He said those advocating the independence of Western Province from Zambia should not forget that there are Lozis that had investments in other provinces.
He said the law would visit those agitating violence because Zambia was for all its citizens.

And addressing scores of Lozis at Lusaka's Fair View Hotel last Friday, Western Province Ngambela prime minister Wainyae Sinyinda said the BRE will wait for its people to express their final position over the Barotseland Agreement issue through the Barotse National Council before speaking out.

Sinyinda, a former education deputy minister in the Banda administration, said his intention after leaving the confines of government was to lead a private life but he found himself thrust into the Ngambelaship.

Sinyinda said the people of Western Province should speak whatever was in their hearts over issues affecting Barotseland.

"If you don't speak out what is in your hearts, we will not be able to lead because it is the people who lead," Sinyinda said. "We shall not give our position until after the Barotse National Council has concluded its deliberations. So whatever is resolved by the people, you will hear from us regardless of whatever is agreed."

Sinyinda said even government officials would be invited to the BNC slated for Mongu next month so that they hear the people's position over the Barotseland Agreement for themselves.

Sinyinda urged people from Western Province to consider taking investment to the area and address the high poverty levels and underdevelopment in the area.
Sinyinda is currently on a tour of the line of rail where he is meeting Lozis in order to spell out his leadership approach.

Barotse National Council organising chairman, Induna Namunda, said this year's Kuomboka Ceremony would not take place until after the BNC had resolved the Barotse deal question.

And the BRE's Induna Katema said the installation of Sinyinda as Ngambela on January 31, 2012 was done in conformity with the Lozi traditional tenets contrary to what some people from the Western Province were saying.
Induna Katema said no single individual could claim absolute responsibility of installing a Ngambela in Western Province.

And ADD Luena member of parliament Mwambwa Imenda said the reinstatement of the Barotse Agreement needed a lot of political will to implement.
She appealed to President Sata to honour the promise he made prior to the September elections to avoid risking his integrity.

"Political will is all it requires. Look at Tanganyika and Zanzibar which agreed to go to independence as a unitary state. It was signed because it was the basis on which Zambia was to become a unitary state. It needs political will because Zambia is not the first state to have such an inter-territorial agreement," said Imenda.


    Support Caprivi Freedom
Fill out the form below to become a member of this site and receive our regular newsletter.

First Name
Last Name