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Barotse treason accused given 10 years jail sentence

Filed under: Breaking News,Politics |
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File: Afumba Mombotwa

File: Afumba Mombotwa

Barotseland Administrator General, Afumba Mombotwa (58), Likando Pelekelo (59) and Sylvester Inambao Kalima (62) have all been sentenced to ten years with hard labour each, while the fourth accused Masiye Masiyaleti has been freed. This sentence is to run from the date of their arrest, 5th December 2014.

This was in a court judgment passed in Zambia’s Kabwe high court this afternoon over the charge that the four, on some unknown date, but between March 1, 2012 and August 20, 2013 while in Sioma district, jointly acting together with unknown people conspired to secede “Western Province” from the rest of Zambia.

The judgment was based on the trio’s alleged role in carrying out the people of Barotseland’s desire for self-determination outside of Zambia after the latter refused to restore the pre-independence treaty, the Barotseland Agreement 1964, which gave the territory of Barotseland relative autonomy within the sovereign state of Zambia, but was unilaterally repudiated and annulled in 1969 by the Zambian government.

The three, Afumba Mombotwa, Likando Pelekelo and Sylvester Kalima, were later bundled into a prison truck in handcuffs, and driven to Mukobeko prison amid tight security and shouts of vows to continue fighting for the Barotse’s rights to self-determination from their supporters around the court periphery.
Mukobeko is Zambia’s most notorious prison for the condemned, where the three Barotse political prisoners will continue to be, and have been since August 2015 at the start of the treason trial.

While details of the judgment are yet to be known in the treason trial where the Zambian government has been accused of playing complainant, judge, jury and executioner, here below are some facts to consider regarding the Barotseland quest:

1. From the 17th century until 1964, which brought the Barotseland Agreement, Barotseland retained its own independent and self-governing existence under its Litunga (Monarch) and his Privy Council, and was never subject to any other country, power or people.

2. On 18th May, 1964, the Barotseland Agreement was signed by Kenneth David Kaunda, the Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, on behalf of the Government of Northern Rhodesia, by Sir Mwanawina Lewanika III, the Litunga of Barotseland, on behalf of himself, his Council and the Chiefs and People of Barotseland, and by the Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies, on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom forming the sole and undisputed legal basis for the creation of modern Zambia, formed by Barotseland and the rest of Northern Rhodesia.

3. In 1965, the Zambian government passed the Local Government Act in obvious defiance of the express terms of the 1964 Agreement, by which the Kaunda regime purported to repeal the Barotse Native Authority Ordinance and indeed to abolish the National Council.

4. In 1969, through Constitution (Amendment) No.5, the Kaunda Government enacted that “The Barotseland Agreement 1964 shall cease to have effect and all rights (whether vested or otherwise) and liabilities there under shall lapse”.

5. In 1969 also, the Government passed the Mines and Minerals Act which purported to divest the Litunga of the Mineral Rights previously reserved to him and his people.

6. A year later in 1970, the Government passed the Constitutional (Amendment) Act which empowered the President to compulsorily acquire property for the purposes of his Administration. Consequently, the President of the Republic of Zambia compulsorily and shamelessly pirated assets from Barotseland including the entire contents of Seventy Eight Million Five Hundred Thousand Sterling Pounds (£78,500,000.00) in the Barotse Native Treasury, plundered by the Kaunda Administration.

7. In 1970, the Government of Zambia unilaterally and unlawfully dismembered and changed the name of ‘Barotseland’ to ‘Western Province’ through a Presidential speech titled “I wish to inform the Nation”. The Litunga (Barotse Monarch) was stripped of his ‘Kingship’ and reduced to an ordinary ‘chief’ to equal the same status of chiefs in Zambia.

8. From 1972 – 2007 all Barotse appeals made, through various Commissions of Inquiry and National Constitutional Conferences, to have the agreement restored by the Zambian government were rejected, while several Barotse got arrested, jailed, maimed or killed for merely expressing dissension at Zambia’s lack of regard for the Barotse’s inalienable right to self-determination.

9. On January 14th, 2011, there were unprovoked arrests and killings of peaceful, unarmed Barotse youths by Zambian state agents; up to 19 were reported dead by the Zambian government instituted and Dr. Rodger Chongwe led Commission of Inquiry. Well over 100 peaceful supporters of Barotse separation were arrested, incarcerated without trial, and later set free without any compensation.

10. Finally in March 2012, the Barotse National Council (BNC) unanimously elected to accept Zambia’s abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement 1964, and initiate all formal peaceful procedures for the restoration of Barotseland sovereignty. The Zambian government was not only in attendance, but also co-sponsor of the March 2012 BNC.

11. In August, 2013 Afumba Mombotwa took oath as Barotseland Administrator General, to head the transitional Barotseland government. No less than 84 people were charged with treason and later released without compensation after lengthy incarceration without trial for merely celebrating Afumba Mombotwa’s inauguration and setting up of the transitional government.

12. On 5th December 2014, Barotseland Administrator General, Afumba Mombotwa, Likando Pelekelo, Sylvester Inambao Kalima and Paul Masiye Masiyaleti (arrested on 22 December 2014) were arrested and charged for treason.

13. In August 2015, Afumba and his four co-accused Treason trial commences.

14. On 9th March, 2016, Barotseland Administrator General, Afumba Mombotwa, Likando Pelekelo and Sylvester Inambao Kalima sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labour; Paul Masiye Masiyaleti gets acquitted after he denied participation in any activities the other three were accused of.

From the Barotse point of view, Afumba and his two co-accused have been sentenced for challenging the Zambian government’s legality in Barotseland in the absence of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31