The Kuomboka ceremony of the Lozi people came to an end without the two political archrivals who graced the occasion, meeting or exchanging greetings.
In this very rare photo taken by the UPND media team on Limulunga Road in Mongu, Hakainde Hichilema (on the right) is driving to the Litunga’s palace while President Edgar Lungu’s entourage overtakes to reach the same destination earlier than the opposition leader.
To President Lungu’s credit, the Head of State’s motorcade did not sweep away the opposition leader’s as per security protocol, but neither did the President stop to complete the picture by greeting HH.
President Lungu earlier went to pay a courtesy call on the Litunga before His Majesty sailed off in the Nalikwanda from Lealui, and then cruised to Limulunga to go and join the welcome party.
“The Kuomboka ceremony is so far going on very well and exciting. I must admit that it is indeed a privilege to board the Nalikwanda with the Litunga as it sailed to Limulunga,” President Lungu stated.
Two hours later, President Lungu posted on Facebook again: “We are now at the Limulunga Nayuma harbor awaiting the arrival of the Litunga after his over 6 hours of sailing across the Zambezi River.”
HH who arrived moments later was denied entry into the Limulunga arena until the officials from the Kuta (Barotse Royal Establishment council of elders) facilitated for his passage.
The two leaders sat in designated tents, each posting their love for the Lozi people and tradition on Facebook (through their media teams), but did not take time to express unity or love for one another.
“We have, over the years existed so well alongside each other. Nothing and no one should divide us along the lines of tribe. We are one nation and one people. Let us celebrate our diversity and never use it to harm one another. Peace and unity is our collective heritage as a nation founded under the banner of #OneZambiaOneNation. That is why my Government endeavours to maintain healthy relationships with their Royal Highnesses across the country. I wish you all an enjoyable day as we witness the Kuomboka Ceremony!” President Lungu stated, without caring to extend his love to HH and his UPND leadership who were also at the event.
Meanwhile, HH also showed his love for all the people who attended the 2017 Kuomboka ceremony but President Lungu.
“We are glad to note that you are keenly following the happenings in our country, including Kuomboka ceremony. The ceremony was awesome, we had a good time and we would like to commend the Litunga and his people for inviting us and putting up such an event,” HH who enjoys incomparable support in Wester Province stated.
He went further to complain that his entourage suffered police brutality during the event.
“Amid all this joy we had an encounter with the Zambia Police who almost blocked us from entering the arena at Limulunga. This was happening right under the nose of those claiming to be leading our country. We have always called for peace and we were peaceful on our way to Limulunga, but due to the massive support we are receiving, we were closely and dangerously pursued by the police,” HH complained.
“In view of that and going forward, we want to state strongly here that no kind of threats will silence us because we know what the nation deserves. Zambia is a democracy and all principles that govern democracy will be respected and exercised by the people of Zambia. God bless our country and enjoy your hard won freedoms.”
And the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) aired live proceedings of the last two hours of the ceremony but all their cameras conspicuously avoided HH and GBM.
The Human Right’s Commission has called for an end to the “animosity” prevailing between the PF and UPND.
The UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango welcomed the move saying her party would gladly meet President Lungu for dialogue with the aim of bringing peace and unity in the country.
President Lungu responded that he was also open to dialogue with HH, but on condition that the opposition leader recognises him as duly elected Head of State.