The Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) says the current government is on a systematic mission to dominate, dehumanise, and oppress the people of Barotseland.

And the BRE says it is a shame that State House arrived at a decision to issue a statement and to send military troops to the area after listening to a one-sided report by renegade individuals masquerading as Mbunda and Nkoya chiefs, when in fact not.

On November 6, President Edgar Lungu in a statement issued by his Press Aide Isaac Chipampe directed Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to ensure that the lives of the affected chiefs were safe.

“His Excellency, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia is concerned that Mbunda and Nkoya chiefs are living in fear after attempts on their lives by known individuals in Western Province. The President has since directed the Inspector General of Police, Mr Kakoma Kanganja, through Home Affairs Minister, Honourable Stephen Kampyongo to ensure the lives of the chiefs are safe. The President made a directive today (Wednesday, November 6) when chief Mutondo, chief Chiyengele, and chief Kahare paid a courtesy on him at State House,” stated Chipampe.

“And during the meeting with the three chiefs from Western Province, the President was dismayed that there have been attempts on the lives of chief Chiyengele and chief Kahare and yet the suspects had not been arraigned. The President directed Hon Kampyongo who was called to the meeting to alert the Inspector General of Police so that he positions police in the trouble-spots in the province. The President also directed his Special Assistant for Legal Affairs, Mr Sukwana Lukangaba, to follow up on the case. The three chiefs narrated how they and their families survived attacks and how they have been living in fear since.”

But speaking when he addressed his subjects, Monday, Ngambela Mukela Manyando expressed disappointment at the manner in which the President had handled the matter.

“On behalf of the Kuta and of the people of Barotseland, I wish to respond to the press statement from State House issued on 6th November, 2019, by Isaac Chipampe, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations on the subject of ‘tribal conflicts in Barotseland.’ A Kuta is very disappointed and dismayed at the manner His Excellency the President has handled this matter. However, a Kuta is not surprised as this confirms our long-held suspicions that the Government of Zambia is on a systematic mission to dominate, dehumanise, and oppress the people of Barotseland,” Ngambela Manyando said.

He said it was alarming that President Lungu as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces had to deploy armed officers to an area where there were family squabbles.

“The Barotse Royal Establishment refutes in the strongest terms the allegations that Mbunda and Nkoya chiefs are living in fear after attempts on their lives by known individuals is unfounded and a figment of imaginations. On the contrary, the perceived imaginary tribal conflicts are a fabrication of a creation of the Government of the Republic of Zambia to destabilise Barotseland. 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,” he said.

Ngambela Manyando said it was subjudice of President Lungu to entertain the self-imposed chiefs when their legitimacy was still being challenged in court.

“We are shocked that this decision 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. In particular, Stanford Mayowe, was disqualified three times, but continued with much irritation to defy the Mashasha of Nkoya tribal practice of selection from the male descendants,” he stated.

“He lost the challenge for Karareship in 2007 in the High Court of Zambia to Bollen Munguya Timner because he hailed from the maternal lineage. As regards to Webster Mulubisha, we find it subjudice to the President to have entertained this man because he still has an active matter before Livingstone High Court where his family members have dragged him (to court) to challenge the legitimacy of his assession to the Mutondo throne. In view of the High Court matter, which is still active and awaiting judgement, I reserve my comment. However, it will suffice to state that as far as the Barotse Royal Establishment is concerned (that the) Mwine Mutondo throne is still vacant. The President is also aware that Josiah Mubukwanu Litiyanyumbu was dethroned as Mwanechiyengele in October, 2014, following complaints from his own people of bad governance.”

Ngambela Manyando narrated that for several occasions, the Nkoya subjects had petitioned the Litunga to remove Stanford Mayowe as chief Mwanechiyengele for numerous misdeeds and various transgressions.

“On several occasions, hundreds of his subjects, among them members of the royal family and of the electoral college, petitioned His Majesty the Litunga, through the Kuta, to remove him for numerous misdeeds and various transgressions as follows: (a) he ordered the stoppage of sounding of the royal drums for more than three years, charging that it made noise for his wife. This action is tantamount to termination and violation of the culture of the Mbunda people in relation to chieftaincy; (b) he ordered the assault on his own biological sister, princess Maliambai by his son; (c) he chased and victimized some members of his royal family, namely, prince Sishumba Simbundu and his cousin; (d) he ordered his subjects to stop cultivating their fields unless with his permission as well as grabbing land from them,” Ngambela Manyando narrated.

He said the new Mwane Chiyengele Nyumbu Kashengula had been installed by popular demand from the family and the electoral college of the Mbunda people.

“In addition, to the use of abusive language, insults, threats, and assaults to his family and subjects, he was also in the habit of accusing his subjects of practicing witchcraft. As Mwane Chiyengele, his subjects accused him of bringing his chieftaincy to disrepute and ridicule by breaking customary norms and protocols. In response, a Kuta invited him with a view to counsel him, but he insolently and arrogantly refused to come. The status of Mwane Chiyengele is that Josiah Nyumbu Litiya remains deposed and that a new Mwane Chiyengele Nyumbu Kashengula has been installed by popular demand from family and the electoral college of the Mbunda people.”

And Ngambela Manyando insisted that the alleged threats on the lives on the two chiefs, who met President Lungu at State House, were imaginary and non-existent.

“I would like to clarify to the nation that none of these personalities have had their lives threatened in any way. However, their actions to reserve traditional thrones is what is causing family disagreements. The unfortunate fact is that these renegade imposters receive support from the State for whatever reason despite the full knowledge that they have illegally ascended to the throne and occupied the royal homes. The action taken by the President is also prejudial, subjudice and tantamount to interference on the Judiciary since the Barotse Royal Establishment has taken the matter to court. I would like to state that the imaginary threats on the lives of the three individuals and their families that the President refers to are non-existent. We dismiss the allegations as an act designed to harass the people of Barotseland by stationing more troops for unjust calls,” said Ngambela Manyando.