By Walyata Utuweke in Mongu
THOUSANDS of Barotse people in the western province of Zambia, Barotseland celebrated their annual Kuomboka Ceremony on April 28, 2018 in Mongu.
The 2018 Kuomboka ceremony was accident free, because the Zambian politicians did not indulge in unnecessary commotion that led to political tensions and clashes in 2017.
This year’s occasion was flagged off on 27April 2018, with canoe paddling competition from Lealui to Mongu harbour, a Land rover race (these are old land rovers which are the backbone of transport in Barotseland and are commonly known as Lewanika).
Privy sources in Mongu, told Caprivi Vision that some of the powerful political sponsors of the ceremony influenced Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to invite Chief Gawa Undi of the Chewa of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to grace the ceremony.
The BRE spokesperson Induna Katema Batunda, said in Lealui on Sunday that “the choice of Undi was to avoid political tensions between the ruling party the Patriotic Front (PF) and UPND political cadres”.
He also made a clarion call that “this is a wake-up call for BRE to realise that they have an obligation to be inviting the Lozi people of South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Lesotho to support their traditional ceremony financially and morally, and Zambia should not be jittery about it, just as they are at peace with Gawa when they invite his people from surrounding countries”
He said it is worthwhile for these groups to reclaim their paddles in the Nalikwanda as children of Lewanika.
However, politicians especially those originating from Barotse north western Rhodesia attended the ceremony without clashes amongst their supporters. A Zambian Opposition leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema President of United Party for National Development (UPND) and Mr. Nathanael Mubukwanu, Minister of Chiefs and Traditions who hails from Barotseland also attended the gathering at Limulunga Royal Village.
Meanwhile the occasion was characterised by a heavy presence of security personnel signifying security fears posed by freedom fighters of BNFA (Barotse National Freedom Alliance) and Linyungandambo which literally means shake your neighbour against BRE and Lubosi Imwiko II, in particular for convincing Zambian government over the restoration of Barotseland agreement in moving away from Barotse National Council Resolutions of March 27, 2012 that resolved to have self-determination.
“Hence, BRE is looked at as an enemy to the people and are behaving like Abel Muzorewa and Canaan Banana https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canaan_Banana in Zimbabwe during struggle for independence”. Stressed Induna Katema.
In another development the Barotse National Freedom Alliance, national executive met on 27 April 2018 and among others, many of the resolutions was one to uphold the resolution of self-determination (independence).The meeting was a success it was attended by all the 11regions of Barotseland and together with the special guests from the diaspora.
Barotseland is one of the 10 countrieshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyCPpptCj68 in the world which existed before and consists of 8 million people.