Barotseland: Imprisonment of Leaders Could Help Raise Awareness for Independence Struggle
Photo courtesy of The Barotseland Post
While Barotseland leader Inambao Kalima, who had mysteriously fallen ill with suspected food poisoning in a Zambian prison over one month ago, is slowly recovering, three independence activists remain imprisoned and are forced to do hard labour. After a Barotse National Council had ruled on the issue in 2012 and only after all attempts at securing self-determination for the Barotse people according to the 1964 Barotseland Agreement with the Zambian Government had failed, the Barotseland independence movement came to the conclusion that Barotseland and Zambia should go their separate ways as independent nations. It now hopes to draw the international community’s attention to their plight by pointing to the imprisonment of their leading administrative figures.
Below is an article published by The Barotseland Post:
"Although we are not happy to have been imprisoned by Zambia, we believe our imprisonment is helping in highlighting the cause for Barotseland independence,” incarcerated Barotseland Administrator Afumba Mombotwa has said in a Barotseland Post exclusive.
And the Barotseland Post can confirm that Inambao Kalima who was sick from suspected food poisoning at Mwembeshi maximum state prison has improved in his recovery.
“Go and tell the people of Barotseland that we are here (in jail) because God loves Barotseland! We could have delayed in attaining our independence if God had not brought us here. Therefore, we are very contented because (through us) the world now knows why we are here,” explained the highly spirited incarcerated Barotseland government leader.
“They (people of Barotseland) should not worry about us; and must never give up! We feel it is a blessing that we are here, so that the world may quickly know about the issue of Barotseland and why we are fighting to restore her to her original status.”
“We are not afraid of being kept here, and neither should they. We only wish to encourage all the people (of Barotseland) to work extra hard and entrench the Barotseland government,” concluded Afumba Mombotwa emphasizing that Barotseland has a capable government to carry on with the work even in his absence.
He also called for continued personal and collective national prayers for speedy and smooth transition.
Afumba Mombotwa (58), Likando Pelekelo (62) and Sylvester Inambao Kalima (55) are currently serving a ten year Zambian prison sentence each, with hard labor, over treason felony for allegedly usurping the powers of the Zambian executive, the charge and sentencing they continue to deny accusing the Zambian state of playing complainant, Judge, Jury and executioner all in one. This was in connection with their role in implementing Barotseland self-rule resolutions unanimously passed by the Barotse National Council (BNC) meeting of 27th March 2012, which called for Barotseland independence from Zambia after the latter repeatedly refused to restore a 1964 pre-independence treaty that guaranteed Barotseland’s autonomy within the new state of Zambia. The Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was, however, unilaterally annulled and abrogated systematically by Zambia’s first and successive governments without ever being implemented.
Over the fifty years, several appeals to have the agreement restored and honored were denied, while those calling for the honoring of the agreement were often arrested, tortured or killed by Zambian government agents, until the March 2012 BNC called for the independence of Barotseland form Zambia since the agreement that joined Barotseland to Zambia could no longer be restored.
The three were arrested on the 5th of December 2014, and have been in jail ever since where they are treated as common criminals, despite their alleged crimes being of a political nature.