April 4, 2017

Barotseland: Leader Not Able to Attend Son’s Funeral Due to Harsh and Remote Detention

Photo Courtesy of the Barotseland Post

Barotseland General Administrator Likando Pelekelo’s son has died while he was serving a 10-year jail sentence at Mansa state prison. The prison that Pelekelo was assigned to is in one of Zambia’s remotest regions, distinctly out of reach from friends and family. This decision has meant that Pelekelo was unable to attend his son’s funeral, highlighting the added turmoil of the remote detention on top of the trumped-up charges. Pelekelo, alongside Afumba Mombotwa and Inambao Kalima were arrested for their role in establishing a transitional government in Barotseland, an autonomous region as stated in the Barotseland 1964 Treaty. The Zambian government systematically denies their imprisonment, ascertaining that they are merely awaiting trial. 

 

Below is an article published by The Barotseland Post:

Likando Pelekelo’s first born son has died from a yet to be established cause, while his father continues to serve a 10-year jail sentence at Mansa state prison in Zambia’s remote Luapula province over some trumped up treason felony alongside two other Barotseland leaders serving the same fate in separate jails in the Northern provinces of Zambia, far from their homeland of Barotseland.

According to confirmed reports received, Suya Likando, 28, died at Induna Akashambatwa's home in Namayula area of Lukulu Region in the early hours of Wednesday, 28th March 2017.

He died after a sudden short illness and his funeral was held at a Mr. Mulonda’s residence, an employee of Lukulu District Council in Green Park Compound (township). Suya was put to rest yesterday, Friday 31st March 2017.

Likando Pelekelo, Barotseland Administrator General Afumba Mombotwa and Inambao Kalima are currently serving ten year jail sentences each with hard labour in separate jails located far from their families and loved ones in the remotest parts of Luapula and Northern provinces  of Zambia for their role in establishing a transitional government in the contested territory of Barotseland after it unanimously declared independence from Zambia in 2012 prompted by the latter’s rejection of repeated appeals to honour a pre-independence 1964 treaty that had provided for the autonomy of the Barotse territory within the republic of Zambia.

Their political imprisonment continues to be officially denied by the Edgar Lungu led Zambian government, with the latest denial being that of Vice President Inonge Wina, who when queried about the political imprisonment of the trio in parliament in October last year, lied alleging that the three were mere ‘remandees’ still awaiting trial, in spite of them having been sentenced and condemned earlier in the year on 9th March, 2016.

The Barotseland Agreement of 1964 had been unilaterally abrogated by 1969 with successive Zambian governments rejecting periodic Barotse appeals to have the pre-independence agreement honored until March of 2012 when Barotseland unanimously elected to pursue self-determination outside of Zambia, a move that has seen the Barotse suffer heavy reprisals from the Zambian government.

Honourable Pelekelo Likando was appointed Secretary of State in charge of Agriculture in the Afumba led Barotseland transitional Government.

Because of his disputed political imprisonment, Likando Pelekelo has not been able to bury his first born son.