Barotseland: Nationalists to Be Tried in August
Mr Afumba Mombotwa, Barotseland transitional Government leader, and three other Barotse nationalists will be tried on 18 August 2015. They were arrested on 5 December 2014 and charged with treason for advocating for the independence of Barotseland. The authorities have recently transferred the four prisoners to a high-level security penitentiary without informing their families or the media.
Below is an article published by the Barotse Post:
Barotseland transitional government leader Afumba Mombotwa and his three co-accused who were today, 24th July 2015, secretly transferred from Mwembeshi state prison to Mukobeko maximum prison, are scheduled to stand trial in Zambia’s Kabwe high court on the 18th August 2015 for the charge of treason felony punishable by death under Zambian laws upon conviction. The four were arrested on December 5th of 2014 and have been, until now, incarcerated at Mwembeshi state prison.
Hon. Afumba and his colleagues are charged with treason for advocating for the independence of Barotseland from Zambia following the latter’s abrogation of the pre-independence ‘Barotseland Agreement’ of 1964, and the subsequent resolution of the March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) which resolved to accept Zambia’s abrogation of the agreement. Barotseland further resolved to break away from its disputed underlying status within the Republic of Zambia and seek to pursue her own future independent of Zambia. As such Barotseland is now a member of Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, UNPO; determined to pursue her self-determination through peaceful means.
This latest move by Zambia’s Patriotic Front led government, however, is of great concern because not only did they carry out the four leaders’ transfer without informing their families or the media, but it also means that they are now inmates at Zambia’s most notorious prison, Mukobeko, located far away from Barotseland, where they will be exposed to all sorts of untold torture. Mukobeko maximum prison is home to hard-core criminals condemned to death for various aggravated felonies.
Family members and Barotseland activists alike are now greatly frightened and fear for the quartet’s safety, as many such Barotseland political prisoners in the past have mysteriously died in prison or shortly after their release without conviction of their alleged crimes. The Zambian media is generally mute on this matter for fear of government reprisals; it is therefore, the prayer of the family and Barotseland independence activists that the world media and organizations such as UNPO, human rights groups and watchdogs will intercede and intervene on their behalf.
Besides the four leaders, three Barotseland Nation Youth League are currently serving three years jail sentences for a less charge of ‘publication of false news likely to alarm the nation under Zambian laws ’ for Barotseland independence related publication they are alleged to have authored.
The other clarion call is to the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Barotse Monarchy to once and for all stand with the people of Barotseland who unanimously resolved for Barotseland’s independence in the March 2012 BNC which was organized and endorsed under the auspices of both the BRE and the Barotse monarchy.
Photo courtesy of the Barotse Post.