Barotseland: Activist Freed After Three-Month Detention
Photo Courtesy of The Barotseland Post
Mr Munukayumbwa Munyinda, a Barotse activist, was illegally detained by the Zambian state after he was officially accused of partaking in the burning of a Limulunga local court and of being the author of a social media post criticising Lusaka. After a three-month incarceration, the Barotse activist was finally released on 12 June 2017 since the Zambian State did not have any solid grounds to charge him. Mr Munyinda has constantly denounced Zambia’s illegal occupation of Barotseland and repressive measures against the Barotse population.
Below is an article published by The Barotseland Post:
After unlawfully detaining him for three months without trial, bail or any basic human rights, the draconian Zambian state has finally decided to release the young Barotse activist, Munukayumbwa Munyinda, via Nolle prosequi.
A Nolle prosequi is an instrument the Zambian state often uses against its political victims, especially the Barotse, after holding them in unlawful detention where they suffer untold torture and punishment for their politically motivated ‘crimes’.
With the Nolle, the victim would not be able to counter sue the state for unlawful detention or claim any compensation.
Munyinda (23), was arrested on 22nd April, 2017 and implicated in the burning of a Limulunga local court, but his charge was immediately changed to ‘seditious’ practices when no connection was established to link him to the fire that burnt the Limulunga local court earlier that week.
In the latter charge, Munyinda was accused to have authored a social media posting, "I CURSE STATE HOUSE UNTIL THE ISSUE OF BAROTSELAND IS SETTLED", allegedly posted to a facebook page bearing his names sometime in 2015.
Although it was never established if the social media posting ever existed at all, it would appear that Munyinda was being punished for being a known social media Barotse activist and young critic of Zambian president Lungu and Lubosi Imwiko II of Barotseland, and especially in relation to Zambia’s continued illegal occupation and administration of Barotseland.
It is for this non-criminal facebook post that Munyinda has suffered three months of untold misery in detention, without trial or bail, but maybe Munyinda’s greatest torture would be the loss of his own father who died on 3rd June, 2017, while Munyinda was in detention instead of giving his chronically ill father valuable care.
Munyinda was released on 12th July, 2017 when the state could not establish criminality against him, three months after his incarceration, piling up on abuses of the Barotse by the Zambian occupying power.
Many Barotse often suffer Zambian heavy state reprisals, such as arrest, prolonged incarceration, imprisonment, torture and even death, for expressing love for Barotseland or for merely possessing Barotseland literature.
In March 2012, the supreme Barotse National Council, BNC, unanimously resolved to pursue Barotseland self-determination outside of the Republic of Zambia after the latter could not honour the pre-independence 1964 treaty which guaranteed Barotseland autonomy within the new state of Zambia.