By Mwala Kalaluka
Fri 23 Mar. 2012, 13:00 CAT
BAROTSE Royal Establishment Ngambela prime minister Wainyae Sinyinda is concerned that the government has sent a huge number of soldiers and police officers to police unarmed people that will attend the Barotse National Council in Mongu next week.
But defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba said yesterday that the government had not sent the soldiers to Mongu in view of the Barotse National Council but that it was part of the routine practice by the defence command.
And police sources said apart from two truckloads of Kamfinsa Mobile police officers that arrived in Mongu on Tuesday, 10 truckloads of Zambia Army personnel had also arrived in Mongu ahead of the Barotse National Council.
Sinyinda said in an interview from Limulunga yesterday that the BRE was aware of the police and soldiers that had arrived in Mongu over the last few days.
"We are concerned because what is surprising is that not even a single of us is armed, except our walking sticks," Sinyinda said.
"We are shocked to see a lot of soldiers and police have been sent to people who are not armed, that really is surprising us. But if they are coming here to secure the nation, then they know who they are going to protect."
Sinyinda said the BRE has since requested that no police officer should be positioned near the meeting venue for the Barotse National Council.
"The police should not be at the site because people will feel intimidated," Sinyinda said.
"We have been told that there are only 70 soldiers but what we hear is that the number is bigger."
But Sinyinda said the presence of police and soldiers in the area would not deter the people of Western Province from proceeding with the Barotse National Council.
"We shall proceed because we have already been given a go-ahead. We are not looking back," he said.
"But the people should not be intimidated in any way and they should feel free to come for the meeting."
Sinyinda said a prayer meeting aimed at ensuring that the Barotse National Council proceeds in a peaceful manner would be held today at the Litunga's palace grounds in Limulunga.
"Those who are coming here must observe maximum peace and order and no one should insult anybody," said Sinyinda.
According to police sources form Mongu, about 10 truckloads of Zambia Army personnel had arrived in the area over the last few days.
In January last year, the Rupiah Banda-led MMD government sent hundreds of police and intelligence personnel to Mongu to prevent a meeting called by Barotse activists to discuss the Barotseland Agreement, and as a result there were fatalities after some people were shot in cold blood.
And the Nkoya Royal Council has turned down an invitation from BRE to attend the Barotse National Council.
Kaoma district Nkoya Royal Council chairperson Yuvwenu Kashandola said in an interview from Kaoma that Nkoya chiefs, Mutondo and Kahare had been asked not to attend the convocation by their subjects.
Kashandola acknowledged that the two chiefs from Lukena and Njonjolo traditional establishments in Kaoma had received invitations from the BRE to attend the Barotse National Council.
"Invitations have been sent to these two royal establishments but for us we have seen that these invitations are not meaningful to us because that forum is not beneficial to our side," he said.
"At no time has the Barotse Royal Establishment accommodated Nkoyas as part of that royal establishment. Because we believe Litunga is our paramount chief and all the chiefs in Western Province should pay allegiance to him but that set up has never recognised the existence of Nkoyas."
Kashandola said the Nkoyas were aggrieved by the destruction of their literature by the Barotse Royal Establishment and the classification of Nkoyas as mere headmen.
"These traditional chiefs have a very rich and long history; they rank them together with people who were just their ambassadors into Mankoya land," said Kashandola.
"Thirdly, in 1993 they threatened to dethrone chief Mutondo and chief Kahare. If that was the case, how do we share a fora where there is such enmity? We should remain as Nkoyas in Mankoya land and the government should actually regard us with that position, that is our direction. They should not actually make us part of those resolutions and where they will discuss Barotseland let them not include Mankoya land."
Labels: BAROTSE ROYAL ESTABLISHMENT