We submitted confidently that even Afumba Mombotwa, in his gallantry and integrity, would not, despite his present suffering or even in death, support an action that relegates Barotseland’s powers to the Zambian government, a foreign power he has so courageously accused to be illegally occupying Barotseland.
Afumba believes that Barotseland is an independent nation, and is willing to die for that belief.
He believes that Barotseland has its own laws, culture and identity separate from Zambia’s. Therefore, he has severally refused deals for personal freedom in exchange for betraying Barotseland’s independence struggle from Zambia.
In Zambian courts, Afumba argued on the basis that he did not recognize Zambian courts’ jurisdiction over him and his colleagues as Barotse nationals, to the extent that it cost him and his colleagues their personal freedom!
The problem with supporters of Imikendu, however, is that they seemed hell-bent on embarrassing Edwin Lubosi Imwiko as a person, but did not seem to care about the despicable precedence they were setting over the Litungaship!
Edwin Lubosi Imwiko’s reign, as Litunga Imwiko II, may have affected a lot of us personally in such negative and dangerous ways that we could so easily have used his embattlement to get back at him, but we decided to take a PRINCIPLED position in defence of BAROTSELAND and its NORMS because we realized that, although Imwiko II will certainly live long as King, he could not possibly live forever.
However, the bad precedence set today could haunt all other future Litungas and posterity would judge us harshly.
In their action, Imikendu and his friends had so loudly declared that our culture and governance systems were inadequate. They sought to declare that the role of IMBWAE and other Kingmakers in Barotseland, were so OBSOLETE that now Barotseland needed the Zambian courts to dethrone or censure the Litunga.
Imikendu, having been embattled IMBWAE at the time the litigation started, should have taken the courage to dethrone Imwiko II with the support of the Barotse National Council (BNC) or the relevant Barotse institutions, in line with the norms and procedures of Barotseland.
And to do this, IMBWAE would not have needed foreign Zambian courts.
In principle, a thing is undone by the same means it was originally done. For example, we have consistently promulgated here that Barotseland must leave the union with Zambia by the same means it joined the union. How? Through the Barotseland Agreement 1964, and that there is even no need for a Zambian organized referendum over this matter!
A Barotse National Council resolution would be sufficient – just like it was in deciding to conjoin Barotseland with Zambia because we believe that a ‘thing is undone by the same means it was done’.
Therefore, any union can be annulled by the same means it was consummated.
For us, it was not about supporting Edwin Lubosi Imwiko but following the right channels and respecting our SOLID foundations, without which Barotseland is doomed, and we would no longer have a foothold as a people.
We emphasize again that the Litunga of Barotseland cannot be dethroned via the Zambian courts because he does not ascend the throne through these courts. If we desire to dethrone the Litunga through the foreign courts, it would also follow that we desire the next Litunga to be enthroned through and in conjunction with the same courts.
The power to ‘HIRE’ should be the same power to ‘FIRE’!
This is why we challenged Imikendu, as IMBWAE at the time, to ‘dethrone’ Lubosi Imwiko II the same way he was enthroned.
If IMBWAE enthroned Lubosi Imwiko II through the Zambian courts, then the Litigation was fine, but if not, then he IMBWAE was equally abdicating and relegating his authority, howbeit, to foreign courts considered oppressive and inimical to Barotseland.
If Barotseland’s IMBWAE gave up his powers to the Zambian courts to DETHRONE Imwiko II, he was INADVERTENTLY giving the same courts power to be Head of Kingmakers in Barotseland.
Do we really want to dethrone Imwiko II at the expense of who we are as Barotzis, selling our ‘NATIONAL SOUL’ at the ‘alter’ of ‘EXPEDIENCY’, doing what we regard as advantageous or politically convenient rather than what is RIGHT or JUST?
It would not really matter to us whether or not Imikendu had succeeded in his litigation; he is wrong either way as his action would come back to haunt us and future generations because today it is Imwiko II, tomorrow it would be another Litunga dragged to foreign courts.
Barotseland has well-known processes for censuring, disciplining, rebuking and even dethroning erring Litungas. If Imikendu was really serious and wished to dethrone Imwiko II, why not use these ‘legitimate’ processes?
Can Imikendu explain to us what challenges he faced in doing his national duty as Imbwae? Could it be that he feared that he was not legitimate himself or that his action had no blessings from the people? Was he not head of the Kingmakers who installed Imwiko II in 2000?
Barotseland is a century-old democracy where everyone’s voice must be heard without blackmail. We must, therefore, discuss the merits and demerits of Imikendu’s action without statements like, ‘if you don’t support Imikendu, then you wish to see Afumba dead’, or that ‘if you don’t support Imikendu, then you are an enemy of Barotseland’.
Nowhere in Imikendu’s court action did he ever state that he was doing it to free Afumba or Barotseland. We actually think Imikendu merely wanted to use Barotzis to fight his personal battles against Edwin Lubosi Imwiko after he had fired him from his job as Imbwae, the head of the kingmakers!