Kafue Province: The Background History
The following article is a petition submission that was re-submitted to His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, the President of the Republic of Zambia regarding the problems between the Nkoya and the Lozi.
Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata
The President of the Republic of Zambia,
Dear Your Excellency,
THE NKOYA ROYAL COUNCIL’S ALL TIME STAND ON THE LOZI – NKOYA AXIS IN KAOMA DISTRICT.
We the undersigned persons, being citizens of Zambia and committed to the security and peace of and in our beloved country, do hereby ( and on behalf of the Nkoya Royal Council, the Nkoya Ethnic speaking people) petition Your Excellency vis –a- vis the recent negative developments in Kaoma (formerly Mankoya) District.
RECENT NEGATIVE DEVELOPMENTS
Your Excellency Sir, the Nkoya People are deeply disappointed with the Government’s recent recognition of a Lozi by the name of Amukena as a Chief and later on as Senior Chief for the first time in the History of Kaoma.
This has greatly demoralized and injured the pride of the Nkoya People who now feel their own Government has not only sidelined them but has taken the side of the Nkoya’s long time tribal enemy who through deceit, manipulation, misinformation and deliberate lies have always portrayed Nkoyas as being anti Government. To these tribal cum political gymnastics by our enemies, the Government has been persuaded to punish the Nkoya people on all fronts namely:
1. Recognizing a Lozi not only as Chief but as Senior Chief to preside over the Nkoya tribe so as to frustrate the local Nkoya Chiefs in Kaoma District.
2. Dismissing Nkoyas from Government and / or quasi Government jobs so as to cripple them financially. This way Nkoya people will have no capacity to participate in the current capitalistic nature type of politics.
3. Endowing and empowering all other tribes loyal to the Lozi in Western Province.
How else can you explain the fact that out of more than 700 Government jobs, the Nkoya tribe does not feature anywhere in those jobs except one District Commissioner who has since been transferred out of Kaoma?
Those who purport to speak on behalf of the Nkoya People must be misinforming the Government that Nkoyas are anti Government and that therefore don’t deserve Government jobs, Diplomatic jobs and anything to do with Government.
Your Excellency, we the Nkoya people would like to work directly with you in your Government and not through other tribes who are misinforming Your Excellency that Nkoya people are their property. We are a distinct Ethnic group in Central Western Zambia now commonly referred to as Kafue Province and we deserve a fair share of dignity in Government.
Your Excellency, if it is not asking for too much, we would like to reproduce in this document the origins and the root causes of the historical conflict between the Lozi and the Nkoya so that once you appreciate these historical facts you will be able to challenge anybody who will attempt to mislead your office into doing their self bidding as the case is now over the recognition of a Lozi imposter called Amukena not only as Chief but as Senior Chief in Kaoma District – the known District of the Nkoya people- Our District.
ORIGINS OF THE PROTRACTED CONFLICT
1936: Prince Mwanawina half brother to the then Lozi Chief Yeta III, was sent to Kaoma (then called Mankoya) District as a Tax Collector in Chief Mutondo’s area.
1939: Prince Mwanawina started posing as a Chief which behavior the then Nkoya Chief Mutondo (Kanyincha) could not tolerate.
1940: The Nkoya Chief Mutondo (Kanyincha) complained to the then District Commissioner Croford who in turn reported to the Provincial Commissioner about the unbecoming behaviour of Prince Mwanawina.
1942: The Provincial Colonial Administration in conjunction with the District Administrator decided that Mankoya District should be separate from Barotse Province if peace between the two tribes Lozis and Nkoyas was to prevail. The ceremony to effect the separation of the two peoples was set for the winter of 1943 in the then Mankoya District.
1943: Just on the eve of the signing ceremony to separate the two areas, Lozi Agents arranged to assassinate Chief Mutondo (Kanyincha) through food poisoning which led to the passing out of Chief Mutondo. This rendered the signing ceremony irrelevant as Chief Mutondo was the other signatory to the separation process.
1946:Prince Muchaila the son of the late Chief Mutondo (Kanyincha) took his father’s reign as the new Chief Mutondo and immediately challenged the new traditional authority of the Lozis in Mankoya District through the entrenchment of Naliele Village as a Royal Post of the Lozis.
1948:The new Chief Mutondo (Muchaila) was discreetly (and without the prior knowledge of his subjects) deposed and sent into exile to Kalabo District for ten (10) years by a Lozi Kangaroo court. This the Lozi Royal Establishment said was punishment for inciting his (Chief Mutondo’s ) subjects to remove Prince Mwanawina from Naliele Village in Mankoya District.
1948: Prince Mwanawina was enthroned as the new Lozi Chief i.e. the new Litunga after the passing out of Imwiko Lewanika.
1949: The Lozi Royal Establishment unilaterally replaced Chief Mutondo (Muchaila) who had been sent into exile with a puppet Nkoya Chief Mutondo (Kalapukila). This action by the Lozis resulted into the deaths of several Nkoya men at the hands of the then Lozi Mafias called “KUNU” for opposing and resisting the enthronement of a puppet Nkoya Chief who was later to do the bidding for the Lozis in the subsequent years.
1950: During the summer of that year, the Lozi installed another Lozi chief called Siteketo at Naliele Village to replace Prince Mwanawina who was by this time the new Litunga of the Lozi. The new puppet Nkoya Chief Kalapukila was made to endorse Siteketo as Chief of Naliele village in then Mankoya District.
After the death of Siteketo, he was placed by Mwendaweli, followed by Litia and now the man called Amukena who has just been recognized by our Government as Lozi Senior Chief of not just his relatives at Naliele village but also a Senior Chief of the Nkoya people!
Your Excellency, the analysis of all these as seen from the Nkoya perspective is that the Lozis learnt the art of hegemony over other tribes in the current Western Province after they themselves had been victims of the Kololo under King Sebitwane’s war mongering who successfully drove them (Lozis) out of some parts of present day Southern Africa Regions south of the Zambezi River in the 19th century in 1845.
When the Lozis under the traditional leadership of Sipopa re-organized themselves with significant help of the Nkoya people 19years later, Sebitwane and his occupying Kololo forces were defeated and driven back further south of the Zambezi River.
This defeat of Sebitwane’s Kololo people by the Lozi traditional army led by Sipopa gave the Lozi another criminal impetus to launch indiscriminate killings of especially elderly persons in the expanded region around Mungulula area (now known as Mongu).
This area was originally occupied by the Nkoya tribe before the Lozi were conquered and were driven there from the south by Sebitwane’s army. It was so named Mungu after the staple food Mungulula (pumpkins) the Nkoyas used to feed on in those years. Mungu was derived from the long Nkoya name Mungulula (pumpkins).
It is therefore claimed by the Nkoyas of Old that in fact Lozis did seek refugee from the Nkoya as they ran away from the rampaging army of Sebitwane. The Nkoyas looked after them well. When the Lozi Royal Family fell ill and needed traditional medicine while in exile in Mankoya land, the Nkoya people provided and cured everyone right from the Royal Family to the very last common man. Sipopa the traditional leader who led the Lozi army to defeat Sebitwane’s army was trained in the art of hunting and warrior fighting by the expert Nkoya warriors and great legendary hunters of that time.
During those years and before the Lozis were forced into the present day Barotse Plains by the Sebitwane army from across the Zambezi, there were only four Chiefs in the present day Batotse Plains. These are:
1. Shihoka Nalinanga – Paramount Chief of the Nkoya People
2. Mange – Chief of the Kwangwa tribe
3. Libebe – Chief of the Mashi tribe
4. Imenda – Sub Chief of the Mbowe tribe
Smarting from his defeat of the Kololo under Sebitwane, the New Lozi Chief Sipopa started encouraging his warriors to systematically eliminate the native tribes who were refusing to accept his self appointed Chieftainship.
Among the tribes that, fell victim to this criminal and cruel project by Sipopa were the defenceless elderly Nkoya men – because the Nkoya people were the only tribe that refused to submit to the authority of these new Settlers in their native territory.
Over a period of time, the Nkoyas were increasingly growing uncomfortable sharing Mungulula (Mongu) with the hostile Sipopa. So Nkoyas of that area slowly but surely started migrating towards to the uninhabited lands and to join their other Nkoya relatives on the eastern side of the present day Mongu District.
This is the area which eventually became known as Mankoya District. This area was not assigned to the Nkoya People by another tribe but it was the Nkoyas who on their own volition chose to settle there if only this move would help reduce hostilities between the Nkoyas and the Lozis in the then Mungulula ( Mongu) District originally inhabited by the Nkoya People and the Kwangwa People.
This and the Chronology of events between 1936 and to date are some of the true historical facts which some of the current generation of Lozis will never admit.
This is because this type of history would sound malicious and demeaning to the Lozis current status and image which they have fraudulently built for themselves over a period of time.
Secondly, the records that the Lozis thought would work against their tribal project of dominance over other tribes were systematically removed from public eye especially those concerning Kaoma (Mankoya) District.
This destruction of vital history was done soon after Independence and the Lozis taking advantage of their numerical superiority in the field of European education which the obtained by selling Zambia through the redundant Barotse agreement which the obtained from a private company BSAC and using the plundered money and agreements to send to school only members of the Lozi Royal Family at the expense of other tribes and their God given heritage, the have quickly moved to rewrite the history of the Western Part of Zambia to suit their ego.
FACTORS INFLUENCING THE LOZIS
• The Defeat suffered by the Lozis at the hands of the Kololo’s Sebitwane in 1845 and the subsequent Lozis dramatic revenge defeat of the Kololo in 1864 under the new Lozi leadership of Sipopa spurred them to want to displace the tribes who had already settled in the present day Barotse Plains including Mongu (Mungulula) area.
• The Lozis were further encouraged by the British Colonial Government to feel superior over other tribes in the area when their new Litunga Mwanawina was in 1949 knighted “ Sir Mwanawina III” in appreciation of Mwanawina’s role during the World War II. During the World War II era, Mwanawina made material contributions to the colonial Government in the form of honey, elephant tusks, leopard and lion skins towards the cost of the World War. All these Mwanawina achieved through the efforts and labour of Nkoya hunters.
• At an early stage in the Nkoya – Lozi history, the Lozis saw the value of education which subsequently helped them to join and participate in the struggle for Zambia’s freedom. When Zambia attained its Independence in 1964, Lozis were already among the recognised pioneers of the freedom struggle and this earned them some political rewards by giving them high leadership roles that Lozis used to their advantage and benefit and at the exclusion of other tribes in the area. The Lozis used their new added political influence to suppress, to misinterpret, to misjudge and to erase any truths and history especially of the Nkoya ethnic group in Western Zambia.
• The Lozis did it during the 27 years of the Kaunda era, the repeated it during the Chiluba era and are aggressively misleading and manipulating our current Government through misinformation campaign to disadvantage especially the Nkoya people in all spheres of life. The Lozis are very good at wishing to be believed by the powers that be as the only torch bearers of other ethnic groups; or as a tribe that reports gospel truth about how other tribes in the current Western Province are anti Government of the day.
• In all these manoeuvres, the Lozis have always maintained a very consistent strategy namely that if the Government of the day does not deliver to them influential political leadership positions, they normally would put up their usual tribal secessionist stunts accusing such a Government of failing to recognize their infamous and redundant Barotse Agreement. But as and when the Government responds by delivering jobs to the Lozis as a nucleus tribe they now would use those influential positions to malign especially the Nkoya people so that in perception of the Government of the day the Nkoyas are truly anti Government.
• To this end, any Government that is prepared and willing to buy the Lozi machinations would swiftly proceed to disadvantage the Nkoya people socially, economically and politically. We believe this is what is happening to the Nkoya tribe today.
EVENTS IN THE AFTERMATH OF ZAMBIA’S INDEPENDENCE
Soon after Zambia’s Independence in 1964, Lozis quickly moved in to impose their political authority on the whole of Western Province. Lozis believe they are superior and that all other tribes are subservient to them hence think that leadership must be under the Lozi custody. We think this is not correct but Government has allowed this scenario over a period of time.
The Barotse Plains are no longer tolerable to many Lozis of today. Even fishing which is a Lozi passion is no longer profitable. So the only safe haven for the Lozis in Western Province is fertile Kaoma District which happens to be the heartland of the Nkoya people. In order for the Lozis to gain easy access to fertile land of Kaoma the must first get the Nkoyas out of their way using whatever method at their disposal sometimes with the indirect help of the Government which seem bent on turning a blind eye to the tribal machinations of the Lozi.
A people’s identity is the realization of their language, their values, their life style and the fulfilment of the code of conduct that is unique to them.
In Kaoma District, Lozis in 1966 just 2 years after Zambia’s Independence in 1964 combined their intellect with deceit to dupe the Nkoyas under the pretext of wanting to update Nkoya literature (Books) into believing that the new Government had directed to have vernacular books updated. The ploy worked because Lozis managed to destroy all Nkoya books by fire. From then on, Nkoya children were forced to learn from Lozi text books instead. This single act completely destroyed the Nkoya identity and language in schools of Kaoma District.
In order to consolidate their language in Kaoma District, the Lozis have used their influence to push all Lozi teacher graduates into Kaoma schools and all Nkoya graduates have unfortunately been pushed out of Kaoma District.
TRADITIONAL SETUP IN OTHER PROVINCES IN ZAMBIA
• Eastern Province has two paramount Chiefs; Undi and Mpezeni and each of them has authority over their own ethnic grouping without imposing their respective authority on the other.
• In Northern Province Paramount Chief Chitimukulu does not infringe upon the freedom of Namwanga, Mambwe, the Lungu or the Bisa etc.
• In North Western Province each tribe have their Senior Chief who does not cross tribal borders to impose their respective authority over other ethnic groupings.
• It is only in Western Province where one Lozi tribe has been allowed hegemony over other tribes whose customary laws and traditions are different from those held by the Lozis and their Chiefs.
GOVERNMENT’S ROLE IN THIS MATTER
Your Excellency, our view is that the Government should be the parent of all Zambians, poor or rich, weak or strong and when the Government appears to gross over tribal problems such as those in Western Province, then there is a big problem in the offing because here we are talking above very grave violations of human rights, oppression and slavery committed by the Lozis against the Nkoyas. This silence by the Government, we can only hope shall not degenerate into the injured tribe employing acts of taking the law into their own hands.
THE WAY FORWARD
Your Excellency, we have made this presentation in this manner because we feel that your office and through you Sir, our Government needs to see our perspective and correct the mistake of recognizing so called Chief Amukena as Senior Chief or even as mere Chief in Kaoma.
In view of our submission which is not entirely thorough anyway, we nevertheless wish to make the following suggestions and recommendations:
1. The Lozi Chief Amukena of Naliele Village under Chief Mutondo’s area in Kaoma District should be removed from Kaoma with the minimum of further delay and the village disbanded. Afterall the previous Governments of Zambia NEVER recognized a Lozi Chief at Naliele Village as a Senior Chief despite pressure and manipulation from the Lozis.
2. Chief Mutondo who is considered by the Nkoya as their Paramount Chief be officially recognized by the Government as the Senior Chief in Kaoma District.
3. The Barotse Royal Establishment should be advised by the Government to stop transferring Lozi villages from Senanga, Mungulula (Mongu) and Kalabo in a bid to turn the Nkoya into a minority tribe in their own district.
4. Government should seriously consider appointing Nkoyas to senior leadership positions in Western Zambia particularly in Kaoma District to ensure equitable representation and development. At the moment and in the past leader-ship positions in the current Western Province have been exclusively for the Lozis or if not other Zambians from outside the Province.
5. If Lozis resist these proposals as they have done in the past, then the Government should make a bold landmark decision by seceding Kaoma from Western Province which Lozis keep calling Barotseland. This is what the Colonial Administration had wanted to do in 1943.
Because Nkoyas are not Lozis, we have never and we shall NEVER EVER subscribe to the Lozi redundant and archaic concept of Barotseland Agreement. We have always supported the Government over this matter. We shall always be on the side of Government over this issue.
Your Excellency, we are fully aware that we are writing from a point of weakness purely because we lack the necessary political leverage over your Government but we trust that you will give us a hearing. We also trust that you will soon give us chance to work with you at all levels of political and civil leadership.
We remain committed to working for peace.
Kafue Province Nkoya Royalists