Plans by government to assign more troops during the Kuomboka ceremony of the Lozi people have been highly criticized and there are fears that the move will actually disturb the event.
In an interview with the Daily Nation, a representative of the Royal family Prince Silumelume of Senanga district said the Kuomboka ceremony has history of having its own security.
He was reacting to Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani’s plans to beef up security by sending more officers to the ceremony slated for April 20.
Ms Libongani said the ceremony was of great significant to the region and people should be allowed to attend with the protection of the police.
She however appealed to the general public to work hand in hand with police so that the atmosphere was conducive enough for development.
But Prince Silumelume said increased presence of uniformed personnel at the ceremony would intimidate people especially that the police had lately exhibited blatant unprofessionalism.
“This is the ceremony for the people and not for the police, because they want to show that they doing their job to please their masters, but it will not help if they come in large numbers. I remember a lot of people shunning the recent event when they were a lot of officers and we wouldn’t be happy to see that again, what they are trying to prove?” he asked.
He said people must enjoy their culture without being intimidated, adding that the Lozis would not allow anybody to turn the ceremony into a political campaign event.
The Prince said the people of Western Province were patient and peaceful regardless of being pushed around by the PF government.
“I must say that we have been patient and we are peaceful people, despite what we are subjected to by the government, we don’t want people to disturb the ceremony all what we are preaching is peace.
And Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) spokesperson Induna Inete assured the people that the ceremony would be successful as everything was on course.
Induna Inete told the Daily Nation that the presence of the police should not scare away people from attending the ceremony because it was normal for police officers to offer protection.
“If there was no peace in Western Province, we could not have the ceremony, and I believe that even the presence of the police is based on protecting citizens and not intimidating them. It is normal that whenever there is a gathering, police officers should be there,” he said.