THE Lozis are the ones violating the rights of other tribes in the province despite being a minority grouping, the Mbunda Royal Establishment (MRE) has charged and the Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA)’s decision to drag the Zambian Government to the African Union is misplaced. .
MRE spokesperson Kennedy Mubanga told the Daily Nation yesterday it was for this reason that the Mbundas would file a counter submission so that they became witnesses to the Africa Union over the BNFA’s application that Government was abrogating human rights in the Western Province.
Mr. Mubanga said it was sad that BNFA had taken such a move while the Lozis were the ones violating the rights of people from other tribes in the province and wondered why it was accusing Government of wrongdoing.
“We wish to offer to stand as witnesses to the accusation labelled by the Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) that the Zambian government was violating human rights in Western Province according to their submission to the AU Charter on Human and People’s Rights Headquartered in Banjul in The Gambia,” Mr. Mubanga said.
He said the MRE was ready to stand as witnesses on behalf of the Zambian Government because the Mbundas, Nkoyas, and other tribes were at the receiving end of Lozi oppression in Western Province and that accusing government of human rights violation was just an excuse for the Lozis to advance their secession agenda.
“In terms of population size, the Mbunda people constitute almost half of the province, while Lozis are at 34% and Nkoyas are at 14%. Despite the above geographic distribution, it is the Lozis in their minority that wish to secede from Zambia, without the consent of the other two major groups – the Mbunda and the Nkoya,” he explained.
He asked Government to furnish the MRE with information regarding the grounds on which the BNFA was basing its arguments on the matter so that it issues a comprehensive counter-submission.
“We therefore call upon Government to furnish the Mbunda Royal Establishment with the accusations against it (Government) so that we prepare a counter-submission to the AU Charter in Banjul since it is instead the Lozis that violate the human rights of the Mbundas, the Nkoyas and other tribes in Western Province. It is therefore important that the Mbunda, as an indigenous population in Western Province, should be helped to file a counter-report to Banjul,” he said.
The Alliance has written to the African Commission of Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) to have Western Province secede from Zambia because of alleged ill-treatment of Lozis while the Nkoyas and the Mbundas are pushing for the creation of the 11th province or re-alignment of some districts from Western Province because Lozis were allegedly mistreating them. Government has since dismissed claims that it was abrogating human rights and therefore giving rise to the cessation demand by the BNFA and submitted that the AU should reject Barotseland’s bid to secede from Zambia just as it rejected the bid by the Katanga Province to pull out of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo).