The people of Western Province have said that they will not celebrate this year’s independence because of the oppression they have been subjected to by the Zambian government.
Speaking to the Daily Nation in a telephone interview, a senior citizen of Mongu, Nyambe Mukubesa said he was concerned with the continuous harassment and intimidation the people of Barotseland were facing.
Mukubesa said that it was disheartening that the people of Barotseland were treated inhumanely and saw no reason why they could waste their time celebrating Independence when they were in pain.
He said that gaining Independence was being free from captivity, adding that their case was different.
“The only people who can be present at Independence celebrations here are pupils, and not adults. Surely how can you say you are independent when you are crying and still struggling for freedom? Look at what our children are being subjected to, and even if you don’t have a heart for people, is it the way it is supposed to be,” he asked.
The senior citizen said that if the Zambian government really meant well for peace and stability in the country, the cries of Barotseland could have been addressed once and for all.
Mukubesa said he was shocked that people were allegedly charged with treason just for celebrating what they thought was their independence, a situation he said had never happened in history.
He noted that while the struggle for Barotseland continued undeterred, people faced unfairness and violation of their rights.
And Mukubesa said that it was unjustifiable that a case regarding Barotse activists would be heard in Lusaka, because most of their relatives would not be able to give deserved support to their beloved ones.
And the High Court Judge Hamaundu ruled that the matter concerning former Ngambela Wainyae Sinyinda and 83 others be heard in Lusaka.
In his ruling he said he considered the state’s argument that there was a likelihood of violence erupting in Mongu due to the tension the matter had generated.
He ruled that all appearances for mention would be held in Lusaka which had sufficient court rooms, until the matter was committed to the High Court for trial.
Scores of activists that include the former prime minister of Barotseland Clement Sinyinda were currently detained in prison charged with treason.
Meanwhile, Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) maintained that the people of Western Province should not be intimidated because they had rights like any other ordinary person.
SACCORD executive director Boniface Chembe appealed to the people of Western Province to exercise patience as the issue had various discussions in a quest to resolve it amicable.
He said it was important to treat the people of western province fairly if peace and stability was to prevail in the country.
Chembe said that as the country was to celebrate independence, people must be considerate that everyone needed to participate without and intimidations and interference so that freedom was realised by every citizen.