Release Mongu killings report

GOVERNMENT should release the Rodger Chongwe-led commission of inquiry report on the Mongu killings of 2011, Mr William Harrington, a former commissioner on the Mun’gomba Constitution review commission, has demanded.

The Rodger Chongwe commission of inquiry recommended the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 to guarantee peace, but President Sata rejected the proposal, saying it would “open a pandora’s box.”

The recommendation was made publicly when Mr Chongwe presented the report to President Michael Sata at State House for scrutiny and later to make it public.

The report has however not been made public.

Mr Harrington said the government’s release of the long awaited final draft Constitution would not help without the inquiry report on the Mongu killings.

He said the two documents were crucial not only to Zambia’s democratic dispensation, but also the nation’s future peace and stability.

Mr Harrington said being one of the Zambian citizens who followed the debate on the Barotseland Agreement, the Head of State should critically examine his conscience and release the Roger Chongwe-led inquiry report.

“It is very clear that the two documents cannot be read and discussed in isolation of each other, because the Zambian people breathed a sigh of hope and relief when President Sata and his Government, then in opposition, assured the nation that within 90 days of assuming office, the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 will be recognised,” he said.

Mr Harrington advised that the Government should not bury its head in the sand when there was such a pressing problem.

He explained that “restoration” was about consolidating and cementing the marriage between Zambia and Barotseland that was signed in 1964. The issues regarding the Barotse Agreement of 1964 had brought tension in Barotseland.

Last week, the church said in its joint Pastoral Letter on celebrating Zambia’s 50th anniversary, that there was need to engage in dialogue as a way of dealing with the related issues.

The church said the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was one issue that the nation has struggled to resolve and comprehensively put to rest in the past 50 years.

The letter was co-signed by Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) president Alfred Kalembo, Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) board chairperson Joseph Imakando and Episcopal Conference of Zambia (ZEC) president Telesphore Mpundu.

“Our position as Christian churches mother bodies has not been to apportion blame on any party but to appeal to all: the Government, the people of Western Province, the Barotse Royal Establishment and the organised activist groups to come together and find a lasting solution to the delicate situation in Western Province,” the letter reads.