Kuomboka ceremony

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 09:56:33 +0000


IT IS gratifying to learn that Western Province will now have a substantive Ngambela or Prime Minister for the first time in five years and we hope and trust that the new development will help ease the political tension rising in the region as the Kuomboka ceremony on April 8 approaches.

The political instability that has characterised the region since the flash riots of February 14 2011 when a number of people died after marauding youths demanding ‘‘separation’’ clashed with the police, has become a source of worry not only to Government but all Zambians who cherish peace and progress.

It is unfortunate that Western Province has become a cauldron of political confusion with no certainty as to what is going on. There are several shadowy political groupings making various demands but whose agendas are poles apart. As it is no group can claim to represent a sizeable section of the population.

They are as many and opposed to each other as the colours of a rainbow.

To make matters worse the Barotse Royal Establishment, the traditional authority headed by the Litunga, has been wracked by its own internal failings. The once powerful Kuta, whose word was law, is now a shadow of itself as it is being slowly consumed by the stalk borer of wind of change and army worm of inertia.

Political watchers say the BRE has allowed itself to be tossed around to a point where it has become a laughing stock. To the restless Lozi youths who are themselves not sure whether they want the Barotse Agreement 1964 or something else, the BRE is moribund and an Albatross. But then they have nothing to replace it with.

This is partly the cause of the unprecedented civil matter in the Lusaka High Court where four prominent Lozis, all of them former Indunas in the BRE, have sued the Litunga, asking the court to remove him if he is not ready to abdicate, alleging that he has failed to govern and was an embarrassment to the Lozi traditionalists and the royal family.

As the Kuomboka ceremony this Saturday looms on the horizon, we appeal to the various political opinions in Western Province, especially the youth, to remain calm and prepare to celebrate the festival which they have not seen for three years now because of lack of sufficient waters in the Barotse Plains.

The Kuomboka ceremony is one of Africa’s most fascinating tourist attractions which cannot be allowed to die because of politics. It is a million-dollar inheritance which, if well preserved and managed, can be a cash spinner for the region and Zambia as a whole.

That is why Government has enhanced security and police presence in Mongu so that local people and Zambians travelling to watch the traditional ceremony can do so without fear of being molested by anyone. A traditional event such as the Kuomboka cannot be politicised.

It is supposed to bring out the best in every Lozi so that fellow Zambians can continue to respect, admire and enjoy this remarkable water pilgrimage that has been preserved for nearly 200 years. No-one will preserve and protect the Kuomboka but Lozis themselves.

If there are any disgruntled elements who want to vent their anger on the Kuomboka, they must be told they are wrong. Like it has outlived kings Sir Mwanwina 111, Mbikusita Lewanika and Ilute Yeta, it will also outlive Lubosi Imwiko.

Those opposed to the present Litunga should not be allowed to spoil the fun for everyone, especially the young, visitors and hundreds of tourists travelling from far and wide to come and watch the best of Zambia.

Lozis are renowned for deep respect and love for tradition. They are also known to respect authority. The Kuomboka ceremony is a unifying factor they have fashioned for themselves. It will be sad if this generation will tear it to pieces and bury it with their own hands.


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