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Home / Opinion - Sikosinyana/Sibbinda indunaship wrangle in Zambezi

Opinion - Sikosinyana/Sibbinda indunaship wrangle in Zambezi

2021-01-12  Staff Reporter

Opinion - Sikosinyana/Sibbinda indunaship wrangle in Zambezi

Prof. Makala Lilemba

The fierce race between the Nanjala-July Mungu and Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima factions of Sibbinda District seems far from being settled despite the inauguration of Induna Sikosinyana by Linyanti Khuta followed by officially handing him with the mace of authority on 22 December 2020. The main cause of the dispute is rooted in the historical - hegemony- the legitimacy of the clan, which is compounded by the will of the people and tendency of the latter group to undemocratically impose the induna upon the residents. For one hundred and eleven years (1909-2020), the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction has illegitimately held on and ruled the District for almost seven decades. Oral tradition has it that the early founders of Sibbinda village migrated from Bombokelo (between Imusho and Sinjembela) and Sikosi in Western Province of Zambia and are descendants of Mwambwa Siluka and Siyanga.  The harbingers of the new arrivals in the area included Chikandekande, Mwanandambo and Shampule. Bombokelo was one of the villages which harboured King Lewanika during his flight to Mashi after he was deposed by Mataa and Tatila Akufuna in 1884. Kubingisa is the current Induna, where Sibbinda village originated.

As years rolled, their numbers swelled and settled in many parts around Bwacha, Makanga, Sikaunga and Sibbinda areas. Kruger (1984) records that during the arrival of the Kololo, a Sotho group from South Africa, which invaded and conquered the Luyana Kingdom in 1830; Samakunguru was the head of Sibbinda village. Later on, legitimate males, who were supposed to succeed Samakunguru, passed on and Nanjala, despite being a woman was picked and became the headwoman of the village. Although her cousin Sikosi Kuangamiza Butokwa assisted her in running the affairs of the village, he commuted between his two wives at Sibbinda (Chaani) and Sikaunga (kwiRwizyi). It is against this situation that Nanjala requested her distant relative, Nezyuba for a son to adopt. Nanjala made the journey from Bwacha to Lusawe, Katongo in Zambia to pick Ziambo Mwilima. When Kurt Streitwolf, the first German Resident Commissioner in the then Caprivi visited Bwacha and found that Sikosi Kuangamiza Butokwa was always absent, he appointed the young Ziambo Mwilima as Sikosinyana (literally meaning younger Sikosi). 

When Streitwolf met Mahachana Malila and other indunas at Bwacha in 1909 to inform them of the new Administration, and their decision to remain either under Mamili or Lewanika, (Fisch 1999) Ziambo Mwilima, Sikosi Kuangamiza and July Mungu Kukalilwa were in attendance. Kruger (1984) also records that it was Ziambo as Induna Sikosinyana who was sent to invite Mwambwa Siluka to a historic meeting at Sikaunga (Sikosi) where Steitwolf met Induna Sikosi and Mayuni for them to choose either to stay under Mamili or Lewanika. At this meeting, Mwambwa Siluka decided to resort under Lewanika and was deprived of the Luyana representative of areas stretching from Andara up to Impalila (Fisch 1999; Kruger 1984). 

Thereafter Nanjala and Ziambo moved to Sibbinda where the latter ruled for almost seven decades and in the process manipulated and strengthened his position by frustrating and in some cases eliminating the rightful owners of the village and indunaship.  He even went to an extent of bartering the indunaship and village to his brother-in-law Lusiye Yumbu, who was Induna Mahachana.  However, in 1964, Ziambo as Sikosinyana wanted to reclaim his authority over the indunaship and summoned Induna Mahachana at Ziziti to bring back the date stamp and other Khuta books.  Mandandi, Fumano and Kangondo took back the Khuta books and date stamp, only to be saved by late Gabriel Mazumo Kabika.

In 1989, after realizing that the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction was not capable of ruling, the then Induna Sikosinyana, Site Mubiana Mabate, decided to hand over the indunaship seat to the Nanjala-July Mungu faction, the rightful owners. After the elections, Gabriel Mazumo Kabika who obtained two votes from fifty voters was installed as the new Induna Sikosinyana, because he hailed from the line of Nanjala-July-Mungu line. He ruled Sibbinda village for twenty-one years and after his demise in 2010, his Ngambela from the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction took over the indunaship. Unfortunately, Thaddeus Nyeliso Mahunga ruled for four years and died in a car accident. The proof to hand over the indunaship to Nanjala-July Mungu faction by Site Mubiana Mabate in 1989 is available in validated recorded interviews of late Induna Fumano (2005), Sage Amon Tubaleye Mulubwa (2020) and Makutela Ziambo (2020) (the only surviving daughter of Ziambo Mwilima). However, Gilbert Likando Mujiwa and Kaonde Misika (Unam lecturer at Rundu Campus) serve as living witnesses when the handover took place, but the other faction has been defying it.  Things could have gone very well, had it not been for a group of ambitious young teachers and their supporters from the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction, which solicited support from other districts and imposed late Timothy Maano Mubiana on the residents of Sibbinda. The Nanjala-July Mungu faction agreed to the imposition upon being requested by Litunga Mamili and Linyanti Khuta to let Mubiana rule and promised that the mistake would not be repeated.

After the demise of Maano Mubiana in March 2020, the position of Induna Sikosinyana became vacant. The two factions met on 8 July 2020 and agreed to choose a new Sikosinyana on 23 July 2020, but as veterinarians were visiting Sibbinda on the same date, 21 July was finally scheduled to choose the induna. To the surprise of the Nanjala-July Mungu faction and the Linyanti Khuta, the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction met secretly at Nukwa, near Kongola and installed their induna on 19 July 2020.

Attempts to reconcile the two factions failed as the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction insisted that their choice was final and was not subject to any negotiations and change and consequently the case landed at Linyanti Khuta. In some sessions, the debates became hotter that in one of them the current councillor for Linyanti had to exchange worst words with the Natamoyo. (In traditional circles the Natamoyo is third in line from the Litunga and literally means the Mother of Life, and whoever had committed a crime would run to him to be saved).  When the Linyanti Khuta approved the election of the induna with a secret ballot on 27 October 2020, the residents of Sibbinda were shocked when five teachers turned gangsters from the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction and the current Linyanti Councilor stormed into the crowd of voters and tore the ballot boxes in the presence of the Namibian Police Force. Quite strange and interesting that none of the offenders was arrested when people were ready to exercise their democratic right by choosing an induna of their choice. Even after all procedures have been completed, the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction is still terrorizing the peace-loving people of Sibbinda. The faction deceitfully and forcefully confiscated the Khuta’s date stamp, removed the locks, and brought the operations of the Khuta to a standstill. What is at stake is the future of their children and grandchildren, which they will leave behind with hate implanted into their hearts. The time to discuss about developmental issues in Sibbinda village is lost forever maybe in our lifetime! As Amupanda et al (2020) quote John Galtung who argues that peace is not just the absence of direct violence but the absence of violence in all manifestations, and therefore the Sibbinda community is embroiled in a serious conflict situation devoid of peace, which needs urgent attention. The Linyanti Khuta and the Police should jointly work together to instil some sense of responsibility and order in some members of the Nezyuba-Ziambo Mwilima faction.

2021-01-12  Staff Reporter

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