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Opinion - The quest for a paramount chief in Zambezi – a rebuttal

2022-09-09  Staff Reporter

Opinion - The quest for a paramount chief in Zambezi – a rebuttal

Kapule David Mabuta

I wish to respond to an opinion piece by Professor Makala Lilemba on the above subject. First, the title of his article is misleading as it does not specify which communities in the Zambezi region seek to select a paramount chief. I am speaking for the Masubia tribe, of which I am a member in good standing from Ibbu Village by origin. I can affirm te Masubia tribe are not party to the search for a paramount chief of the Zambezi region. From time immemorial, before the existence of the Luyana/Luyi, Lozi and Makololo, the Subiya had long been ruled by kings going by the title Munitenge. From 1876 when Lozi King Sipopa dislodged Munitenge/King Nkonkwena Liswani II from his headquarters at Impalila village, forcing him to flee to Rakops, the Subiya kingdom of Itenge broke into two sections, one under Nkonkwena in exile and the other remaining under Queen Ntolwa Maliansazwe, who relocated from Impalila Village to Isuuswa. The net effect of the splitting of the Itenge Kingdom was the creation of two chiefdoms under two paramount chiefs. Therefore, the Masubia tribe are not party to the quest for a paramount chief since they have had one since 1876 when they split into two chiefdoms, according to the background provided above.

Professor Makala Lilemba makes a number of inaccurate claims. One such false claim is that the quest for a paramount chief of Zambezi was made through audios on social media. The truth is that some Mafwe youth faked their identity, and planted some youth with Mafwe-Subiya parentage to infiltrate a Subiya book project that is being spearheaded on a WhatsApp group under the editorship of Mr Jonathan Tembwe Tembwe. The group is called ZaNaBo Subiya tribe. ZaNaBo is a mnemonic for the Zambia, Namibia, Botswana Subiya people. Those Mafwe youth involved in stealing audios of a Subiya book project group populated the audios on social media, and even presented them to Chief Mamili as evidence that the ZaNaBo group is planning to grab the Mafwe tribe’s land. The intention of the ever trouble-seeking Mafwe youth was to embarrass members of the ZaNaBo project, misrepresent the goals of the ZaNaBo group, and distract attention from their secession and terrorist-leaning agenda that is led by the incompetent Mr Mishake Muyongo and supported by the fallacious Professor Makala Lilemba (see NBC news of 28 January 28, and The Caprivi Vision of 28 February 2014).

Professor Makala Lilemba continued to make blanket statements regarding the Chief Moraliswani II versus Chief Mamili case of 1987. Professor Lilemba fails to acknowledge that the case in question was dismissed against Chief Moraliswani II based on points in limine. 

That did not mean that Chief Moraliswani II’s claims were not valid. What it means is that the case did not proceed to the next stage where its merits were to be argued. A case that is lost on points in limine can be filed afresh. For Professor Lilemba to claim that the title Munitenge was coined in 1983 to lend credence to Chief Moraliswani II’s claim of Caprivi suzerainty is ludicrous. It exposes his limited reading and understanding of Subiya heritage, which he seeks to discredit.

Yet another false pronouncement
by Professor Lilemba is his reference to the ZaNaBo group, whose objectives he knows so well from his sources, the Mafwe youth, as a secret cult. ZaNaBo is not a secret cult, but an association of Subiya people from Zambia, Namibia and Botswana. The objectives of ZaNabo are to preserve, promote and advocate for Subiya heritage; engage,collaborate and seek opportunities for research, the retrieval of historical, anthropological, educational materials and their dissemination to the tribe; promote and safeguard our shared heritage across the borders of Botswana, Zambia and Namibia; promote Subiya community engagements and interactions across common borders at all levels, e.g. cultural festivals such as the Munitenge annual cultural festival in Bukalo, Namibia, cross-border family reunions, etc. None of these objectives is ultra vires the laws of Namibia, Zambia and Botswana. The combination of the ever trouble-seeking Mafwe youth who stole and populated the audios and the writings of Professor Makala Lilemba show a cowardly people scared of their own shadows. Professor Makala Lilemba fails to publicly acknowledge his membership to a cult WhatsApp group called Zambezia that is led by Mr Ben Siyambango; a cult that calls Zambezi of the Republic of Namibia Sebitwane country. It is an embarrassment for any “professor” to believe that Sebitwane owns a region in the Republic of Namibia.

ZaNaBo does not promote land grabbing of other tribal communities. The objectives of ZaNaBo are laid bare above for all to see and reflect if there is anything ultra vires the laws of the countries in which the Subiya reside. It will be remiss of the Subiyas to enourage land grabbing of the very same land they fought and died for. Professor Makala Lilemba is not making sense. All sane people of Namibia recognise the sacrifices of the Subiya and their Chief Moraliswani II to the liberation struggle. It is, therefore, offensive to accuse the Subiya of disturbing peace which they fought gallantly to secure and restore, not only in the former Caprivi Strip, but the entire

Professor Makala Lilemba makes reference to 2 August 1999 in a manner that suggests that his perceived actions of ZaNaBo will ignite the same scenario. This is extremely skewed thinking. 2 August 1999 is a historical fact associated with the notorious Mr Mishake Muyongo and some criminally-minded members of his tribe, of which Professor Makala Lilemba is a member. It was reported on NBC news of 28 January 2014, and The Caprivi Vision of February, 28th, 2014 that you, Professor Makala Lilemba, testified before the Namibian High Court to the effect that the Caprivi Strip is not part of Namibia. If this is true as the above cited sources indicate, Professor Makala Lilemba’s tesmony runs contrary to the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia, the AU and UN charters. What international treaty or empirical evidence exists to inform Professor Makala Lilemba that the Caprivi Strip is part of Western Zambia? For the record, the Masubia tribe have nothing to do with the Luyanas/luyi, Lozi and Makololo. Masubiya do not have any shared heritage with these people. Masubia territory of the Zambezi Region remains an unwavering component of the unified and democratic Republic of Namibia.

The history of Western Zambia has nothing to do with the Masubia tribe. The Masubia entered South-Central Africa through the Kafue floodplains, together with the Tonga, Ila, Lenje and Soli. These are the siblings of the Subiya tribe of Zambezi, who collectively are called Bantu-Bo-Tatwe, (tatwe being a common word used for the integer 3) among these tribes according to Gurthie (1948), and many other scholars. The Bantu-Bo-Tatwe are the earliest Bantu settlers of the modern state Republic of Zambia, not Professor Lilemba’s darlings, the Luyana, Lozi and Makololo. Professor Makala Lilemba’s evidence at the Namibian High Court contradicts his acknowledgement of the international treaties that he enumerates: The Anglo-German Treaty, and Resolution AHG/Res. 16 (1). If Professor Makala Lilemba knowingly submitted evidence to the Namibian High Court, fully aware of the above treaty and resolution of the OAU, then he is liable to an offence of perjury. The lawyers for the State in the Caprivi high treason case should revisit Professor Makala Lilemba’s evidence at the Namibian High Court and charge him for perjury because in his article, he demonstrates full understanding of the boundaries of modern states, including the Republic of Namibia, yet he misled the Namibian High Court that according to his research, the Zambezi Region was not part of Namibia.

Lastly, the Maritz (1996) study simply buttressed the Chief Moraliswani II versus Chief Mamili verdict. It does not provide any historical insights that Professor Lilemba seems excited about. With respect to the Mafwe tribe, there is no literature that exists before 1909 regarding this specific group of people. Either before 1909,they were relatively unknown, or they had not come into existence. There is nowhere in the writings of the early European travellers, missionaries and trophy hunters where reference is made to the Mafwe tribe. There is only some emerging literature which is associated with scholars of either colonial Germany or the minority former South African colonial regime, and of course the parochial Professor Makala Lilemba. Maritz (1996)’s study findings are partially admissible, but qualify for review.

2022-09-09  Staff Reporter

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