NKOYAS, NKOYAS and more on NKOYAS: Their origins, population, areas of settlement, Lozi nationality and Zambian politics around them

24 January 2019
Author  Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
His Majesty, The Litunga, King of Barotseland in a Royal Procession (Ku Tamboka) backed by the si Nkoya Royal Band. Only the Nkoya Royal Band can undertake this particular Royal procession.


Due to popular public demand, we have decided to revisit the topic of the Nkoya people of Barotseland. Such questions as, ‘are Nkoyas Lozi,’ or ‘are they the majority tribe’ and ‘were they the first to arrive in Barotseland’ will be answered with references from authentic and recorded history.

Further, the topic about whether they are subjugated by the Lozi and, therefore, are against Barotseland self-determination and all the related current politics about the Nkoya people will be tackled in greater detail too.


The subject of the Nkoya relationship with the rest of Barotseland has been in the public domain for some time now, and because of the misinformation that is carried on about it by those who deliberately wish to use it as a tool to divide and rule Barotseland, we will feature an extensive and comprehensive paper by Namushi Nyambe, which was officially produced as a consultative report for the government of the Republic of Zambia.

Nyambe Namushi was then serving as Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) Induna Yutanga, in charge of the Security at Naliele Kuta, and also serving as Acting Imangambwa, the Second in command to the Senior Chief at the District Kuta of Kaoma, which is at the centre of the Intransigence of the Nkoya of Mwene Mutondo.

This paper, in our opinion, is one single most contextualized writing on this matter, as it features not only the historical genesis of the problem, with references to correspondence between the Litunga of Barotseland and the Zambian presidency, but also outlines the efforts made by the BRE to have this matter amicably resolved to date.

We first published it in February of 2015 under the title; ‘Scramble for Barotseland: The Intransigence of the Nkoya of Mwene Mutondo.’ The original paper, however, was simply titled ‘The Intransigence of the Nkoya of Mwene Mutondo’ and was written in 2014.

We wish, therefore, to thank Hon. Nyambe Namushi most sincerely for his efforts in putting this paper together and for permitting us to reproduce it entirely, save for the slight change in the title.

It is our hope that the public will use this material as an objective reference manual vis –a- vis the Nkoya subject matter, and be better informed about it rather than peddling misinformation and innuendo!

It is a lengthy paper, but any reader will appreciate that they read it all to the end, and will never fall prey to gross misinformation peddled on this subject ever again!

On other platforms, we may segment it section by section for easier publication.


Original Paper by Nyambe Namushi, Induna Yutanga (Acting Imangambwa), Barotse Royal Establishment, Naliele District Kuta, Kaoma - 2014


Imutakwandu (Late King) Litunga Ilute Yea 1V did not economise in language when he made the following frank clarification to the late President of Zambia Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba in a bold letter dated 1st February 1994:-

“Mr President if the Nkoya chiefs Mwene Mutondo and Mwene Kahare are not prepared to adhere to the customary law jurisdiction of Barotseland, then they should go elsewhere away from Barotseland where they can exercise their newfound jurisdiction”.

He continued; “the important thing to note is that Barotseland is a Kingdom even as of now and that should explain to you why the Chiefs Act Cap 479 (now Cap. 287) of the Laws of Zambia recognises the customary law jurisdiction of the Litunga throughout Barotseland; notwithstanding the fact that there are several tribes who are not strictly Lozi. In a kingdom, one cannot find a chief who was independent and separate from the king because such a situation is untenable. The chiefs in Barotseland unlike elsewhere in Zambia are installed by us and they hold office by strictly following our tradition and custom”.

This statement underscored the traditional set up of governance in Barotseland. It also throws light into the official policy governing the management of affairs and relationship of the elaborate but clear line of command in the kingdom of Barotseland; which has survived political, legal, economic harassment and marginalisation by the colonial powers and the Zambian administrations from the first President Kenneth Kaunda to the current President Michael Sata.


The history of the Nkoya speaking people in Barotseland is somewhat convoluted. This is because there is no authoritative written history about them and that they were in several groups entering Barotseland at different periods. The written documentaries which have surfaced recently contain narratives of historical accounts from doubtful sources. However, the migration of the most notable groups that migrated into Barotseland namely: - the Lushange (Mutondo), the Mashasha (Kahare) and the Lukolwe (Kabangu) is well known. These people were previously called “Mbweras” before they assumed their now famous name Nkoya; which is said to have derived from the siluyana name “Ñoya”.

The Nkoyas themselves have made wild and uncoordinated rumbling claims relying on myths and fables about their origins. However, what is not disputed is the fact that they came into Barotseland after the Humbu war which resulted in their expulsion from Kola. They were expelled because of their insubordination in that they did not adhere to the circumcision practices which the Nkoya-Lushange had abandoned. The Humbus, a Lunda sub-group, were the chief whip that ensured that all those within the kingdom of Mwatayamvu, adhered to the law on circumcision of all male children. That is how cousinship (simbuye) between the Nkoyas and Lundas developed, hence today their joking relationship.

Their expulsion saw them trek into Angola where they failed again to live side by side with the Luvale at Luena. They came to Barotseland to seek refuge during the reign of King Mwananyanda Liwale the 10th King. Upon arrival in Barotseland, they were welcomed and resettled accordingly. One group settled in Makoma area in Kalabo district under the leadership of area chief Lioko. Another group remained at Lukona, also in Kalabo district, under the leadership of area chief Katusi. These two groups are still found in Kalabo district today. The Lushange and Lukolwe groups led by Kayambila, Kabonge and later Manenga preferred to settle in the eastern forests between the Makwangwa and the Kafue River (which the Luyana called Lwenge River). This area appealed to their appetite for hunting because they were great hunters. Prince Maimbolwa, who became King Mulambwa, was assigned to resettle these people by his elder brother King Mwananyanda Liwale. They joined the Mashasha who have distinct origins led by Mwene Kahare, who are recorded to have arrived earlier after their flight from Kaonde land. The Mashasha and the Lushange are two clans which borrowed the title Mwene from the Mbunda to identify their leaders, while the Nkoya-Lukolwe of Kabangu - Dongwe area does not use the title.

King Mulambwa was enthroned to succeed his brother King Mwananyanda in 1812. Mulambwa was famous for his anti-slavery stance against the Arab slave traders; hence he was nicknamed Mulambwa which means (mu ule ambwa) “buy dogs”. Mulambwa reigned until 1830 just before the invasion of Barotseland by the Makololo from the south in 1835. King Mulambwa is credited for welcoming the Mbunda and related peoples from Angola after the arrival of the Nkoyas. It was during Mulambwa’s reign as King of Barotseland that the Nkoya-Lushange installed their first Mwene Mutondo named “Shinkisha Mate Lushiku” who, on assuming the title said the following “ami Mutondo mwana Manenga”. He is the first leader to assume the title “Mutondo”.

The Mashasha of Kahare claim to originate from Sioka Nalinanga, whom they corruptly refer to as “Shihoka”. Sioka is a Luyana ancestor who settled in Lukulu and Mongu areas. Archival records reveal that “Kahare the first chief of the Bamashasha is said to have been the younger brother or nephew of Shihoka and came with him to Barotseland”.. Sioka’s mother Nalinanga was a sister to Mwambwa the ancestor and originator of the Luyana royal dynasty. Sioka had stolen Mwambwa’s royal drum called “mutango” in an apparent claim that he should also be accorded royalty status. He escaped to Mwito in present-day Lukulu district where Isimwaa, his cousin, retrieved the drum. Prior to that incident, Sioka was raided by Mwanambinyi, his nephew, who looted his cattle and drove them south to Imatongo in present-day Senanga. A dejected Sioka drifted north to Dongwe then to Kabompo where he died. It is in Kabompo where he must have integrated with the Mashasha group and became the ancestor and originator of their leadership.

During the Makololo occupation of Barotseland from 1835 to 1865, the various tribal and ethnic people in Barotseland were disorganised and displaced because their leaders had fled into exile at Lukwakwa in present-day Kabompo district. This is where the Lozi government in exile was domiciled. The Nkoyas, in particular, were scattered and some of them had fled to Kaonde land. The Nkoya leader, Mutondo the 2nd, Shiyengi, had been captured by the Makololo together with Prince Lutangu, King Mulambwa’s son, (later called Sipopa). These two with the aid of agents from Lukwakwa led by Njekwa managed to escape in 1859 from the Makololo and joined their kith and kin at Lukwakwa in 1863. In 1865 the Makololo were effectively removed from the surface of the earth by the Luyana. Sipopa who became the King of Barotseland with Njekwa as his Ngambela had the task of restoring and reconstructing the Barotse Kingdom. Shiyengi was ordered by Sipopa to return to his people the Nkoya – Lushange but he was disowned and thus he died a dejected man.

After Mutondo Shiyengi’s death, there was a serious vacuum in the leadership of the Nkoya-Lushange. Thus Sipopa had to find a successor and brought in Munangisha from Katusi in Lukona to become Mwene Mutondo. Munangisha at first declined in preference for his nephew Kashunkami who became Mutondo the third. Later Munangisha became jealous of Kashunkami. He plotted Kashunkami’s removal and Munangisha was installed Mwene Mutondo the fourth.

In 1892 the King of Barotseland Lubosi Lewanika received very disturbing reports about the suffering of the Nkoyas who had fled to Kaonde land during the Makololo occupation of Barotseland. One Mwene Kahare had been killed and skinned by the Nyamwezi, a predatory tribe from East Africa. The Kaondes were also reported to be co-operating with the Arabs to catch and sell Nkoyas into slavery. The Nkoya sought protection and asked the King to rescue them. Thus a battalion called ‘likolo la Kabeti’ under the command of Mukulwakashiko was sent to rescue the Nkoyas at Munte which is today known as katumbwe ka musongolwa.

After the rescue operation in which many Lozis and Mbundas lost their lives, the Nkoyas were once again resettled with a view to giving them further protection. Thus Mutondo was moved from Kalimbata in Kalumwange area along the Lalafuta River to Shikombwe. This is where Munangisha, the fourth Mutondo established his capital which he named Lukena meaning blessed in siluyana and in remembrance of the other settlement in Kalabo which is Chief Lioko’s capital at Makoma.

To safeguard the Nkoyas from further Kaonde raids, King Lewanika created the boundary between the Kaonde and Bulozi at Lalafuta River. In 1895 he posted Kafunya a Mbunda warrior and hero brother of Mwene Chiyengele, who fought in the Kaonde war, at Lalafuta and became the first Mwene Kasimba. The eastern border was allocated to Libinga and Kakumba to give further protection to Mwene Kahare as well. Kahare was resettled at Litoya the ruins of Mukelabai Simulyañumba who had decided to return to his original home in Senanga district. He named his village “Njonjolo”. Njonjolo is the name of the first Nalikwanda built for King Mulambwa by the Nkoyas of Katusi at Lukona!

In 1889, during the last raid on the Ila (Mashukulumbwe) at Bwengwa, Lewanika had noticed an active and brave young warrior by the name of Shamamano. On enquiry, he found out that Shamamano belonged to the Kahare dynasty. The King, therefore, decided to reinstate the Kahare chieftaincy which had gone into limbo due to lack of quality leaders. At first, Kabwata was installed before Shamamano who is the grandfather of the present Mwene Kahare, Bollen Munguya.


We have stated elsewhere in this paper that the Nkoya speaking people came to Barotseland as refugees to seek protection after their flight from the Humbus and against the marauding Kaondes who were selling them into slavery. They were given land on which to settle and even allowed to establish their chieftaincy which they did not have when they entered Barotseland. The chieftaincy positions were not allowed to be independent of the King but were installed and functioned in accordance with the Lozi tradition and customary law. Therefore, on a few occasions, the Nkoya had to seek intervention from the Litunga in order to resolve wrangles surrounding successions. For instance, King Sipopa resurrected the Mutondoship after the demise of Mutondo Shiyengi and Lewanika resurrected the Kahareship when he appointed Kabwata in 1889. Below we give a list of occasions which prompted interventions. In all cases, it was for the good of the people that such action had had to be taken in response to their complaints and not otherwise:-

1. Mutondo II – Shiyengi - During the Makololo invasion of Barotseland, Mutondo Shiyengi had escaped from Sekeletu together with Sipopa and joined the Lozi government in exile at Lukwakwa. In 1867 King Sipopa revived the Mutondoship and ordered the Nkoya to respect Shiyengi as their leader upon his return. Shiyengi, however, died a dejected leader.

2. Mutondo IV – Munangisha - After Shiyengi’s death King Sipopa could have abolished the Mutondoship if he had wanted at the time when the chieftaincy went into limbo due to lack of suitable and willing leadership. Instead, he despatched Munangisha from Lukona to take over the throne. Munangisha had at first declined in preference to game hunting; hence chance was given to his nephew Kashunkami who became Mutondo III.

3. Mutondo V – Mushunga – Mutondo Mushunga was removed because of the people’s dislike for their new chief. They sent their appeal to Lewanika who removed Mushunga and installed popular Wahila who became Mutondo VI.

4. Mutondo VII – Kanyinka – The appointment of Kanyinka as Mwene Mutondo by the District Commissioner was irregular. Thus the Nkoyas protested to Lewanika. Lewanika nullified this appointment and confirmed their choice Mushonto as Mwene Mutondo VIII.

5. Mushonto VIII – was succeeded by Kanyinchya who became Mwene Mutondo IX

6. Mutondo X – Muchaila succeeded his father Kanyinchya – Muchaila was clearly insubordinate and rebellious. The Litunga allowed freedom of expression and opinion provided that his government did not suffer. Muchaila was removed because he went against this dictum. After his removal in 1948 by statutory order of the Governor of Northern Rhodesia, he was restricted in Kalabo for five years. He spent another five years in Lealui before he returned to Mankoya as a reformed man. He was succeeded by Mutondo Kalapukila in 1949. Muchaila became Mwene Mutondo again in 1980 after the death of Kalapukila.

7. As regards the Kahare chieftaincy, it had also gone into limbo through no fault of the people. King Lewanika revived it by appointing Kabwata in 1889 and later Shamamano in 1898.

8. Kahare VI – the short-lived deposition of Timuna who was Kahare the sixth was based on reports of the chief’s misdeeds and unfitness by his people. After investigations, he was found not wanting, hence he was reinstated.


The Nkoyas have contested the legality and relevance of the royal establishment (BRE) at Naliele as the headquarters for the senior chief for Kaoma district (now Kaoma, Luampa and Nkeyema). We shall outline below the structure of the Barotse traditional monarchical administration. As a prelude, we shall give a brief narration of the reasons which led to the establishment of Naliele in 1937.

The Nkoyas, unlike other tribes in Barotseland, were a disorganised and uncivilized society because they were unaccustomed to administration and education. They were fundamentally disunited, fragmented, disconnected and lacking political organisation and judicial structure. Basically, they were full of intrigue, unpredictable and barbaric. A civilised society can function well only when there is order. This required the administration of authority and good governance. The alternative is chaos and anarchy. The Naliele Kuta, therefore, was established to provide proper organisation of good governance, good order, education, proper judiciary and public administration; and above all to set the Nkoya free from themselves!

This called for the arm of government to be brought nearer.

In the early 1930s, the colonial administration established various administration posts called British Overseas Military Administration, (acronym BOMA) at Mongu, Senanga, Kalabo, Mankoya and Sesheke. In these areas, there were already princes or princesses who were running the affairs of the Barotse Native Government (BNG), except for Mankoya. The traditional affairs of Mankoya district were administered from Lealui. Therefore to complete the exercise, the Governor of Northern Rhodesia in consultation with the Litunga and the Resident Commissioner proposed the establishment of a similar position of a resident prince to provide leadership and uniformity in administration, more so that the Barotse Native Government was introducing the Barotse Native Treasury. A meeting was called which was addressed by the Governor in which all the area chiefs from Mankoya district were invited. Mwene Mutondo Kanyincha did not attend but he did send a representative. The Governor outlined the functions of the native treasury to be established which was an arm of the Barotse Native Government and how it would be applied. He explained the requirement to open a district Kuta in the district to dispense law and order and provide effective public administration as was the case with other districts.

All the area chiefs welcomed the new arrangement as it would reduce the travel to Mongu/Lealui for their allowances and other duties; these would now be performed locally. In 1937 the Naliele royal establishment was opened and Mwanawina was appointed to be the new senior chief for Mankoya district. The Naliele Kuta got off to a good start. Mwanawina coordinated the affairs of the district very well, and Mutondo and Kahare were each given two positions on the Kuta. Thus the administration of the Barotse Native Government was based at Naliele in line with other BNG regional posts at Nalolo for Senanga, Libonda for Kalabo, and Mwandi for Sesheke.

In 1947, Mwene Mutondo Mwita Muchaila, a young former district messenger who had succeeded his father, Kanyincha in 1944, rebelled against Mwanawina. Muchaila was summoned to Lealui and in view of his insubordinate attitude, the Kuta recommended for disciplinary action. The Litunga accepted this advice and was supported by the Resident Commissioner and Government of Northern Rhodesia. By order of the Governor, Sir Gilbert M Rennie, dated 31st March 1948 Mwene Mutondo Mwita Muchaila, Mampila Timuna and Mayunka were ordered to leave the district within 30 days. Muchaila and his arch supporters were removed and sent into restriction to Kalabo for five years. He spent another five years of rehabilitation in Lealui before he was allowed to return to Mankoya in 1958. During the period of his restriction, Mutondo Muchaila was treated well and he was even paid his Indunaship salary by the Barotse National Government. The reformed Muchaila was reinstated as Mwene Mutondo after the death of Mwene Mutondo Kalapukila in 1980. The disciplinary action taken against Muchaila was because of insubordination and undermining the authority of Senior chief Mwanawina.


Barotseland is divided into seven major regions which are headed by a member of royal family except for Mongu-Lealui region as follows:- Mongu-Lealui – Induna Inete (a commoner- current holder Mr. Akapelwa Silumbu); Senanga - The Litunga-la-Mboela, (current holder: Princess Mukwae Mbuyu Imwiko); Kalabo – The Mboanjikana, (current holder: Princess Mukwae Kandundu Yeta); Sesheke – Mulena Inyambo, (current holder:- Prince Lubasi Yeta); Kaoma – Mulena Amukena II, (current holder:- Prince Makweti Isiteketo Lewanika); Lukulu – Prince Anañanga Imwiko; Shangombo – Prince Meebelo Mutukwa. This level of leadership reports to His Majesty the Litunga through the Siikalo Kuta led by the Ngambela of Barotseland.

Under these regales, they are followed by area chiefs called in Lozi ‘Silalo Indunas’. The majority of them are commoners but wield immense powers of public and judicial administration. It is this tier of administration in which the four mwenes fall; namely Mwenes Mutondo and Kahare (Nkoya) and Mwenes Chiyengele and Kandala (Mbunda). The last tier is that of village headmen and silalanda heads called ‘bo lyaminzi’.

There are more area chiefs in Barotseland than any other province in Zambia. All the tribes in Barotseland have a recognised area chief/Induna by Lealui. The Nkoyas, for instance, have been allowed to maintain their leadership in Lukulu, Kalabo, Kaoma and Sesheke as follows:-

KALABO DISTRICT: chiefs Lioko and Katusi;

KAOMA DISTRICT: Mwene Mutondo and Mwene Kahare;

LUKULU DISTRICT: chief Kabangu;

SESHEKE DISTRICT: chief Mungabwa.

In reference to Kaoma district, there are thirteen area chiefs or Silalo Indunas taking into account the various tribal groups which inhabit the district in order to dispense public administration not based on tribal affiliation.

These are:

1. chief Mwanambuyu (Kwangwa) for Lukute Silalo;

2. chief Mwene Kasimba (Mbunda) for Lalafuta Silalo;

3. chief Mufaya (Totela) for Mayukwayukwa Silalo;

4. chief Kabilamwandi (Luyana) for Luambuwa Silalo;

5. chief Libinga (Subiya) for Mulamatila Silalo;

6. chief Kakumba (Kwangwa) for Shishamba Silalo;

7. chief Mwene Kahare (Nkoya) for Litoya Silalo;

8. chief Afumba (Luyana) for Liyunyi Silalo;

9. chief Mwene Mutondo (Nkoya) for Shikombwe Silalo;

10. chief Siwiwaliondo (Luyana) for Nalifalamba Silalo;

11. chief Mwanatete (Nkoya) for Kahumbu Silalo;

12. chief Kasabi (Luvale) for Kabaa Silalo and

13. chief Kanguya (Luvale) for Mulwa Silalo.

The district (Kaoma) has a permanent representation by Induna Mbongwana at Lealui and had several representatives on the Katengo, the de-facto parliament for Barotseland.

During the period approaching the independence of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland, the Barotse Native Government was reformed. After the reforms which excluded chiefs from participating in the National Council, each district was represented equally on the Katengo (Parliament) by five elected Councillors and nominated councillors. Mankoya (Kaoma) district had the following representatives: Mr Kenneth Mbandu Kalyangu (Mbunda) Mr.Kashiwa Mutaima (Nkoya), Mr.Jevans Kapatiso (Luvale/Luchazi), Mr Simon Liyoka (Nkoya) and Mr Misheck Mutti (Mbunda).

Mr Simon Liyoka was appointed to Sir Mwanawina’s cabinet and held the portfolio of Minister for Transport and Communications.

Among the nominated councillors were; Induna Imangambwa Mr. Munalula, Mwanamulena Imasiku, Induna Kabilamwandi from Naliele Palace and Mwanashihemi Ngwelela (Mutondo), Mwanashihemi Muleka (Kahare) and Mr. Kankolomwena represented the Nkoya community.


The conflict between the English term “chief” and the Lozi word “Induna” appears to have brought some confusion in the application of the terms in relation to the meanings of the two words. We must explain here that the term chief does not denote royalty but leadership.

The Roget’s Thesaurus gives the following synonyms for chief: leader, ruler, head, a person in command, boss, captain, a person in charge. From these synonyms, it can be seen that there is no royalty connection.

An Induna, on the other hand, is also described as a leader or ruler of a community. Thus, all the area chiefs are in effect indunas who receive high respect in recognition of their status in society. An Induna in the Barotse structure is a highly respected leader and ruler assigned to lead a community. Therefore the terms Induna and chief are interchangeable and mean one and the same.

As a kingdom, Barotseland has no chiefdoms in the real sense.

The correct definition of a silalo is “county”. Silalo Indunas do not preside over chiefdoms, but counties and are supervised by a senior chief (Mulena) at the district level.

Tribal chiefs at Silalo Induna level are also “Indunas” and are installed by strictly following their family lineage just as is the case with regales. Notwithstanding this arrangement, they have authority to preside over the customary and traditional affairs in their areas by following the Barotse customary and traditional law.


Kaoma region has been a haven of peace since the Nkoyas’ arrival in Barotseland in the mid-1700s. As mentioned earlier above, the first problems in the management of Mankoya district rose in mid-1940s resulting in the disciplinary action taken against Mwene Mutondo Mwita Muchaila in 1948.

Nkoyas are born intriguers; hence, chances of continued peace were disrupted again in the 1980s after the re-installation of Mwene Mutondo Mwita Muchaila.

In an address to the nation entitled “I wish to inform the Nation”, delivered on 25th August 1969, President Kenneth Kaunda stated the following policy statement concerning chieftainship in Barotseland among other anti-Barotse statements:

“I know that certain chiefs in Western Province have been performing the functions of chiefs without government recognition. I wish to announce that I am making investigations into the possibility of having more chiefs in that province.............All I am saying is that where my investigations reveal quite clearly that a chief has been acting as chief but has been deliberately denied recognition such as Chief Mwene Mutondo in Mankoya, I would be prepared to give them recognition”.

This was the turning point in the sour relationship between the Barotse Royal Establishment and the Nkoyas of Kaoma supported by the Government.

Kaunda recognised Muchaila, vide Statutory Instrument No. 113 of 1981, without adhering to the provisions of the chiefs’ act which require recognition by the Litunga and council first before presidential recognition.

As a result of this anomaly, there were no consultations between the Litunga and Government (GRZ), with the result that this statutory instrument wrongly included Lalafuta and Luambuwa in the areas of jurisdiction for Mutondo. No protest is known to have been lodged by the Barotse Royal Establishment.

Clearly, the recognition of Mutondo by President Kaunda was preconceived and in tandem with his speech mentioned above. It was done outside the provisions of section 3(2)b of the Chiefs’ Act which requires that for a chief to be recognised as a chief that chief must, first of all, receive the blessing of His Majesty the Litunga of Barotseland.

Therefore we hold that Kaunda acted outside the provisions of the law.

What followed was the publication of the Village Register for Western Province in 1985 which divided Kaoma district between chiefs Mutondo and Kahare.

This publication listed all the (thirteen) area chiefs (of Kaoma District) under either Mwene Mutondo or Mwene Kahare, completely ignoring the structure of the Barotse Royal Establishment and the existence of the Senior Chief for the district as follows:-

MWENE MUTONDO - NKOYA: Libinga (Subiya) for Mulamatila area, Shikemi (Nkoya) for Shikombwe, Mwanambuyu (Kwangwa) for Lukute, Kabilamwandi (Luyana) for Luambuwa, Mwanatete (Nkoya) for Kahumbu, Mwene Kasimba (Mbunda) for Lalafuta, Kasabia (Luvale) for Kaaba and Mufaya (Totela) for Mayukwayukwa area.

MWENE KAHARE – NKOYA: Kakumba (Kwangwa) for Shishamba area, Muleka (Nkoya) for Litoya, Iluya – Afumba (Luyana) for Liyunyi, Chilanda – Siwiwaliondo (Luyana) for Nalifalamba and Kanguya (Luvale) for Mulwa area.

See the Table below:







Area chief Area Area chief


Shikemi Litoya Muleka


Libinga Liyunyi (Iluya) Afumba


Mwanambuyu Nalifalamb (Chilanda) Siwiwaliondo


Kabilamwandi Shishamba Kakumba


Mwanatete Mulwa Kanguya


Mwene Kasimba    






The General List of Chiefs published in 1978 and used by the Department of National Registration to determine and verify area chiefs, produced the following record, which is at variance with the Village Register of 1985, thus, throwing more confusion.

1. CHIEF LITIA – Naliele – Imangambwa

2. CHIEF KAHARE – Litoya:

Area: Lukute, Area Chief: Mwanambuyu

Area: Kaaba, Area Chief: Kasabi

Area: Mwito, Area Chief: Mayankwa (Lukulu!)

Area: Luambuwa, Area Chief: Kabilamwandi

Area: Kahumbu, Area Chief: Mwanatete

Area: Mulamatila, Area Chief: Libinga

Area: Shishamba, Area Chief: Kakumba

Area: Luampa, Area Chief: Mululumi

Area: Mulwa, Area Chief: Kanguya

Area: Liyunyi, Area Chief: Iluya (Afumba)

3. CHIEF MUTONDO – Lukena-Shikombwe

Area: Luambuwa, Area Chief: Kabilamwandi

Area: Lalafuta, Area Chief: Mwene Kasimba

See the Table below:


1. Chief Litia

– Naliele –



2. Chief Kahare

– Litoya

Chief Mutondo –

Lukena - Shikombwe
Area Area Chief Area Area Chief
Lukute Mwanambuyu Luambuwa Kabilamwandi
Kaaba Kasabi Lalafuta Mwene Kasimba
Mwito Mayankwa (Lukulu!)    
Luambuwa Kabilamwandi    
Kahumbu Mwanatete    
Mulamatila Libinga    
Shishamba Kakumba    
Luampa Mululumi    
Mulwa Kanguya    
Liyunyi Iluya (Afumba)    


What boggles the mind is that even the geographical distribution of the areas listed under Kahare militates against reason as shown on the area chiefs’ map for Mankoya district produced by the District Commissioner in 1958. This map currently serves as the official recognised government document listing area chiefs and their boundaries.

The two Government publications mentioned above have not been revised despite our (BRE) protests pointing out the anomalies contained therein.

For example, the General List of Chiefs contains some non-areas such as Luampa under Mululumi and an area located in Lukulu district – Mwito for Chief Mayankwa, which was also listed under Mwene Kahare!

The government of Zambia has not shown either political or administrative will to make the corrections by publishing revised editions.


Mr Edward Mbombola Moyo became Mwene Mutondo in 1992. Since his accession to the throne, this district has seen the worst of intransigence by the Nkoya speaking people.

He was gazetted as chief by President Frederick Chiluba in 1993, vide statutory instrument No.56 of 1993.

Mutondo Mbombola Moyo has created the Nkoya royal council and the Kazanga cultural society. Both institutions have the professional mission to destabilise peace and promotion of Nkoya tribal hegemony and outright rebellion against the Barotse Royal Establishment.

He has attempted to create illegal parallel indunaships or what he terms “sub-chiefs”, in various sub-districts (lilalo) in total defiance of the 1958 area chiefs’ map which is the official government document for chiefs’ boundaries, and the statutory instrument captioned above stating his authorised areas of jurisdiction.

Concerning the procedures of installation of chiefs, it was clarified in an affidavit sworn by the Ngambela of Barotseland Mr Griffiths Musialike Mukande. He stated that, following the death of the holder of Mwene Mutondo, Mr Dominic Chipimpi in 1992, His Majesty Imutakwandu Litunga Ilute Yeta IV directed the Ngambela, and the KUTA to find a successor from the family of the deceased Mwene Mutondo in accordance with the customary and traditional practices of Barotseland.

Thereafter consultations with the family members of the late Mwene Mutondo were made. The Ngambela and the Kuta were approached by elders of the late Mwene Mutondo in October 1992 who presented Mr Edward Mbombola Moyo as the most suitable and acceptable person in the family to be installed. The Kuta and His Majesty the Litunga accepted the nomination and in accordance with the traditions and customs of Barotseland, the Kuta directed the Ngambela to carry out the initiation rites in order to prepare the candidate for formal installation and eventual recognition.

The initiation rites were by tradition carried out in two stages. The first initial rites are usually conducted after the prospective chief is introduced to the KUTA and are intended to put him under probation for about three months after which the Ngambela would then conduct the final traditional rites and subject to good behaviour and satisfactory conduct, the prospective chief would then be presented to His Majesty the Litunga.

After the Litunga’s recognition, the candidate is then formally installed, thereafter; it is the duty of the Ngambela to submit the name to the Government for recognition by the President in accordance with the provisions of section 3(2) b of the Chiefs’ Act of the Laws of Zambia.

The procedures outlined above were followed. As stated earlier, Mr Edward Mbombola Moyo was presented to the Kuta by elders of his family who were instructed to take him back to Lealui at the end of February 1993 to enable him to complete the second stage of the initiation rites. Contrary to instructions, Mr Edward Mbombola Moyo failed or refused to return to Lealui, thus was the beginning of the insubordination by Mwene Mutondo supported by the Government who meddled in the traditional and customary practices of Barotseland.

Soon thereafter the new uninstalled Mwene Mutondo began to issue press statements demanding the removal of the late Senior Chief Litia from Kaoma district and the creation of Kafue province by detaching Kaoma district from Barotseland. Furthermore, reports were received that jointly with the late Mwene Kahare Timuna; they would use violence and cause bloodshed in Kaoma to achieve their tribally soiled objectives.

A barrage of adverse and violence threatening press reports prompted the Barotse Royal Establishment to summon both Mr Edward Mbombola Moyo and the late Mwene Kahare Timuna to Lealui for discussions with the KUTA and His Majesty the Litunga on their demands but they both declined.

In an apparent show of disloyalty and contempt of the Kuta and the Litunga, Mr Mbombola Moyo fraudulently presented himself through the then Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Mr Mulubisha (a Nkoya), to the Government to recognize him as Mwene Mutondo.

Eventually, the government of Zambia by acquiescence, succumbed and gave him recognition, vide Statutory Instrument no. 56 of 1993, by the President of Zambia Mr F.T.J. Chiluba, without consultations with His Majesty the Litunga as required by article 3(2)b of the Chiefs’ Act Cap. 287, of the Laws of Zambia.

On 18th July 1993, following the recognition of Mwene Mutondo by the President, the Mulongwanji was convened by the Ngambela at the request of the KUTA. The Mulongwanji is the highest disciplinary body in Barotseland. It is composed of all the district regales or district chiefs and chieftainesses and chaired by the Ngambela.

According to the customary law of Barotseland, a decision taken by the Mulongwanji is final and irreversible.

At this meeting, it was resolved to dethrone Mwenes Mutondo and Kahare for gross indiscipline, misconduct, insubordination and undermining the authority of Senior Chief Litia and the Barotse Royal Establishment. This resolution was communicated to Government but was frustrated by President Frederick Chiluba who refused to withdraw the recognition of both chiefs.

Instead, the President threatened His Majesty the Litunga Ilute Yeta IV and the Barotse Royal Establishment with stern action.

On 24th December 1994 The Ngambela of Barotseland, Mr Griffith Musialike Mukande, filed an application in the High Court for Zambia to seek judicial review against the recognition of Mr. Edward Mbombola Moyo as Mwene Mutondo on the ground that he was not duly enthroned as he did not receive the blessing of His Majesty the Litunga as demanded by tradition and customary law of Barotseland and the Chiefs’ Act referred to above.

The application also sought to quash the recognition by the President of Zambia on grounds that it was a nullity in law since it did not conform to the provisions of the Chiefs’ Act.

This cause was discontinued for unknown reasons after applying for an injunction to restrain Mr Edward Mbombola Moyo from performing the chiefly functions of Mwene Mutondo. The Barotse Royal Establishment may have decided to discontinue the matter because no Zambian High Court judge appointed by the President can be expected to rule against the wrongful act of the President who has flaunted the law.

Following the failure to conclude this matter in the High Court for Zambia, Mwene Mutondo Mbombola Moyo continued with his campaign to undermine the Barotse Royal Establishment as testified by the following actions by which he created parallel structures in all the lilalos adjacent to Shikombwe Silalo:-

a) LALAFUTA SILALO: He appointed Yuvwenu and Malasa instead of Mwene Kasimba (Mbunda) the legitimate area chief.

b) LUAMBUWA SILALO: He appointed Lumano instead of Chief Kabilamwandi (Luyana) the legitimate area chief.

c) LUKUTE SILALO: He appointed Mangothi instead of Chief Mwanambuyu (Kwangwa) the legitimate area chief.

d) NALIFALAMBA SILALO: He appointed Munyikwa alias Matanda instead of Chief Siwiwaliondo (Luyana) the legitimate area chief.

e) MAYUKWAYUKWA SILALO: He appointed Muyani a Kaonde instead of Chief Mufaya (Totela), the legitimate area chief.

f) MULAMATILA SILALO: He appointed Sintunya as area chief instead of Chief Libinga (Subiya) who is the legitimate leader of the area.

He also appointed Derrick Moyo as sub-chief Mulemena.

g) KABAA SILALO: He attempted to corrupt Chief Kasabi (Luvale) to be answerable to him taking advantage of the boundary conflict between Kasabi and Mwanambuyu (Kwangwa).

In an act of further defiance, irresponsibility and insubordination, in July 2003, the Mwanashihemi for Lukena Mr. D.S.Yowela issued a circular letter replacing silalo indunas in areas claimed to be under the jurisdiction of Mwene Mutondo namely:- Kabilamwandi (Luyana), Mwanambuyu (Kwangwa), Kanguya (Luvale), Mwanatete (Nkoya), Siwiwaliondo (Luyana), Kakumba (Kwangwa), Kasabi (Totela) and Afumba (Luyana).

Upon receipt of this letter, the then District Administrator for Kaoma Mr Ngombo directed the Mwanashihemi to withdraw the letters for the following reasons among others:-

(i) His action was contemptuous since there was still a cause in the High Court for Zambia in which Mwene Mutondo had sued Senior Chief Amukena II.

(ii) There was already a resolution reached between the two Mwanashihemis and the Imangambwa arising from a meeting chaired by the District Administrator that all matters pertaining to land and the Royal Establishments must not be discussed or dealt with until after the disposal of the suit.

(iii) The history and appointments of the silalo indunas affected viz:- Libinga, Kasimba, Mufaya, Kabilamwandi, Mwanambuyu, Kanguya, Mwanatete, Siwiwaliondo, Kakumba, Kasabi and Afumba were well known.

Despite being cautioned by the office of the District Administrator, this behaviour was repeated each time a new District Commissioner is appointed. Hence it was repeated during the tenure of the following District Commissioners:- Messrs Kasempa, Chinyama, Nasilele and Manjolo.


In 1998, a meeting of the Barotse National Council (BNC) was held on 16-18 August to discuss the problems of Kaoma district. This meeting was attended by the Mwanashihemis (senior or chief Councillors) for Mutondo and Kahare.

Among the resolutions reached, under resolution 3(a) rejected the Village Register Book of 1985 concerning the Kaoma district because it was badly edited and unsuitable for use and application by Government. This book ignored the presence of the Senior Chief at Naliele and divided the district between Mwene Mutondo and Mwene Kahare as the only chiefs, with the rest of the area chiefs or Silalo Indunas falling under the two, as has already been shown elsewhere in this paper.

In 1999, the resolutions of the Consultative Meeting of the Indunas of all Districts of the Barotse Royal Establishment held in Lealui on 12th – 14th February 1999 on the Problems of Kaoma District made the following resolutions:-

1. That a meeting of all the ten (10) Chiefs of the Barotse Royal Establishment should be convened as soon as possible to resolve the problems of Kaoma district.

2. That Statutory Instruments No.63 of 1981 and No. 112 of 1996 and Village Register of 1985 should be amended because the meeting felt they were published in bad faith and, therefore, they were repugnant to natural justice.

3. The Naliele Chieftainship should remain.

In January 2010, the Naliele Kuta assembled all the eleven area chiefs in the district accompanied by their senior indunas to Limulunga where their grievances concerning the Nkoya chiefs and the administration of Kaoma district were presented to the Saa-Sikalo Kuta and His Majesty the Litunga.

The meeting lasted over three days and concluded by reiterating the same resolutions that had been made before.

Significant resolutions, however, dealt with the dethronement of Mwene Mutondo and that statutory recognition of all area chiefs in Kaoma and by extension the whole of Barotseland was recommended to government.

The latter resolution was arrived at in order to find a lasting solution to the Kaoma problem by gazetting all the area chiefs in the district so as to counter the Nkoya chiefs who have been selected by the government at the expense of other tribes.

These resolutions were never acted upon by Namuso.

In July 2010, the previously unknown Nkoya-Kaonde Royal Establishment in Kalumwange wrote to the District Commissioner for Kaoma that it was withdrawing the recognition of ‘sub-chief’ Kasimba in Lalafuta area for what was termed to be in the interests of ‘peace, order and good governance’.

This letter was copied to His Majesty the Litunga.

Following this letter, in September 2010, the Mwanashihemi for Mutondo wrote letters revoking the appointments and recognition of area chiefs Mwanambuyu, Mwanatete, Libinga, Mwene Kasimba, Mufaya and Kabilamwandi.

These letters were ignored, though the government of Zambia took no action against these rebellious activities.

Namuso were informed as well, but as usual, no action was taken against the so-called Nkoya-Kaonde Royal Establishment supported by Mutondo.


In the year 2000, Mr Edward Mbombola Moyo, suing as Chief Mutondo, filed a claim against Senior Chief Amukena II and the Attorney-General, seeking to remove him from Kaoma district as senior chief and that he, Mutondo, was the legitimate heir to the senior chieftainship of Kaoma district.

The matter has not passed beyond the interlocutory stage since the action was commenced.

A summary of his statement of claim states the following main claims among many others:-

(a) That Senior Chief Amukena was and has always been the Administrator of the Naliele Native Authority since its inception in or about 1937, and that Senior Chief Amukena was erroneously appointed by the Litunga.

(b) That upon the establishment of Kaoma District Council, Senior Chief Amukena should have ceased to perform the functions of an administrator of Naliele Native Authority instead continuing as chief of the Lozi people.

(c) That the appointment of a senior chief based at Naliele is wrongful, null and void, and contrary to the provisions of the Chiefs’ Act.

(d) That Naliele royal village is in chief Mutondo’s area of jurisdiction and control.

Furthermore, Mwene Mutondo claims to have jurisdiction and control of the following areas:- Lukena, Shikombwe, Luambuwa, Mulamatila, Kaaba, Mayukwayukwa, Lalafuta, and Kahumbu.

This lawsuit is still pending in the High Court for Zambia awaiting trial, but we hope it will now finally take off as it is scheduled to take place from 6th to 10th October 2014 before Mrs Justice M Mungomba.


As though there is no case before the High Court of Zambia, in his desperation, Mutondo has continued to defy law and order by fomenting further acts of destabilisation.

On Saturday 16th June 2012, over thirty (30) Nkoya tribesmen descended on Mr Mupala Chipango who is Induna Mooto of Naliele Kuta at his home in Sangenjo area.

Sangenjo is an area located in area Chief Siwiwaliondo’s Nalifalamba Silalo.

The group was led by a self-styled chief Matanda, alias Innocent Munyikwa Lushato. The tribesmen had travelled some 12 kilometres away from Katunda. The purpose of their attack was to evict Induna Mooto and burn his homestead. They alleged that they had been instructed by Mwene Mutondo and Mwene Kahare with firm support from the Zambian President Mr Michael Sata.

At 13.00, the Naliele Kuta received a phone call from Induna Mooto who reported the intruders at his homestead. This report was relayed to the Police and the District Commissioner, who acted promptly and police were dispatched to the area.

Meanwhile, the residents of Sangenjo, who are predominantly Luchazi, Luvale and Lozi speaking organised themselves to defend Induna Mooto. They quickly surrounded the Nkoya militia to prevent them from attacking Induna Mooto until the arrival of the Police. It is reported that there was a scuffle which resulted in Matanda being manhandled as he tried to escape and had his trousers torn to pieces.

The Police collected Matanda and a few others. To our (BRE) surprise the insurgents were delivered back to their homes in Katunda, instead of arresting them, and they were merely ordered to report to the Police the following Monday since it was a weekend.

On Monday 18th June 2012, Induna Mooto and his people went to the police where they found Matanda and many Nkoya speaking people who included Mwitila Shumina (a former Member of Parliament), Kashandula ( then Patriotic Front District Chairman for Kaoma now District Commissioner for Nkeyema) and Greenwell Kakumba (Naliele Ward Councillor).

The District Commissioner, Mr Manjolo, ordered everybody to go to the Council Chamber where discussions were held.

Among those who attended the meeting were senior Government officials, namely the Officer-in-Charge for Kaoma Police, Office of the President Intelligence Officer, and Army Officer of the rank of Captain from Luena Barracks, several government officials.

Induna Malenga was assigned by the Kuta to accompany Induna Mooto.

In his statement, Matanda proudly and with impunity told the meeting that he had been sent by Mwenes Mutondo and Kahare, with the presidential sanction from President Sata, to evict what he terms illegal settlers in Kaoma district. He described these to include all non-Nkoya speaking people.

Arrogantly and rudely, Matanda said that even Senior Chief Amukena II is a squatter and that he must go and leave Nkoya land for Nkoyas.

The Naliele Kuta took action and lodged a formal complaint against Innocent Munyikwa Lushato that he should be arrested and charged accordingly with the following offences:-

(a) Criminal trespass and conduct inimical to public order and peace in Luampa district.

(b) Holding himself as chief, when not a chief, in contravention of section 12 of the Chiefs’ Act Cap 287 of the Laws of Zambia.

The Kuta also recommended to government that Mwene Mutondo and Innocent Munyikwa Lushato, alias chief Matanda, should be considered for indictment for contravening Section 46 of the Penal Code of the Laws of Zambia which states that “Any person who, without lawful authority, carries on, or makes preparation for carrying on, or aids in or advises the carrying on of, or preparation for, any war or warlike undertaking with, for, by, or against any chief , or with, for, by, or against any tribal group, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life on conviction”.

In relation to the second option, the Naliele Kuta had received intimation from the Kaoma Police that a directive from the Director of Public Prosecutions has been communicated to the effect that there must be an attempt to reconcile the two because the dispute is purported to be embroiled in some tribally motivated political connotations.

In the event that reconciliation is not achieved, the Police should prefer charges of criminal trespass against Lushato and prosecute him accordingly.

The letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions also stated that land in Kaoma district belongs to Mwene Mutondo but that he was given the land by King Lewanika.

Here lie the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of facts concerning the issue of customary land administration in Kaoma district as interpreted by the Government!

This is at variance with the policy on land administration in Barotseland, which states that all land in the province is under the custodianship of the Litunga.

Area chiefs are agents of the Litunga in the management and alienation of land. Therefore Mutondo does not own land per se, and does not have power over land above the district chief, but administers land through the district chief on behalf of the Litunga and Council who in turn holds it in trust for the people of Barotseland.

The view expressed by the DPP is not correct and does not find support from historical facts and the traditional and customary laws of Barotseland.


The Naliele Kuta stumbled on some minutes of the Nkoya royal council revealing a plot to eliminate certain personalities. Upon discovery of this document, the Kuta on Wednesday the 21st of May 2014 summoned the heads of security departments and the District Commissioners for Kaoma and Luampa.

The purpose of the meeting was to bring to their attention security concerns orchestrated by the so-called Nkoya Royal Council; arising from minutes of a meeting held at Lukena village. The minutes which are self-explanatory reveal serious strategies aimed at assassinating politicians, area chiefs and Barotse human rights activists loosely identified as Linyungandambo.

More striking and mind-boggling is the purported co-operation between the Office of the President and the Nkoya royal council; where the latter had requested the Office of the President to supply them with assault weapons (pistols).

They had gone to the extent of identifying certain individuals as their targets, namely Hon. Josephine Limata member of Parliament for Luampa, area Chief Mwanatete for Kahumbu, area Chief Libinga for Mulamatila, area Chief Mufaya for Mayukwayukwa, area Chief Mwene Kasimba for Lalafuta, Crispin Shumina a former diplomat and Member of Parliament for Mangango, and Collins Lifasi Kashweka.

This co-operation between the Office of the President and the Nkoya royal council has not been denied by the authorities in Government circles.

This latest discovery of the unholy alliance revealed through the minutes of the Nkoya royal council has strengthened our (BRE) suspicion that the Government of Zambia is behind the problems of Kaoma district by promoting Nkoya tribal insurgency, hegemony and supremacy.


The Naliele district Kuta again stumbled on correspondence from three different sources in connection with the proposed visits to Luampa district by Matanda and the Mwanashihemi for Lukena as well as bye-laws from the Litoya royal establishment of Mwene Kahare as follows:-

(a) Letter dated 9th May 2014 from District Education Board Secretary signed by the District Standards Officer for Kaoma advising heads of schools that a (chief?) Matanda would be touring all the schools in Luampa district.

(b) An undated document from the Mwanashihemi Litoya royal establishment advising village headmen that they have devised by-laws to enable them to levy chickens and cash from villagers and farmers in Shishamba in Nkeyema district and Liyunyi in Luampa district.

(c) Letter dated 6th June 2014 from the Acting Mwanashihemi Lukena royal establishment. This letter advises that the Mwanashihemi intends to visit Luampa district on 28th June 2014.

After consultations with the Kuta, the alert District Commissioner for Luampa did not allow Matanda to undertake his tour of schools in the district.

We (BRE) wondered how a government education Officer could have written the letter authorising the illegal chief to visit schools.

On the other hand, the meeting by Mwanshihemi for Lukena did take place. It is at this illegal meeting where he announced that Mwene Mutondo had appointed Innocent Munyikwa Lushato, alias Mwene Matanda, as chief for Luampa district.

Area Chief Mwanatete is reported to have advised the police not to allow the meeting to go ahead. They did not take action reasoning that the meeting was traditional therefore they had no authority.

Mwanatete, who is the area chief for Kahumbu, took legal action to sue both Matanda and Mutondo for interference in Luampa district.

The Mwanatete also sued Matanda for holding himself chief when not a chief in contravention of the provisions of Chiefs’ Act. This action is supported by the Naliele Royal Establishment and has been reported to the Siikalo Kuta accordingly.


We have attempted to show in this paper the problems orchestrated by the Nkoya speaking people in Kaoma region which is part of Barotseland. We have concentrated to highlight the problems caused by Mwene Mutondo only but we intend to do the same for Mwene Kahare in a separate paper.

Kaoma, Luampa and Nkeyema districts are not inhabited by the Nkoya speaking people only.

There are several others who include Lozi speakers such as Makwamakoma, Makwangwa, Makwamwenyi, Makwamashi, Maluvale, Mambunda, Maluchazi, Machokwe, Matotela and Masubiya to mention just a few.

All of them are bonafide citizens of Barotseland.

The Nkoyas, who are a minority, are the main cause of intriguing demands for separatism. The talk of secession of Kaoma from Barotseland is unacceptable and untenable.

The Nkoyas are themselves refugees who sought and received protection from the Lozi. They did not enter Barotseland through war, therefore, there is no record that they ever captured any part of Barotseland; neither is there evidence that they had captured slaves or cattle, but were themselves traded into slavery by the Kaondes, save for the rescue operation at Munte by the Lozi.

The Lozi went to war and many died for their sake yet today they exhibit hatred against their rescuers and protector. We hold that, as quid pro quo, it was a requirement that they paid the Lozi for the protection they received and the land they were given to settle but not to kick out the owner of the land.

They paid tribute to the Litunga just as other tribes in the outlying areas were required in order to sustain the Barotse economy.

The Lozi have interacted with the Nkoyas such that their relationship is interwoven in culture and tradition. This is because they have lived in peace for centuries together as a united people moulded into a nation by Kings Mulambwa, Sipopa and Lewanika.

There are more than thirty (30) tribes in Barotseland but only one tribal group revolving around the Lushange of Mwene Mutondo and Mashasha of Mwene Kahare is threatening to divide Barotseland. More recently, they appear to have recruited the Mbundas of Mwene Chiyengele to join their rebellious and insubordinate attitude against Barotseland.

Some of the royal drums that grace the royal occasions at Lealui, Nalolo and Libonda and in the Nalikwanda during the majestic Kuomboka ceremony have their source from the Mankoya people.

We are proud of this. However, we must make it clear to our Nkoya relatives that chiefdoms are created to serve the people if they fail to satisfy this need they wane and wax no more. The Litunga is on record as having tolerated unbecoming behaviour of Mwene Mutondo in particular. This may not be allowed to continue for long. Let them remember that the Lozi had in the past played major roles in resuscitating their leadership otherwise if it was not for King Sipopa and King Lewanika, there would be neither Mwene Mutondo nor Mwene Kahare today.

We concur with Van Binsbergen in the concluding chapters of his book “Tears of Rain” that the Nkoya are trying to build their kingdom out of myths. Mythology spring from arrested and unsatisfied desire, wish fulfilment or fantasy gratification.

We note that Mwene Mutondo and his Nkoya-Lushange royal council have been shadow boxing for a long time; it is now time to follow the footsteps of their forefathers.

When Mutondo II, Shiyengi had a problem, he went to Sipopa for assistance; when the Mutondo throne was on the brink of extinction, it was Sipopa who revived it; when the Kahare throne was on the wane, Lewanika reinstated it; when the Nkoya protested against unpopular Mutondo V, it was Lewanika they appealed to who resolved the issue by removing him and installing popular Wahila.

When the district Commissioner for Mankoya made an unorthodox decision to appoint a Mutondo, it was Lewanika who intervened by reversing the appointment; when Mwene Kahare Bollen Munguya had a problem reclaiming the chieftaincy in a legal battle against his maternal cousin of Kaonde paternity, Mayowe, it was to Senior Chief Amukena II and His Majesty the Litunga he went for assistance.

We advise Mutondo and his royal council to do the same now and turn to the Litunga of Barotseland to resolve their unsatisfied wish fulfilment springing from their mythological desires.

We also advise and recommend that the government of Zambia should undo the wrongs done by previous administrations by revoking the Presidential statutory instruments which wrongly recognised Mutondo as chief of the Nkoya people of Kaoma district.

Mutondo’s area of jurisdiction is Shikombwe only and does not extend to other areas. The violation of the 1958 map for area chiefs in Barotseland by the government of Zambia should be corrected.

Finally, the words of His Majesty Litunga Ilute IV quoted in the opening remarks of this paper underscore the policy direction of the Barotseland Royal Establishment. We reiterate and conclude by quoting the Litunga from the same letter when he stated categorically that,

“It was decided to withdraw our customary law mandate from them so that they may go elsewhere away from Barotseland where they would exercise their newfound jurisdiction”;


“that the Lozis are not willing to force the Mwene Mutondo and Mwene Kahare to accept the customary law jurisdiction of Barotseland, and therefore, there is no way they can continue to claim the chieftaincy which they have disowned”.

The Litunga’s disciplinary action was frustrated by the President of the Republic of Zambia who refused to co-operate. Hence it is this government support which has seen the Nkoyas making wild statements concerning the campaign for the creation of Kafue province and to elevate Mutondo to the paramount chief!

This can only be achieved if Mutondo and his people can be relocated elsewhere away from Barotseland.

The Nkoyas constitute a paltry 16% of the population in Kaoma, Luampa and Nkeyema districts combined. What justification is there for Mutondo to reign paramount over the various tribes who make up the remaining 84% with the Lozi, Mbunda /Luvale speaking people in the majority?

Barotseland cannot allow former refugees to cause anarchy in a region which has seen peace, harmony and tranquillity for many centuries as a united people. This scramble for Barotseland is ill-conceived and designed to stimulate undesirable problems whose consequences will be too ghastly to contemplate.

It shall be opposed with all the vehemence at our command! Our Nkoya brothers would be wise not to underrate the people of Barotseland.

To arrest this mentality, the other solution is for the Government of Zambia to stop meddling in the customary and traditional affairs of Barotseland.

In the words of His Majesty Litunga Ilute Yeta IV in the same letter to President Frederick Chiluba,

“....Barotseland is a kingdom even as of now.......and in a kingdom, you cannot find a chief who is independent of the King, because such a situation is untenable”.

The government of Zambia should not encourage Nkoyas to establish independent chiefdoms within Barotseland.

We conclude by reiterating the passionate appeal by Mwene Mutondo Edward Mbombola Moyo, signing as Watunga Moyo, in a letter to His Majesty the Litunga in 1995 in which he acknowledged that,

“No any other person would come up with solutions to problems of your families in Kaoma other than you, Sir”.

Yes, indeed! Mutondo and the people of Kaoma district belong to the larger Barotse family under the undisputed ruler-ship of His Majesty the Litunga. Therefore no decisions concerning the chieftainship leadership in this district should be entertained by the Government of Zambia, including the President, who should refrain from arbitrary recognitions without full consultations with His Majesty the Litunga and Council.

We believe very strongly and with confidence that the Litunga is more than capable of solving problems in this part of his kingdom.

For meaningful solutions to be found both Mwenes, Mutondo and Kahare, should not shun attending meetings called by the Litunga and the Council designed to discuss their artificial concerns on the traditional governance and leadership of the district. This has been the main stumbling block because both had declined to attend such meetings in the past.


1. Letter to President of Zambia, Mr Titus Jacob Chiluba by H.M the Litunga Ilute Yeta IV, 1st February 1994.

2. Northern Rhodesia Government, Barotseland Protectorate, Provincial Administration – Mankoya Tour Reports, National Archives of Zambia, BSE1/2/102, 1958.

3. Barotse Royal Establishment, Minutes of the Barotse National Council, Lealui, 1998, 1999, and 2000.

4. Barotse Royal Establishment, Report of the Meeting of Silalo Indunas from Kaoma, Lealui, 2010.

5. The government of Zambia, Statutory Instrument No. 56 of 1993.

6. The government of Zambia, Statutory Instrument No.63 of 1981

7. High Court for Zambia, Griffiths Musialike Mukande {suing as Ngambela of Western Province} versus Edward Mbombola Moyo {sued as Mwene Mutondo}, Lusaka, cause No.1994/HP/127. Lusaka, 1994.

8. Sunday Mail, “Nkoya chiefs defy Barotse court”, 3rd April 1993

9. The Post Newspaper, “Nkoyas warn of Bloodshed” 23rd March 1993

10. Kaunda, Kenneth David, President of Zambia, “I wish to inform the nation” an address to the nation 25th August 1969.

11. The government of Zambia, Village Register 1985,

12. The government of Zambia, General List of Chiefs 1978

13. Barotse Royal Establishment, Naliele District Kuta, The Institution of Chieftainship in Barotseland vis-a-vis Zambian Government, 2013

14. Barotse Royal Establishment, Naliele District Kuta, Report on Mwene Mutondo’s Activities in the District, 2010

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