Interrogating the Auhthenticity of The Agreement On the Establishment Of the Luapula River Authority
Dr. Henry Kanyanta Sosala
I had of course previously heard in our conversations with senior Zesco staff during the PF administration about a joint venture between ZESCO and SNEL And the Zambian delegation had proposed the creation of Luapula River Authority to manage the common water together with DRC Congo. They had
to set up a hydropower station on one of the three water falls on the Luapula river.
A Mission of Deception and Deceit
In February 2023, a team which comprised of officials from various government ministries including Zesco paid a courtesy call on me. I was told that they had come to meet and get inputs from traditional rulers and other stakeholders in respect of the proposed hydro-electric power project on the Luapula river between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia.
And during our discussion I got a bit curious as to why they should get inputs from Muchinga and Northern Provinces stakeholders since the project was solely connected to Luapula Province. But I did point out to them that the Chambeshi river’s mouth into Lake Bangweulu was about seventy-two kilometers away from the departure point of Luapula river out of the Lake, and how could Chambeshi river be it’s source!
I then sensed that the delegation had some fishy hidden agenda and it was not long when somebody told me that the document that was being presented was: THE AGREEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LUAPULA RIVER AUTHORITY. I was further informed that when one alert civil servant asked the presenter why they were invited for inputs when the agreement had already been made. I was told that the presenter was taken aback and looked shocked at such an unexpected question and he simply replied shyly: ‘’It was an oversight.’’ And indeed,
‘’It was an oversight.’’ But the truth of the matter was that it was not ‘’an oversight,’’ but the document was deliberately presented to SADAC Secretariat for adoption and it was at SADAC where the fake document was rejected because it lacked ‘’the community component.’’
The difference in this respect is that the white man leads with truth, though he does not lead to truth and whereas the Zambian starts with lies and leads into multiple lies. And Professor Michelo Hansungule narrates how those in authority cheat the masses which they wanted to over-carry to international organizations : “When the 1995 Land Act was being debated in Parliament, people especially in rural areas rejected it. Chiefs cried foul with authorities pointing out that the government intended to take away the powers of local people over their land in favour of foreign investors under its Western inspired market reform programme. After much pressure across the country, the government announced that it would enact the law against the wishes of the people and decided to fast track the Bill in Parliament by waiving the 21 days rule on publication of Bills before being presented for reading. Even before the people realized it, the Bill was law.”
The white man’s mind being an exploiter is sharpened to the edge of a razor and he cannot therefore involve himself in cheap lies which can shortly back-fire. Our God-given resources as peasants are protected through the Raoul Wallenberg Institute Compilation of Human Rights Instruments under the Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries as stated in article 7:1:’’The peoples concerned have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of development as it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own economic, social and cultural development.’’ And article 14:1 states: ‘’The rights of ownership and possession of the peoples concerned over their lands which they traditionally occupy shall be recognized.’’ Article 17:1 further states: ‘’Procedures established by the peoples concerned for the transmission of land rights among members of these peoples shall be respected.’’
In article 17:3 the Human Rights Instruments further protect tribal peoples from foreigners who might try to use unreasonable local stooges (as in the case at hand), who think more of filling their stomachs than anything else to help them alienate land: ‘’Persons not belonging to these peoples shall be prevented from taking advantage of their customs or lack of understanding of the laws on the part of their members to secure the ownership, possession or use of land belonging to them.’’
The Contents of the Fake Agreement.
The contents of the so-called c AGREEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LUAPULA RIVER AUTHORITY was presented in a paper by Martin Sodala, Assistant Director, Luapula Province from 22nd to 25th November 2019, titled: ‘’The Background and Status of Luapula River Authority: And he quoted the Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA): ‘’The Luapula Catchment occupies an area of about 113,323 km2 within Zambia and 60,063 km2 in Congo DRC, covering the entire Luapula Province and part of the Northern and Muchinga Provinces
Luapula River starts from the Bangweulu Swamps (one of the world’s largest wetlands); Length is estimated to be 560 kilometer; The Luapula River has Mumbotuta Water Falls in Milenge & Mambilima waterfalls in Mwense.
I cannot still understand how our water experts at WARMA had arrived at this because as stated, ‘’Luapula river starts from Lake Bangweulu swamps, why can’t Luapula river be in Lake Bangweulu catchment and not vice versa? It is the same as transferring the motherhood to the daughter!
Article 14 (b): ‘’The Authority shall establish a Platform for data and information exchange and Decision Support in relation to the shared water resources of the Luapula River and Lake Mweru and the associated catchment areas,’’ And so in this subtle dimension all water basins of Muchinga and Northern Provinces were cunningly included in the associated catchment areas.
Here are other shockers: Annex 1 Environmental Impact Assessment and article 8 states: ‘’The construction and operation of large dams, reservoirs or hydro-electric power schemes on any part of Lake Tanganyika or on any river that forms part of the Lake Basin or that flows out of the lake. And article 9 further states: Large scale water abstraction from Lake Tanganyika or any river that forms part of the Lake Basin…….
And Lake Tanganyika is more than one thousand kilometers from the Luapula river, but it is included in the Luapula catchment. The serious implications in the above articles can only be clearly understood with reference to what had happened during the colonial rule as regards water rights held by the British Southern Company (BSA), and, as was recorded by Richard Hall in his book The High Price of Principles: Kaunda and the White South: ‘’…….it was not permitted for Africans to dig sand from a river bank without special permits from the Chartered Company. And some remote villagers who earned little money from locally produced salt (called chibwa in Mpika District) were subjected to the company’s severe regulations.’’ (ibid p.72).
And deducing from this document, it means that no one, for example, can even dig a pit latrine in a village in Chinsali District without the permission of the Luapula River Authority whose offices might even be based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In my two previous articles, I went at length to prove that the AGREEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LUAPULA RIVER AUTHORITY was a fake document. I was told that the conspirators had held their fingers tight expecting a stormy reaction from Bemba politicians but as usual none came. Then they proceeded to produce a similar fake document namely: PROPOSED AGREEMENT ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LUAPULA RIVER AUTHORITY.
The Lusaka Times reported that Honourable Mike Mposha, the Minister of Water Development and Sanitation said that the consultative process regarding the establishment of the Luapula River Authority (LRA) has reached an advanced stage. The Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia are in the process to establish the Luapula River Authority to manage the shared water bodies between the two countries. Zambia’s territory is entirely in a shared river basin. Zambia has decided to asset to the UN Water Conversion. Zambia has two trans-boundary basins, namely Zambia and Congo basins which constitute around 75% and 25% of Zambia geographical territory areas respectfully. Considering cooperation played in social economic development and regional economic integration among the riparian states. The Ministry has embarked on the process of accession to the UN Water Conversion joining the Congo Oubangui Sangha basin as well as establishment of the Luapula River Authority which is a bilateral river basin organization between DRC and Zambia.
Unfortunately this document has not been distributed and I only chanced a copy from a sympathizer and therefore the Honourable Minister was just misled since they have never been any consultations with the peasant stakeholders.
The only addition to the new document is Sub-Article 16.3.1 which states: ’’The Traditional Leadership Committee shall comprise a selected number of chiefs appointed by each Party from along the common border of the Luapula river and Lake Mweru and a selected number of Chiefs appointed by each Party from the associated catchment.’’
In addition the technocrats do not in the least understand the critical issue of where the turbines and switchgear will be. On 11th November 1965, we experienced the gravity of the position of these instruments on the Kariba dam when Mr. Ian Smith rebelled against the Queen and declared Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) an independent white republic because the dam which supplied power to the copper-belt mines had the switchgear on the other side and the rebels were threatening to switch off.
The attempts by the South African regimes to annex our water basin has been going on now for over one hundred years (i.e., 1922 – 2023). And it only by God’s grace as you read in my next article. What is actually unfortunately heart-wrenching is that our ancestors knew the serious consequences of our losing the water basin than the current breed of ‘’Bemba-speaking geniuses.’’ In 1953 a third attempt was made and In this instance, the colonial administration tried to implement the so-called ‘’conservation’’ measures in Luapula-Bangweulu area which led to the 1953 rebellion. It was felt among the Aushi, Kabende and Ng’umbo people that the conditions impinged unjustly on their God-given land. And as a result, three chiefs led by Senior Chief Milambo stood up in opposition and incited their followers to civil disobedience because it was seen as the first step towards the annulment of the African population’s rights to their water basin. The colonial government responded to the rebellion forcefully, deposing Senior Chief Milambo and had him exiled across Lake Bangweulu in Luwingu District.in Northern Province.
The dangers our illiterate ancestors foresaw 70 years ago (i.e., 1953- 2023) cannot even be imagined in the minds of any of our Bemba Presidential aspirants as well the Bemba intellectuals who are supposed to be “the conscience of our society?” What shame! This, however, is my first time to personally and physically witness of how the white man has managed through mis-education to have the African’s brain locked up in total darkness of his skull.
I must make it abundantly clear that the chiefs and the people of Northern and Muchinga Provinces are not against the project, except that we MUST NEVER INCLUDED IN THE ASSOCIATED CATCHMENT. It is certainly thinking of ‘’boiled ice’’ for anyone to automatically conclude that we the Bemba people can blindly surrender our water basins to an unstable foreign government.
TO BE CONTINUED