Sata's visit on Litunga spells trouble for Barotse separatists

LUSAKA: The recent courtesy call on the Litunga by President Michael Sata seems to sounded the death knell for the secessionist movement in Zambia's Western Province.

The crisis deepened on April 14 when Sata flew into Mongu, the provincial capital, and proceeded to the palace to pay a courtesy call on the traditional ruler, the Litunga. But it was not all courtesy. There was a strong element of triumph for the president who was in the province for the first time since assuming office after defeating Rupiah Banda in the September 2011 elections.

Relations with the province had reached an all-time low in March last year when the Barotse traditional council declared itself in support of secession. The president was one of the most derided men in the province then, and reconciliation sometimes seemed out of the question.

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