the idea of going to Bulawayo and England, and asserted that he was the great Chief of the Batoka country." 64 This was an apparent attempt to match Lewanika's celebrated 1902 trip to the metropole. His efforts, and his success in collecting the money, have been cited as evidence that the Monze was in the process of extending his secular authority; of becoming a "chief," if you will, and spokesman for the Tonga. Perhaps so, though he collected over a narrow area, and the issue is complicated by the fact that he claimed to have British backing, a claim apparently believed. 65 More significant, perhaps, is that so much currency was available at this date in the Plateau countryside.
At the trial, the Administration, as if to emphasize Lozi seniority over any Tonga leader, made extensive use of Moquambana, Lewanika's Kalomo representative at the time. Ncete was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment. During at least part of 1904, arguably the most important year in modern Plateau history, the "principal chief of the Batoka country" was in jail.
Between 1890 and 1904, the circumstances affecting the life and work of Plateau Tonga communities altered considerably. Links with, and threats from, powerful African entities like the Lozi, Ndebele, and Chikunda diminished in importance or disappeared entirely. The Plateau Tonga found themselves on the edge of an emerging south central African imperial economy. Numerous Tonga males migrated southward, voluntarily and otherwise, to work for wages on European-run enterprises. Ecological crises on the Plateau--rinderpest and locusts--probably swelled their number. A far smaller number of Europeans came to the Plateau to recruit labor, hunt, plunder, prospect, and trade. Toward the end of the period, in the space of a very few years, the British South Africa Company established a basic political hegemony over the area. By 1904, then, Plateau Tonga individuals and communities were already involved in a new imperial system--with many demands and some opportunities--as well as in their own domestic mode of production. In the years just ahead all these forces for change--labor migration, European presence, political domination--would be extended and deepened.