Editor General, Barotseland Post

Editor General, Barotseland Post

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We have said it before and we will say it again, that Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia is not an Honourable man. Accordingly, he will not be until he publicly states why and how he has defrauded Barotseland and her people their right to Self-determination alongside their brothers in Zambia as guaranteed in the now defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

This is the same man who on 6th August 1964 stood before the Barotse King, HRM Sir Mwanawina III, KBE, his Kuta and Barotse government, in the presence of many Barotse people (BNC) as witnesses and said;

“….It is the (Zambian) government’s full intention that the Barotseland Agreement [1964] will be honored fully after independence…. The government has no wish to interfere with the day to day running of the internal affairs of Barotseland. This is the responsibility of the Barotse government and the intention of the Central Government will be no more than to give the Barotse Government its maximum assistance and co-operation. …The customary rights in Barotseland will remain with the Litunga, National Council and the District heads of Kutas."

Further; “the government is satisfied that government requirements for land for development projects in Barotseland will receive the active co-operation of the Barotse government, this is all the Central Government is asking for…..” (Nyambe, 2010)

Kaunda said these assurances in affirmation to the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, he had just signed a couple of months earlier in May of 1964.

In 1969, however, through Constitution (Amendment) No.5, and without consulting the people of Barotseland, the same Kaunda and his government enacted that;

“The Barotseland Agreement 1964 shall cease to have effect and all rights (whether vested or otherwise) and liabilities thereunder shall lapse” – a piece of legislation that the people of Barotseland are now ready to argue, in courts of law, was devoid of any legal effect.

And we are not the only ones that seem to think Kenneth Kaunda is not an honourable man. His successor and fifth republican president of Zambia late Michael C. Sata (MHSRIP) in 2011 thought so too when he said, and as quoted by The Post Newspaper of Zambia's George Chellah who later became his press aide at State House;

“There is no HONEST person who can deny the existence and validity of the Barotse Agreement. And those with HONOUR and INTEGRITY honour valid agreements they have entered into whether they still like them or not.

“Only CROOKS, DICTATORS who want everything to be controlled by them from Lusaka can fear the BAROTSE AGREEMENT.”

Sata further said;

“The Barotse Agreement is still a valid agreement. How can you ignore an agreement that was signed, sealed and delivered almost 47 years ago?”

As such he even committed that;

“The PF government will honour the Barotse Agreement without hesitation because we have no problems with it. We see nothing wrong with it.”

“How can an agreement that brought our country together as a unitary sovereign state, be seen to be a divisive instrument; to be about secession and treason?” Sata wondered.

Mr. Sata even dared to say that; “in fact, the PEACE and UNITY that Zambia has enjoyed since independence as a sovereign state can be partly attributed to the Barotse Agreement.”

However, in spite of all the above political rhetoric Mr. Sata made as an opposition leader while seeking the Barotse vote, he too followed the dishonourable path of his predecessors before him. No sooner had he assumed the highest political office than he started abusing the rights of the Barotse people, recording at one time in 2013, the highest number of indiscriminate arrests and incarcerations of over 87 Barotse people; including women and children, among them two ten year old school going boys, and one ninety year old man, who he all charged with the capital crime of treason punishable only by death upon conviction under Zambian laws, for allegedly celebrating the setting up of the Afumba Mombotwa transitional Barotseland government. Of course these were all let free, without any compensation after three months of deplorable prison conditions, due to having no real case against them. What a tragedy!

Reading, therefore, about Kaunda's reciting of the so called “Blessing of Peace” upon the nation of Zambia on 25th of May 2015 African Freedom Day commemoration, in his capacity as the self assumed 'Founding Father of the Zambian nation' was nostalgic, to say the least, to many people of Barotseland, and to all those who value tenets of human rights, as currently a total of eight Barotse nationals, including the leading Barotseland independence movement, 'The Linyungandambo' leader Afumba Mombotwa and three members of his Barotseland transitional government, are still languishing in Zambian jails for over six months without trial, over treason related charges yet again. Kenneth Kaunda, in our view, missed yet another good opportunity to confess to his maltreatment of the people of Barotseland, and explain the true meaning of the ‘One Zambia One Nation Motto’ he so eloquently eulogise. Although unity among diverse ethnicity is desirable in any nation, we know that the real meaning of the motto emanated from the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 that he unilaterally abrogated. However, today due to systematic brain wash, many have come to understand it to mean merely the unity among the more than seventy two ethnicities of Zambia.

Kenneth Kaunda’s sentiments on this occasion sounded much like that of a man, who after illegally possessing another man’s estate, sits with his family in the dark pronouncing 'blessings and peace' upon his loot, while praying and hoping that he has so incapacitated and impoverished the real owner to the extent that he will never be strong enough to claim and contest for his entitlement of the estate; while the fraudulent man’s largely unsuspecting family agree and shout loud ‘Alleluias’ and ‘Amen’ as they break into “How Great Thou Art” father!

The good news, however, is that the God of PEACE and BLESSINGS is also the God of JUSTICE and RESTITUTION! It is our prayer, therefore, that God will accord Kenneth Kaunda long life, and possibly another opportunity soon, for him ‘to come clean on Barotseland’, one way or the other! One who prays for PEACE must also act JUSTLY! We also pray for real Peace and Unity in the nation of Zambia, not one held by old and weak threads of sloganeering.

Short of this we will continue to hold the view that Kenneth Kaunda is a dishonorable man who entered his government and the nation he now claims to be father of, into an agreement he had no real intention to honour, but rather signed it probably only to appease the British Government, and, of course, to get his hands on Barotseland and its approximately 3 ½ million people, forming a perpetual governmental policy stand that has potential to drive the nation of Zambia into untold misery.

Kenneth Kaunda - First Republican President of Zambia
Kenneth Kaunda - First Republican President of Zambia

Unity in diversity does not mean uniformity, but rather that there is unity of purpose. More than ever before Barotseland now needs her people to be one, especially with the legal processes we have embarked upon against Zambia. We need the activists in their two broad categories of Linyungandambo and BNFA to work with the BRE Kuta, and the Kuta itself to be one with the masses. We may have past and present differences but, like Dr. Matengu Situmbeko has said in his latest statement, the route we decide to take at resolving our differences will determine whether or not we actually succeed at resolving them.

Some activists have decided to petition that the entire BRE Kuta be dismissed for some alleged ‘compromise’ in as far as the quest for Barotseland independence is concerned. This is a commendable exercise of their right. However, we should emphasize that because it is not the entire Kuta that has compromised, it is, therefore, important that the Litungaship is left to collate the allegations in fairness, without undue pressure. Justice will demand thoroughness in this regard. Civil unrest may only breed miscarriage of justice.

We have two or three legal processes that have commenced or have been initiated in which Barotseland or a section of it, seek to make Zambia answerable for her treachery and injustice against Barotseland. The nature of these processes requires that we are united as one people and one nation.

1. NGAMBELA OF BAROTSELAND AND OTHERS VERSES ZAMBIA AT THE BANJUL COURT OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN AND PEOPLES' RIGHTS (ACHPR)

This case was lodged by the NGAMBELA of Barotseland and OTHERS on behalf of Barotseland (The Litungaship, the Kuta and the activists or masses.)

The success of this process entails that the head of the Kuta, THE NGAMBELA, works with OTHERS (the activists or the masses). Therefore, whoever occupies the office of Ngambela and his Kuta is conjoined with the people to ensure that this process goes through. However, if the Kuta and the activists are at war with each other, how are they expected to work together successfully to petition the Banjul court against Zambia? Tukongote or Kopano will indeed be the key here. We are reliably aware that this case is progressing very well.

2. BAROTSELAND VERSES ZAMBIA AT THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ) - CASE OF ILLEGAL OCCUPATION

This case is being lodged by the Afumba Mombotwa led Transitional Government on behalf of the people of Barotseland (The Litungaship, the Kuta and the activists or masses).

The success of this particular case too entails that the Head of the Transitional Government works with the Head of State, The Litungaship, the Kuta and the citizens.The lodging of this case has progressed very well. The unity of purpose is greatly required, in this regard, so that the desired outcome is achieved.

3. BNFA CHALLENGE TO ZAMBIA TO SIGN A SUBMISSION OF ARBITRATION AGREEMENT AT THE PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION (PCA)

The Clement W. Sinyinda led BNFA has also challenged the Zambian government to sign a 'Submission of Arbitration Agreement' at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Although Zambia has not yet signed this Agreement, this process is still on and will require the co-operation of everybody to go on.

Time and again, it has been emphasized that the matter of Barotseland is not of WAR but of LAW. It has been noted, however, that there are some among us who think that ACTION only means FIGHTING! These are those who often criticize their leadership for doing ‘NOTHING’ only because the leaders have refused to beat the Barotse WAR DRUMS! Barotseland, however, decided to give peaceful settlement the foremost chance. Therefore, we must show total commitment to PEACE before we can relish the idea of WAR!

Barotseland has already tried and will continue to pursue POLITICAL processes such as the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) on the 27th of March 2012. Zambia did not and has not heeded our POLITICAL declarations. That is not to say what we did on 27th March 2012 was not VALID! It simply means IMPUNITY on the part of Zambia. Now, as we seek LEGAL processes, can we give chance for these processes to reach their logical conclusion? The required action now is NOT Fighting but financial contributions to further all these legal processes. Those who think they have a lot of energy should direct it towards raising funds for all our legal efforts and processes.

It is not our desire to see one big movement but that we learn how to pursue UNITY in DIVERSITY. Our common denominator should be a FREE and INDEPENDENT Barotseland. Ideological differences will be there. This is expected and most desirable in any progressive society such as ours. But these differences should not make us lose focus on our immediate prize! Therefore, let us heed Dr. Matengu when he calls for CALM and revisit of our individual and collective strategies so that we can now all work together; Linyungandambo, BNFA, The BRE Kuta and The Litungaship, The transitional government and all the people for the sake of Barotseland. Bigger hurdles still lie ahead. But we will together cross over them and create the change we all seek!!

Tukongote! Litunga Nilyetu!

THE BAROTSE PARK 1898 - A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BAROTSE PARK

The piece of land historically known as the Barotse Park was designated thus because it was the site on which numerous protocols between King Lewanika and his successors on one part and the agents of British South Africa Company and later the British Crown on the other part were negotiated and sealed. From its inception, the Barotse Park was a soft spot of encounter between the settler communities and the indigenous people of Zambia. The following are some of the important meetings that were held on the site:

1898 THE LAWLEY TREATY

The Company asked its senior representative the Rt. Honourable Captain Arthur Lawley, then resident in Bulawayo (Matebeleland), Southern Rhodesia, to inform Major Robert Coryndon, then resident commissioner in Barotseland-North Western Rhodesia who resided at Kalomo, the then capital of North-Western Rhodesia to officially request the Litunga of Barotseland Lubosi Lewanika to meet at the Victoria Falls. The three party talks were aimed at consolidating territorial jurisdiction and the treaties that Lewanika had earlier agreed with Harry Ware in 1889 and Frank Lochner in 1890, whereas these treaties culminated into THE BAROTSELAND-NORTH WESTERN RHODESIA ORDER-IN-COUNCIL of 1899. The talks were scheduled to take place on 25th June 1898 at Victoria Falls, but the high water level of the Zambezi River affected the preparations of receiving the Litunga as the surroundings of the Old Drift or Sekute's Drift were damp and muddy. The Coryndon Administration, after consultations, decided to change the venue to a higher and dry ground on the Sandbelt. The site that was chosen was where Lubosi Lewanika's Royal Pavilion was constructed. Talks were held between the Litunga and the British Resident Commissioner in Barotseland-North Western Rhodesia on the one part and representatives or agents of John Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company on the other part, agreed to provide a path for the British South Africa Company (BSAC) to proceed to the north bank of the Zambezi river, constructing the railway from Cape to Cairo. It was at this site where the Lawley treaty was concluded.

IN 1900 CONCESSION A AND B

Following the passing of THE BAROTSELAND-NORTH WESTERN RHODESIA ORDER-IN-COUNCIL which was passed in 1899, two concessions were signed at this site. The first one was Concession A which was commonly known as LEWANIKA'S TREATY. The second Concession B was signed in November of the same year. The treaty was for the mining syndicate and for sanctioning the British South Africa Company to generate hydro-electric power from the Zambezi at the Victoria Falls for usage in the mining industry on the Copperbelt. In 1901, the said concessions were ratified.

1901 CONSTITUTIONAL CONFERENCE

The Constitutional Conference was held at this site to ratify the two treaties agreed to in 1900. This lead to the subsequent naming of the Sandbelt on which this site was situated The Constitution Hill. At the same time the site was named the Barotse Centre in honour of King Lubosi Lewanika, his council and the people involved in the advancement of development in the territory of North-Western Rhodesia.

In 1902, the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika was invited to attend the coronation ceremony of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandria in England. The Barotse Centre at the heart of the Constitution Hill is where the Litunga bade farewell to his council and the people who wished him a safe journey. It was at this same site where Lewanika assured and impressed the crowd that feared for his safety, by planting his royal walking stick into the ground as a sign that would predict whether his entourage was safe. This historic event was evident enough that the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika's royal wooden walking stick germinated, rooted, branched off and grew into a big tree. Lewanika's way back from England at the end of 1902 in December was welcomed by a great royal traditional guard of honour at the Barotse Centre, which he marked by the unforgettable legacy. The Litunga arrived at his capital Lealui at New Year's first day of 1903 to a thunderous welcome, which was anti-climaxed as the final briefing was about his mother Inonge who had died.

Gradually, more settlers arrived in the Victoria Falls area, the administrators at the Old Drift or Sekute's Drift (which was unhealthy) decided to have a new township planned at the Constitution Hill. By the end of November 1904 the new township was being surveyed and the roads were marked. The township was layed out as a rectangular grid of streets and sanitary lanes forming fifteen blocks in all covering an area of rather less than one square kilometer. The central street main way (now Mosi-O-Tunya road) was to be 43 metres wide. The central block was to be an open park known as THE BAROTSE CENTRE, which still survives. The remaining fourteen blocks comprised two hundred and four stands. Some of these were reserved for the Administration's offices and other residents who were to be forced to abandon their old settlements at the Old Drift. The remaining stands were sold at an auction held on 23rd January 1905.

In 1904, when the railway line from Bulawayo reached the Zambezi River at the Victoria Falls, the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika came to the Victoria Falls for the official opening ceremony of the bridge conducted on 12th September 1905 by Professor George Darwin, President of the British Association. The first regatta which featured the Barotse royal badges of Mwandi Palace under Litia Yeta, son of Lewanika in Sesheke and Lealui the capital of Barotseland raced and Mwandi won.

It was at this very important event that the first curio shop was put up by Lewanika in the new town at the Barotse Centre. King Lewanika further declared the centre should be held unto perpetuity as a soft spot for all Africans who had less access to the new settlement, to utilize it as trading area for their crafts and as a green market. The official ceremony was the first of its kind. There were crafts and a lot of artwork from Barotseland, vegetables and fruits from surrounding areas of the Victoria Falls displayed for sale. As years passed activities among the White settlers and Africans at the new town increased. The main meeting place remained the Barotse Centre. Here the White settlers could buy crafts, artwork, vegetables and fruits from Africans.

The Barotse Centre further served as a recruitment point for native labour and as a venue for activities which involved the BAROTSE NATIVE POLICE and the BAROTSE NATIVE POLICE BAND, where Africans were actively involved.

The end remark by the parties involved during the official opening of the Victoria Falls bridge was to consider naming the Constitution Hill and areas surrounding the Victoria Falls as Doctor David Livingstone in honour of the great explorer who put the falls, the mighty Zambezi river, south and central Africa, including the people who were party to his expedition on the world map.

Two years after the official opening of the bridge in 1907, a decision was made by the White Administration of North-Western Rhodesia headed by Sir, Robert Codrington, in consultations with the Litunga Lubosi Lewanika of Barotseland, to shift the capital from Kalomo to Livingstone. The Barotse Centre was the venue for the celebrations that marked the importance and growth of the town. The town by then had two hotels, a restaurant, two mineral water factories, at least eight clothing and general stores, two butcheries, four building contractors, a chemist and a barber. Also Standard Bank of South Africa and the first North-Western hotel were opened at the capital.

In 1909 King Lewanika travelled to Livingstone to welcome the new Administrator Mr. Wallace, who replaced Robert Codrington who died. He was accorded a reception by the White Administration and Africans at the Barotse Centre especially the two pioneer Lithuanian business brothers, Harry and Elie Susman, who had been cattle traders in Barotseland, who took over the pioneer butchery, Mopane Clarke's store and a bar. The two brothers paid great tribute to the Litunga.

A major event in the early history of Livingstone town was the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in 1910. They came to South Africa to open the first session of the Union Parliament and then proceeded on a tour to southern and northern Rhodesia. The Litunga Lubosi Lewanika and other Barotse royalty came to Livingstone for the occasion and were accommodated in town. Lewanika arranged an exhibition and demonstration of traditional Lozi crafts in the Barotse Centre, of which he took the visitors on a conducted tour. As usual, Lewanika made an excellent impression on both the visitors and settlers.

In 1911, the British South Africa Company with the approval of the British Government passed an ORDER-IN-COUNCIL to facilitate the amalgamation of the two territories of North-Western and North-Eastern Rhodesia into one but for Barotseland of the Litunga, which was reserved as a state within a state. Livingstone became the capital of Northern Rhodesia. The Barotse Centre was where the celebrations took place involving the peoples of the said territories backed by the two bands of the Barotse Native Police and the North-Eastern Rhodesia Constabulary which also amalgamated to one Northern Rhodesia Police.

Three years after the amalgamation in 1914 world war one broke out. Attention in all the British colonial territories, Northern Rhodesia included, turned to war activities at the expense of development especially in Barotseland. The events of this war bothered Lewanika (who wanted to develop his nation) so much that he did not live any longer and died in 1916.

Thereafter, it was not until 1921, when the Litunga Litia Yeta III CBE who succeeded his father Lewanika, who while on his way to Cape Town via Livingstone where he was invited to meet the Prince of Connaught, met with his people in the area and the Governor General.

Another exciting event at the Barotse Centre was in 1924 when Litia Yeta III CBE travelled to Livingstone for the great celebrations that marked the handover power from the British South Africa Company to Great Britain under the rule of King George V. The Litunga was to meet the first Governor Sir Herbert Stanley.

A spectacular visit by King George VI in 1947 who was to meet his friend the Litunga Imasiku Mwanan'ono Imwiko I put the Barotse Centre on the world map because of the modern print and electronic media that covered the Royal counterpart's shake hands, bolstering links between England and Barotseland. An occasion comprised of impressive activities such as the flotilla canoes that accompanied the regatta involving the Litunga's Royal badges at the boat club, a guard of honour on the Northern Rhodesia regiment and a Royal Walk (Kutamboka) where the two Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth participated.

Sir Mwanawina III KBE, too had extensively utilized the Barotse Centre as a venue for important activities on his many visits especially when he went to Salisbury in southern Rhodesia to sign for Barotseland as a state within states in an order of the federation that was evoked in 1953.

More importantly was when the Litunga Sir Mwanawina III KBE, the Ngambela Imenda Sibandi and some high ranking Indunas flew from Livingstone to England to sign the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. The Barotse Centre has been so significant to most Litungas (even at the time of Godwin Mbikusita Lewanika II) that whenever any of them visited Livingstone they passed by to see the centre.

This site therefore where these legal documents which described Zambia as a state and nation were signed and ratified is an important historical site which should be preserved without any uderlterations.

SOURCES OF INFORMATION AND REFERENCE

1. London; Colonial Office; (Commonwealth Library)-Public Record Office; (Affairs North of the Zambezi); News from Barotseland, Une Collection Comple'te, 4 Volumes 1897-1932

2. PEMS; (Paris Evangelical Mission Society) Headquarters, 102 Boulevard Arago; Francois Coillard, Personal Papers, Letters and Journals 1880-1904 (Zambezi Files; 1885-1904), Administration Britannique, Kalomo-Mongu, 1908-1933, Sefula Mission Station.

3. National Archives, Southern Rhodesia Salisbury (Harare Zimbabwe). Administrator's Files-A15/1-15 Miscellaneous, 1889-1899. A 3/18/5 Lewanika 1896-1903. A 11/2/12/5-6 Lewanika 1901-1903 A11/2/14/1-23 North-Western Rhodesia,1902-1909

4. British South Africa Company Files, Cape Town (C.T.1/4/1-7 Barotseland, 1890-1895; C.T.1/11/1 Concessions, Barotse, 1890-1895; C.T.1/15/1 Matters relating to Native Affairs 1892, Barotseland. London Office [L.O.5/2/1-58; L.O.5/3/1-4; L.O.5/7/1-6)

5. National Archives, Northern Rhodesia Lusaka (Zambia) A Series: Papers of the Administrator, North-Western Rhodesia, (NW/A) NW/A1/1/1-13, In letters 1902-1911, High Commissioner for South Africa; A1/2/1-17 In letters 1902-1911, London Office; A2/1/1-5 Out letters 1908-1911, High Commissioner; A2/2/1-6 Out letters 1901-1911, London Office; A2/3/1 Barotse Boundary Commission (January 1904); A3/25 Barotse Native Police, Lealui 1905-1906. Reports by Harding and Gibbisons.

6. Papers of the Northern Rhodesia Secretariat (NR/B) B Series: NR/B1/1; B1/1 (A353D) Concessions-Litia Yeta III CBE Correspondence with the Secretary of State, 1922-1924; B1/1 (A281A) Boundaries, District Barotseland 1912-1925.

7. NR/B1/2/1927 Series. NR/B1/2/177-9 Barotse Concessions 1901-1911; Lewanika: 1901 Amendments: 1905 and 1906; Lewanika; 1909: Lewanika to T.B. Davvies; Barotseland boundaries 1899 March to September 1925; B1/2/291 Control of Barotseland by the Imperial Government, 1921-1922; B1/2/302-3 Barotse Government: Land cases and outline of political system 1921

8. B1/3/1928 File Series: B1/3/677 The Litunga Litia Yeta III CBE's visit to Livingstone 1928. B1/3/688 Native Affairs, Barotseland 1928.

9. B1/7/1929 Series Lewanika Concessions, 1900-1912; Reconsideration of Concessions, 1927-1931

10. KDE Series Papers of Resident Magistrate, Barotseland: KDE 2/43/1-5 Anthropological, Historical, Slavery, Language, Customs; KDE 2/44/1-21 History of Barotseland, Notes and Documents.

11. OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS British Government Agreement between Great Britain and Portugal Relative to Spheres of Influence North of the Zambezi. Cmnd 7032 (London, 1893) Award of His Majesty the King of Italy respecting the western boundary of the Barotse Kingdom Cmnd 2584 (London 1905). Barotseland Agreement 1964, Cmnd 2366

12. ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT (Northern Rhodesia) Barotse Native Authority, Constitution Committee Report, Rawlings 1957. British South Africa Company, Report by the Ministry of Finance, Lusaka, on the Company's claims to Mineral Royalties in Northern Rhodesia, Government Printers, Lusaka 1964.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Bertrand Alfred-The Kingdom of Barotsi, upper Zambezi, London 1899

2. Col. Colin Harding-In Remotest Barotseland, Hurst and Blackett London 1905

3. Coillard Francois-On the Threshold of Central Africa, Hodder and Stoughton, London 1897

4. Stirke D W Barotseland; Eight Years among the Barotse, London 1922

5. Jalla Adolphe- Lewanika, Roi des Ba-Rotsi, Geneva 1902 Litaba za Sicaba sa Malozi; Oxford University Press, Cape town 1921, revised; London 1959

6. Baxter T. W; The Barose Concessions' Part 1, Northern Rhodesia journal, June 1951, no. 3, pp. 39-49. Part 2 Northern Rhodesia journal, December 1951, no. 4, pp. 38-45.

7. Bradley Kenneth; "Statesmen" Coryndon and Lewanika in North-Western Rhodesia; 'African Observer, Sep. 1936, volume V, no. 5

8. Caplan Gerald Lewis; A Political History of Barotseland, 1879-1965, thesis for Ph.D, London University 1968, published as The Elites of Barotseland, 1878-1969, C.Hurst and Co. London 1970.

9. Clay G C R; Your Friend, Lewanika, Litunga of Barotseland, 1842-1916 Robin's Series no. 7, Chatto and Windus London 1968.

10. Gluckman Max; Economy of the Central Barotse Plain, Roads-Livingstone Institute Paper no. 7 1941. Administrative Organization of the Barotse Native Authorities, with a plan for reforming them. Roads-Livingstone Institute Commn. no. 1, 1943.

11. Mutumba Mainga; Ph,D. Bulozi Under The Luyana Kings, (Political Evolution and State Formation) in Pre-colonial Zambia, 1973.

12. Brian M Fagan, M.A, Ph,D. The Victoria Falls, the Batoka Gorge and Part of the Zambesi River

(CNN) The Palestinian Authority officially became the 123rd member of the International Criminal Court on Wednesday, a step that gives the court jurisdiction over alleged crimes in Palestinian territories.

The formal accession was marked with a ceremony at The Hague, in the Netherlands, where the court is based.

The Palestinians signed the ICC's founding Rome Statute in January, when they also accepted its jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed "in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, since June 13, 2014."

Later that month, the ICC opened a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestinian territories, paving the way for possible war crimes investigations against Israelis. As members of the court, Palestinians may be subject to counter-charges as well.

The war between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza last summer left more than 2,000 people dead, the vast majority of them Palestinians.

Israel, which is not an ICC member, has opposed the Palestinians' efforts to join the body.

"The Israeli position -- like the position of the U.S., Canada and others -- is that the Palestinians are not eligible to join the ICC and the court does not have jurisdiction in this instance, first and foremost, because there is no Palestinian State in international law," Israel's Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday.

"The decision of the Palestinians to join the ICC as an attempt to move 'processes' against Israel is political, cynical and hypocritical."

The Palestinian Authority, which is allied to the "murderous" militant group Hamas, "is the last one that can threaten to present a case to the ICC in the Hague," the ministry added, saying that the Palestinians' membership violated the founding principles of the ICC and risked politicizing the body.

But Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, speaking at Wednesday's ceremony, said joining the ICC was a move toward greater justice.

"As Palestine formally becomes a State Party to the Rome Statute today, the world is also a step closer to ending a long era of impunity and injustice," he said, according to an ICC news release. "Indeed, today brings us closer to our shared goals of justice and peace."

Rights group welcomes Palestinian decision

Judge Kuniko Ozaki, a vice president of the ICC, said acceding to the treaty was just the first step for the Palestinians.

"As the Rome Statute today enters into force for the State of Palestine, Palestine acquires all the rights as well as responsibilities that come with being a State Party to the Statute. These are substantive commitments, which cannot be taken lightly," she said.

Rights group Human Rights Watch welcomed the development.

"Governments seeking to penalize Palestine for joining the ICC should immediately end their pressure, and countries that support universal acceptance of the court's treaty should speak out to welcome its membership," said Balkees Jarrah, international justice counsel for the group.

"What's objectionable is the attempts to undermine international justice, not Palestine's decision to join a treaty to which over 100 countries around the world are members."

U.S.: We will oppose actions against Israel at the ICC

In January, when the preliminary ICC examination was opened, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described it as an outrage, saying the court was overstepping its boundaries.

The United States also said it "strongly" disagreed with the court's decision.

"As we have said repeatedly, we do not believe that Palestine is a state and therefore we do not believe that it is eligible to join the ICC," the State Department said in a statement.

It urged the warring sides to resolve their differences through direct negotiations. "We will continue to oppose actions against Israel at the ICC as counterproductive to the cause of peace," it said.

But the ICC begs to differ with the definition of a state for its purposes and refers to the territories as "Palestine."

While a preliminary examination is not a formal investigation, it allows the court to review evidence and determine whether to investigate suspects on both sides. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her office would "conduct its analysis in full independence and impartiality."

The inquiry will include alleged war crimes committed since June.

The International Criminal Court was set up in 2002 to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

As Barotseland pushes for total independence from Zambia, it is clear that the road will not be smooth as it has been with many countries and as such, we will draw a few lessons from countries and movements in the region that went through freedom struggle.

In Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, the struggle took the path of armed struggle after peaceful means failed to yield positive results. The Zimbabwe bush war or second Chimurenga was fought from 4th July 1964 to 12th December 1979, a period of 15 years, five months, one week and one day. Before commencement of the armed struggle, a number of black Africans started to agitate for freedom, however, many whites and a sizable minority of black Rhodesians viewed their lifestyle as being under attack, which both considered safer and with a higher standard of living than many other African countries.

The same situation today applies to Barotseland were despite the general majority being aware of the situation and eager to break free of Zambian hegemony, a sizable Barotse minority who feel better placed in economic terms within Zambia see the push for freedom as a danger to their lifestyle and simply rubbish calls for freedom.

Two rival nationalist groups emerged in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) and the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) following a split in the former in August 1963 following disagreements over tactics as well as personality clashes. ZANU and its military wing ZANLA were initially headed by the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and later by Robert Mugabe. ZAPU on the other hand and its military wing, the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) were under the leadership of Joshua Nkhomo.

The Zimbabwe Bush war pitted three belligerents against one another, the Ian Smith government forces, ZAPU’S ZIPRA and ZANU’S ZANLA. The two nationalist movements fought separate wars against the Rhodesian forces but the two groups sometimes fought against each other as well.

The minority Rhodesian government held that the traditional chiefs were the legitimate voice of the black Shona and Ndebele population and not ZANU and ZAPU nationalists, who it regarded as dangerous and violent usurpers.

Following the birth of nationalist movements in Barotseland, the Zambian government has always felt that the traditional authority or the Barotse Royal Establishments (BRE) is the legitimate voice of the people of Barotseland and not the nationalist movements. The Zambians have however failed to listen to the people of Barotseland after they spoke through the Barotseland National Council (BNC), a body that includes all the traditional leaders of Barotseland.

Zimbabwe was however saved from possible confrontation among the nationalists, (like the case was in Angola after independence), when the British took control of the country from the Smith government for a year under which they organized elections which were won by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU. In the case of Mozambique, the local population became nationalistic and frustrated by the nations subservience to foreign rule.

Many acculturated indigenous Africans who were fully integrated into the Portuguese ruled social organisation of Mozambique, in particular those from urban centres, reacted to the independence claims with a mixture of discomfort and suspicion. The ruling Portuguese on the other hand responded with increased military presence and fast paced development projects which resulted in the construction of the Cabora bassa Dam for generation of Hydro power.

Among the freedom fighting movement which took to the battle field to achieve independence, FRELIMO, lost one of its top commanders, Filipe Samuel Magaia, who was shot dead by Lourenco Matola, a fellow guerrilla who was believed to have been employed by the Portuguese. Prior to the formation of the Soviet backed FRELIMO, the Soviets position regarding the nationalist movements in Mozambique was one of confusion. There were multiple independence movements in Mozambique and they (Soviet) had no sure knowledge that any would succeed.

As Barotseland pushes on the path to freedom, Zambia will deploy all manner of gymnastics to derail the process. They will bring in fast paced development projects, fake promises like the Mungu stadium, divide and rule tactics alongside intimidation and heavy deployment of military forces. On the part of Barotseland, collaborators will always be there like has been the case in every country that has ever fought for freedom but the key is for all movements and individual citizens to remain determined and focused.

Like Mandela, we may say, "There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere; What Barotseland is going through today, others went through it too."

THE AFRICAN UNION, IS IT COMPETENT IN CONFLICT RESOLUTIONS ON THE CONTINENT, BAROTSELAND QUESTION IN PARTICULAR?

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights’ 56th Ordinary Session is bound to take place from 21st April – 7th May 2015. The commission will, among other things, look at issues that affect and conflicts peoples' human rights. In view of the commission's role as a commission within the African union, AU, I am compelled to express my opinion of what is expected of the commission, having in mind the serious human rights violations reportedly perpetuated by AU member countries with impunity. I am not going to dwell on the objectives or roles of the African Union where the commission attributes its mandate, but on the legal rights of Barotseland, as in person under international public law. Is the African Union a serious platform to handle political conflicts, which are on the increase, across the continent or is it just a platform for sharing tips on how to rig elections in order to cling to power for the longest period by various African leaders?

It would be naive to believe that the African union is not able to solve conflicts happening in most parts of the African continent, as long as the administration of the African union is seemingly shifting in attitude towards the human rights abuses reports before her committed by member countries against the minorities calling for political freedom to self-determination. In short, if AU upholds the human rights as enshrined in UN charter, it will not fail in its duties of maintaining peace in the continent which needs urgent attention. The African Union, I believe does not oppose the right to self-determination of peoples, like in the case of Barotseland. The AU should come open to the idea and demand for an independent Barotseland, as evidenced by the legal and historical facts that Barotseland was never traded to a new country of Zambia by the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

There have been, however, some indications that the African union may not be decidedly more biased in favor of new independent territories in the continent than they are to territorial integrity. Undoubtedly, by referring to international legality, the case of Barotseland is among a few considered African prospective states as born out of legality, and requires the justice of law to bring it to conclusion not the barrel of a Gun. Unfortunately, most of armed conflicts in Africa resulted due to inefficiency by the African union to handle disputes that boarder on sovereignty integrity in good faith including the option of independence.

What is certain is that the African union leaders and members, just as countries in the world, are torn between continuing to support a traditional ally and setting a new course that would contradict the interests of that ally. Now, that the African union has a new chairman, president Robert Mugabe known as a critic of Britain's occupation of huge land in Zimbabwe , should work in supporting the efforts of the United Nations peace process that seeks for peaceful resolution to disputes that exist within member countries. It will be another assault on fundamental principles of international law if bipartisan stance takes center stage by the African union in handling the Barotseland question in favor of Zambia's abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, and human rights abuses against unarmed people of Barotseland. Should such step be taken by the AU it will go on record as having endorsed Zambia's illegal annexation of Barotseland and human rights abuses including the right to self determination which is an unalienable Right.

In the meantime, the violations of human rights in occupied Barotseland have in fact amplified despite their denunciations by respectable human rights organizations, such as the USA 2013 reports on human rights violations in Zambia or Human Rights Watch. The Barotseland Activists are subjected to inhuman treatment such as illegal arrests, long detentions, suppressed freedom of expression and freedom of association, deaths with some killed buried secretly, etc. In 2011, about 19 Barotse people who were among those that wanted to discuss the abrogated BA’64 were shot dead by the Zambian police or simply went missing to date.

In 2013, about 150 Barotse people were arrested by simply celebrating at the news that the Barotseland government is put in place, a case which was discontinued by Zambia after six months of detention without trial. The case of the Barotseland Youth Activists is also another example, who wrote a letter in 2014 of protests against Zambian's government sponsoring division amongst liberation leaders by luring some to disrespect others, led to the arrest of three youth leaders Muziba, Nayoto and Sikwibele who were later sentenced and are currently serving a three year imprisonment with hard labor.

Furthermore, the Barotseland self-determination quest is not bound to be solved by holding a referendum. The people of Barotseland have already objected to the idea of referendum in spite of calls by some Zambian political opposition parties and some civil rights societies to subject the issue to a referendum. The rejection is out of the fact that nothing gives Zambia the right to offer referendum to Barotseland, as in the absence of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, the two territories of Barotseland and Zambia are not bound to each other, and it is utter ambiguity and assault to the Law of treaties.

Even though the issue very rarely makes the headlines, the Barotseland conflict has a significant impact on the development of SADC region. Indeed, the lack of regional integration is a serious consequence: economic exchange between southern member states will lead to economic hardship of the region.

I, therefore, expect the African Union to handle the Barotseland impasse with seriousness it deserves as it borders on the very principle of international law, than military capabilities.

Barotseland must be let free.

Litunga Ni lyetu.

Page 3 of 242
The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.