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 made 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.
One of his successors and fifth republican president of Zambia, the late Michael C. Sata, 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 (The Barotseland Agreement 1964). 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 further 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 led 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!
A few years back, on 25th of May 2015 African Freedom Day commemoration, Kenneth Kaunda was made to publicly recite what some fanatical Evangelicals called “Blessing of Peace” upon the nation of Zambia in his capacity as the self-acclaimed ‘Founding Father’ of the Zambian nation. It was such a nostalgic performance, to say the least, for many people of Barotseland and to all those who value tenets of human rights, because while he recited those proclamations of peace and blessings upon the peaceful ‘Christian’ nation, a total of eight Barotse nationals, including the leader of Barotseland’s independence movement, Afumba Mombotwa and three members of his sworn Barotseland transitional government, were still languishing in Zambian jails for over six months without trial, on some trumped up treason-related charges emanating from the pre-independence 1964 Barotseland Agreement that Kaunda had unilaterally abrogated.
During that 2015 fiasco, 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 eulogised.
Although unity among diverse ethnicity is desirable in any nation, we know that the real meaning of the motto emanated from the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964. However, today due to systematic brainwash, many have come to understand the One Zambia One Nation Motto 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 because one who prays for PEACE must also act JUSTLY!
We, however, pray for real peace and unity in the nation of Zambia - not one held by old and weak threads of sloganeering.
As long as Kaunda will not come clean over the Barotseland saga, many Barotse will continue to hold the view that Kenneth Kaunda is a dishonourable man who entered his government and the nation he now claims to be father of, into an agreement he had no real intention of honouring, 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.
A Barotseland Post Commentary!