BAROTSELAND POST EDITORIAL, 21st May, 2016
President Lungu of Zambia will be well advised to exercise restraint in his political outbursts about Barotseland. He is neither a native of Barotseland nor does he have any inheritance in Barotseland, especially not as president of Zambia. In fact, since Kenneth Kaunda’s 1969 unilateral abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, and every successive Zambian government after that refusing to restore the defunct pre-independence agreement, with the Barotse having formally accepted that abrogation in 2012, Edgar Lungu has no more right to demand that the Barotse stop talking about the future of their homeland because he, as president of Zambia, is devoid of all and any such rights. His lot is to merely wait for what is coming his way, as the Barotse he is today ordering to keep quiet have more right to talk about Barotseland than he does.
What Lungu and his kind need is a candid lesson, not only in international law and politics but also in both the history and political governance of the Barotse, so that he may perhaps not embarrass himself so openly by thinking that he still has LOCUS STANDI in Barotseland. He must not forget that one cannot eat one’s own cake and still have it. Such is Zambia’s fate.
That Zambia unilaterally abrogated and annulled the agreement that she signed in earnest, without compulsion, is now an open secret. How can Zambia then wish to continue benefitting from rights and privileges subsisting under a treaty that has irretrievably broken? If Lungu and his government think they are still in charge of Barotseland, why have they turned Barotseland into a military occupied territory? Why do they have thousands of soldiers and security troops stationed all over Barotseland? Who are they afraid of, and why do they rule Barotseland with such police and military hardware? Why do they keep arresting the Barotse in their multiplied hundreds with impunity?
Now that the Barotse have elected to exercise their human right of self-determination and decide the future of their homeland, neither Lungu nor any other outsider will dictate what the Barotse must want, but rather the people of Barotseland, who are the inherent owners of Barotseland, should have the final say.
As for Lubosi Imwiko II, he must certainly know that the glory of any king is in his people, and that indeed the Litungaship of Barotseland is of the people of Barotseland. He must also know that it is his royal duty to facilitate and augment what his people have desired. In 2012 he called for a PIZO, the Barotse National Council (BNC), understandably to seek to know the mind of his people on where they wanted to go and take their nation politically. Without any doubt, the people of Barotseland echoed in no uncertain tones that what they now really wanted was to fully govern Barotseland on their own without the treachery from Lusaka. What more does Lubosi Imwiko still need to know? His people already said what they meant to say and that they meant every word they said, then and now, to the extent that their unanimous resolve was even penned down in the March 2012 BNC resolutions.
Therefore, the words of the Hebrew Mordecai to Esther in Biblical times, when he sensed his then privileged cousin’s hesitation in facilitating the deliverance of the Jewish nation in captivity where she reigned as Queen by virtue of her unexpected sudden marriage to the Persian King Ahasuerus (Xerxes), and as recorded in Esther 4:14, would most appropriately apply to Lubosi Imwiko II in this matter;
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews (Barotse) will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Mordecai had passionately appealed to queen Esther and provoked her to then do her part in bringing the much desired relief to the Jewish people.
Nevertheless, it may be that Lungu and Lusaka for now pride in the strength of their military and police, but they should not forget that although they can arrest or kill all the Barotse, they would never be able to arrest or kill the dream and idea of independence whose time has now fully come. The white colonialists tried that strategy before, and the results are all around as evidenced by politically independent Africa. What the Barotse are going through is not an isolated case but rather an inevitable reality that was only postponed in 1964.
That Barotseland will exist independent of Zambia is no longer farfetched, and Zambia will be well advised to prepare for peaceful co-existence with Barotseland as her neighbor. One way or another Barotseland will rid herself of all Zambian subjugation.
BAROTSELAND POST EDITORIAL, 10th January, 2016
As our comment this week, we wish to quote and agree with Rev. Muyunda Chanakila of Mongu Catholic diocese, although now based in Rome, when he says that the sum total of all the actions done by successive Governments of Zambia on the issue of the Barotseland Agreement 1964, which we have seen so far, are empty of moral law. Sadly, however, as the priest notes, indeed it is like the Zambian government, and Zambians generally, have stopped having regard for morality! ‘A human being is endowed by God with the gift of practical reasoning’, therefore, we need to forthwith stop for a moment and think through what we are doing to our own brothers. This injustice going on stubs the very heart of God. Rev. Muyunda is right when he courageously puts it that ‘No right thinking person could condone this kind of injustice. It is unacceptable and outrageous’.
The right reverend further notes, and according to Emmanuel Kant, that, ‘The only good thing is a good will, and that an action can only be good if its maxim (the principle behind it) is duty to the moral law’. The priest, however, laments that what he and many other well meaning servants of God have been seeing so far is bad will which does not honour the moral law. ‘How does the keeping of the Barotse people incarcerated in prisons help in resolving the Barotseland Issue?’ Father Muyunda asks rhetorically! ‘Are the Barotse not the same people whom Zambians, Northern Rhodesians then, begged to enter into an Agreement with?’ he wonders. ‘Isn’t there a signed historic document to prove this?’ Rev. Muyunda finally observes the answer to his questions when he says, ‘It is like we have a country which claims to be a Christian Nation but does not adhere to either the moral principals or the International laws that deal with matters of this nature.’ This, we wish to think and agree, is the reasoning at the very core of Zambian behavior: Shout loudest about your Christianity while hoping that your pronounced holiness will somehow ‘stick’ even when your actions are in direct contradiction to your professed sanctity!
The reverend father asks the question again, ‘What is the right thing to do?’ as he prescribes the answer by saying that the right thing to do is ‘What the Catholic Church Bishops have been advising the Government and all the stakeholders to do, which advice is: firstly release all the Barotse political prisoners, stop all aggressions against each other, no more use of force, enter into an honest and transparent dialogue with the people of Barotseland’. This, he advises, ‘should be done in the presence of all the stakeholders and that the decisions made should be respected’. The father believes, and we agree with him, that this is what an honest person who loves justice and has a fear of God in his heart would do!
Unfortunately, as the priest has observed, this advice has been falling on deaf ears thus far. He warns, however, that this is how far servants of God in the Church can go! They can only advise and guide the parties involved. Although the priest spoke in his personal capacity as a servant of God, his assurance that he was very well aware of what the Catholic Bishops have said over this matter as mentioned should be a great relief, and should indeed inspire hope that this message will reach all the parties involved so that Justice, Peace and Reconciliation may be served.
Indeed! ‘We all have a duty to TRUTH.’ John 8:32
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  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.
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!
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."
News reported in some sections of the Zambian media that president Lungu wishes to engage with Barotse Royal Establishment and the activists so that they could show him the boundaries of what he referred to as the “so called Barotseland” so that he could possibly allow for a referendum, should not excite Barotseland even a bit as president Lungu is at the very least bluffing or he has no knowledge of what the Barotseland issue is really about.
The fact is, the people of Barotseland do not even require a referendum to be conducted on account that there is no legal reference of their existence within the union with Zambia. Zambia used its parliament to destroy the treaty that it did not create. Therefore, Zambia should instead respect the views of the people at the March Barotse National Council (BNC) of 2012 by withdrawing its administration from the territory they do not legally own.
Referendum in Exercise of Self-Determination
Recently Barotseland Government Lawyers wrote this on the issue of using a referendum as a means of implementing the disengagement between Barotseland and Zambia. Here below we share some of what they had to say on this matter.
The exercise of the right to self-determination requires, by its very nature, the expression of the will of the people. The holding of a referendum in order to establish the will of the people with respect to a change of status matters is a widely accepted act of self-determination. By way of example, Scotland recently held such a referendum on its independence. The Conference of Experts however noted that the act of self-determination is not reduced to a referendum but is seen as an integral process to which the referendum is but one of the elements. They further cautioned that where only votes count, a people or community which is numerically inferior has no control over its destiny. To this end, if a referendum is to be conducted then it has to be carefully formulated and the group of people allowed to vote clearly defined in order to ensure that the people of Barotseland are the ones that ultimately make the decision. If the vote is left to all of Zambia then the voices of the people of Barotseland can be quite easily drowned and the essence of the referendum defeated.
However, on the other hand, the people of Barotseland do not require a referendum to be conducted on account that there is no legal reference of their existence within the union with Zambia. Zambia used its parliament to destroy the treaty that it did not create. If Zambia was led by clever and sane people, they would have respected the views of the people at BNC of 2012 by withdrawing its administration from the territory they do not legally own. Over 50,000 people had gathered at BNC 2012 to resolve that Barotseland shall now become independent and it shall then determine its future whether good or bad.
It is not within the powers of Zambia to decide the fate and prospect of Barotseland; the independence of Barotseland is not hinged on Zambia to decide. Barotseland has a right to decide on its own, just like it did in 1964 when it resolved to join Zambia, and in the same way, it has decided to come out of it. There is no ambiguity in that.
The people of Scotland went for a Referendum because there was nothing that they had agreed upon with Britain that they did not respect; the rules and conditions of their union were rightfully followed, but still the people of Scotland felt they were lacking the element of being Scottish as a people coming from the independent Nation of Scotland. So they sought to come out of it, and the legality of any case determines whether referendum should be considered or not.
As for the case between Barotseland and Zambia it is such a straight forward one; it requires the respect and sincerity of both parties to be exercise maturity, or else it can result in deadly conflict which could have been avoided.
The true position of Barotseland within Zambia is that, Barotseland wants total independence granted through the 2012 BNC; to actualize it, it will go ahead to sue Zambia in the International Court of Justice just to lay claim and charges against Zambia, so that Zambia can now pay for all the misfortune it has caused on Barotseland in the court of law. If Zambia feels it has a legal claim over Barotseland, then let it advance it.
It must be noted that previous attempts by the Barotseland to engage the Government of Zambia in any form of meaningfully dialogue has fallen on deaf ears. If Zambia continues to skate around the matter of peaceful disengagement by bringing in no-issues such the referendum proposal then they are clearly showing that they are not serious about settling this matter peaceably.
We, therefore, wish to caution Barotseland nationals not to be duped by promises of referendum. If Zambians are failing to organize elections whose outcomes are agreeable to all, what guarantee is there that the organized referendum will yield acceptable outcomes?
If Zambia does not with draw their administration, the more credible routed is to take them to an international Court where they can produce their legal claim to administration of Barotseland.
Barotseland should not lose focus by paying credence to Mr. Lungu’s statement. In our view he is just setting up for the Lozi vote in Zambia’s 2016 general election. If he is serious he must firstly talk about his plan for withdrawing his troops from Barotseland, releasing all political prisoners in Zambian jails, such as His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Afumba Mombotwa, Administrator General, Rt. Hon. Likando Pelekelo, Secretary of State for Agriculture, Rt. Hon. Sylvester Kalima, Deputy Secretary of State for Agriculture and Rt. Hon. Masiye Masiyaleti, Deputy Secretary of Defense, including the four BNYL officials; Boris Maziba, Nayoto Mwenda, Sikwibela Wasilota and Hon. Mubita Waluka, who are unjustly serving jail sentences. These must be freed without any conditions and further delay.
Besides, The Zambian government already knows what the people of Barotseland want, not only through the BNC 2012 resolutions, but also the Rodger Chongwe Independent Commission of Inquiry which to date government has refuse to make public, only because the commission recommended the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. So what do they now want to achieve through the proposed referendum other than creating a platform to dupe Lozis once and for all?
Malozi, alutone! Busile. Bulozi kibwaluna Kupale Kumane. Abashi referendum!
INSANITY is sometimes defined as doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. The Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was a wonderful document which guaranteed the semi-autonomy of Barotseland within Zambia. It guaranteed that, among other things, Barotseland would have its own government headed by the Litunga, king of Barotseland, own parliament through the elective Katengo Legislative Council, own budget and treasury through the Barotse Native Treasury, and own laws and judiciary through Barotse Native Courts. This and much more were all listed and tabulated in BLACK and WHITE. Not only were they SIGNED for by all PARTIES involved but were also REFLECTED in the ZAMBIA INDEPENDENCE ORDER and ZAMBIA INDEPENDENCE ACT, both of 1964, with CLAUSES 2 and 8 specified in the agreement to ensure that Zambia would not pass any LEGAL changes or enact any laws inconsistent with the provisions of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? After all the agreement was ‘WATER tight’ , and the Barotseland King was representing the wishes of not only his people but also his heirs and his privy council on one hand, and Kenneth Kaunda was representing his government and all successive Zambian governments on the other. Her majesty the Queen’s government and the commonwealth were represented by Duncan Sandys, as they all SIGNED in MUTUAL agreement. The document was RIGHTLY called The BAROTSELAND (and not Barotse) Agreement 1964, signifying that it was a STATE to STATE agreement, and not an agreement with a ‘tribe’ ethnic within a single state!
HOWEVER, in spite of all the said caveats and cautionary clauses put in the BLACK and WHITE documented LEGAL agreement, Zambia, because of her military hardware and personnel, did not hesitate to UNILATERALLY annul and ABROGATE the agreement no sooner had it been signed, while the UNITED KINGDOM and the rest of the world looked on and hid behind the safe diplomatic veil of NON-INTERFERENCE in the INTERNAL affairs of the now SOVEREIGN republic of Zambia. No known sanctions, punitive or cautionary, were imposed on Zambia to this day! Instead we saw the government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland move on to treat Zambia and her default in the spirit of ‘SEE no Evil, HEAR no Evil and SPEAK no Evil’. Not even once was the treachery of Kenneth Kaunda’s government reprimanded. The torture, killing or arrests of Barotse nationals who have sought to remind Kenneth Kaunda and all his successors of the terms of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 over the years has largely gone unabated, until Barotseland decided on 27th March 2012 that Zambia had scorned her enough!
MANY in the world who applauded Barotseland’s courageous independence declaration in 2012 may, however, take Barotseland for a joke should she turn back now, falling for the sweet enticement and flattery of ‘PEACE’ and ‘UNITY’ within Zambia, even when she has had neither JUSTICE nor EQUITY! It is no longer a SECRET at all that Zambia cannot be TRUSTED with Legal provisions and agreements. Treachery and dishonesty is largely applauded and glorified in both popular and some customary cultures of Zambia while such traits are vehemently loathed in Barotseland. Barotseland can NOT and should NOT, therefore, be seen to be going two steps forward only to go five steps backward. Barotseland can NOT and should NOT even think that doing the same thing they did in 1964, and with the same characters, will NOW yield different results just because the year today is 2015! Barotseland may never have another opportunity to free herself from the cycle of oppression she has suffered in the last fifty years!
WHILE it is EXCUSABLE to make a mistake once it would be plain ABSURDITY repeating it. Similarly, ONCE BITTEN, TWICE SHY, as the popular idiom goes. Give power to the SCORNFUL and they will use it against you, while laughing at how plain stupid you are! Zambia has already demonstrated how scornful she can be towards Barotseland. Successive Zambian governments have tortured and killed many Barotse people, and yet do not even have the decency to acknowledge their misdeeds. They will kill nineteen Barotse sons and daughters in cold blood today but will report only two dead, and then tomorrow deny any killings all together because mass media reports are allegedly 'inadmissible' in certain international arbitration! Is Barotseland not too familiar with such treatment already?
CAN Zambia be trusted with yet another agreement? Who will even police the second agreement if Great Britain and the powerful world could not police the first? That they even want another agreement could not possibly be out of care and concern for Barotseland's 'unsustainable' economy! Every Barotse national knows that Barotseland is as viable an economy as some of her neighbors’. The fact that Barotseland is impoverished today; is it not due to deliberate and calculated neglect from Zambia’s central government? After all, wasn’t Barotseland the most economically sound territory at Zambia’s independence in 1964 outside of the line of rail? Wasn’t the economy of Barotseland purposely underdeveloped in every way so that it can precisely be perpetually dependent on Zambia? Why would the economy of Barotseland be a concern now when it has not been for the past five decades? Wasn’t Botswana’s, then Bechuanaland, economic viability also called into question at independence with those opposed to her independence proposing that it be ceded to South Africa under circumstances similar to Barotseland? What did the Batswana people do? They resolved freedom was more precious than their 'fear' of failure, and went on to independence with only cattle rearing as the mainstay of their economy long before diamond mining became a reality. Where is Botswana’s economy now in comparative terms? Is it not a model economy in Africa topping all positive charts, not only in good governance but also in prudent utilization of resources, while the majority of countries considered viable then wallow in despicable poverty?
MALOZI bakatona lili kobaya kobakuwa? Isn’t Barotseland’s cashew potential output and value alone equal to Zambia’s depleting and fluctuating copper profits on global markets? If they say Barotseland has no natural resources, why do they then mortgage Barotseland to foreign financiers in return for electoral campaign funds? Don’t their own parliamentary reports indicate officially that they are now exploring for diamonds, gas, copper, petroleum, gold and much more in Barotseland? Could this be the real reason they suddenly want Barotseland to stay so desperately? Isn’t their current constitution in DRAFT empowering their presidency now to have power to rape and exploit even Barotseland natural resources at will? Is it not stated clearly in the same DRAFT that all land, rivers, forests and any other natural resources in Barotseland will now belong to the ‘state’ through their PRESIDENCY to use and exploit, meaning the Litungaship will now no longer be the repository and custodian of all land in Barotseland on behalf of and for the people of Barotseland?
IS it so hard to see the obvious and for once state the facts as they are? They say only a few rubble-rousers and fanatics like Afumba Mombotwa with his Linyungandambo, Nyambe Namushi with his BFM and Wainyae Sinyinda with his BNFA want independence. Was the March 2012 Barotse National Council composed only of a few fanatical rubble rousers? Were their Royal Highnesses Barotse princes and princesses, the Indunas at all tiers of Barotse governance to the village and household level, who UNANIMOUSLY echoed and endorsed INDEPENDENCE, only but a few fanatical RUBBLE ROUSERS? What INSOLENCE and CONTEMPT! Why won’t the African Union, the United Nations and the world at large respect the wishes and rights of the Barotse or are the Barotse people sub humans unworthy of the universal human rights of SELF-DETERMINATION? Hasn’t Barotseland told the world what she really wants? When Barotseland says she wants independence it means she wants to make her own life! It means Barotseland will grow her own food and plantains, catch her own fish, and dig her own holes in search of anything Almighty God has willed to her. It means everyone from the smallest villager to the Litungaship must and will be willing to stand and build Barotseland! AND it is true it will not be easy, and she will definitely require help and will seek to forge socio-economic and political partnerships globally! Nobody is under any such illusion; that Barotseland national building will be easy! But isn’t it also true that the same people saying that Barotseland cannot stand without them are also heavily dependent on the good will of the international community? Are they not almost choking with domestic and foreign debt? So what really could Barotseland be afraid of?
THEREFORE, Barotseland and her current generations should not let posterity judge them harshly. Having already tried and tasted the fake semi-autonomy agreements with Zambia signed fifty years ago, which resulted into her current bitter ANGUISH, Barotseland should now fearlessly seize the MOMENT and try something else; the sweetness of freedom through total INDEPENDENCE! Those persuading Barotseland to stay in an abusive relationship will be the same ones who will continue to watch her suffer like she has done for fifty years. After all they already knew that Barotseland’s agreement partners had defaulted and abrogated, but they chose to keep quiet, and will continue to stand aloof as they watch her suffer once again, should the second or third agreements fail. It is only Barotseland that can truly emancipate herself. Even courts of law do not compel estranged spouses to continue living together as they may begin to hurt each other fatally! Barotseland should now stand firm and SHOW the world in NO UNCERTAIN terms that INDEPENDENCE, and NOTHING less, is her RALLYING cry! Those so far perished equally expect nothing less. Then will their souls and spirits truly rest in peace, knowing that their bloody sacrifice was not in vain!
The very few Barotse people, if any, not desirous or sure of Barotseland Independence have the liberty to Repatriate or Expatriate to Zambia or any other country of their choosing where they think their ECONOMIC and other aspirations will be fulfilled, rather than hinder the majority of Barotse nationals who have already UNANIMOUSLY declared INDEPENDENCE! Those away and not sure can equally stay still until they think Barotseland is viable enough for them to return. This way everyone’s aspirations will be FULFILLED!
MUYOYANDE MALOZI, LITUNGA NI LYETU!