BAROTSELAND EDITORIAL COMMENT
Any undertaking, event or achievement may sometimes appear to be impossible, and only its actual occurrence will be enough to dispel every doubt and misconception. Indeed, how many things in history were looked upon as quite impossible, until they actually happened?
Pursuing the Barotseland dream is very hard and painstaking work especially that every caution is being taken to avoid bad lessons of history where avoidable spillage of blood was the price paid for national freedom. It is, therefore, important to regularly draw comfort and strength in words delivered by people who have been there and done what Barotseland is currently doing. These could give just the motivation needed. Their words could rekindle enthusiasm, re-energize efforts, dispel doubts, let the Barotse know they are not alone, and show that the ‘fight’ is not only worth it but also winnable.
The world freedom icon and statesman Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela of South Africa, a very keen admirer of Barotseland’s King Lewanika I, is attributed to have stated the words that form the title of today’s comment. Mandela in these words wishes to intimate that despite all the periodic and perpetual contradictions that Barotseland may encounter in pursuit of her dreams, she will one day reach that moment when it will be all over. In it, he also wishes to caution that it will not always appear evident that these dreams will be achieved, but he seems to imply that certainty only occurs when the pursuit has actually been attained. Therefore, if one quits along the way on account of the many doubts and contradictions experienced in the process, one would never really achieve their dreams.
Indeed, Barotseland’s pursuit for self-determination is not without many contradictions and doubts, to the point that sentiments of giving up are often common from both keen followers and participants alike. Expressions of doubt and cynicism are now a daily encounter, as many wish to have answers to their numerous questions. Some even demand to be given the exact date; day, month and year when Barotseland will be totally free! Their desperation is understandable because of a deep longing for rest in their own homeland. They know what five decades of servitude has offered or failed to offer Barotseland and her nationals, and their only hope now is that a free Barotseland holds the promise to a better life in every way imaginable.
However, the Barotse need to heed Mandela’s advice not to give up regardless of the many visible contradictory encounters along the way. They need to know that Barotseland’s total freedom will always appear impossible until it is finally achieved. They must also know that no one will ever give any specific date because self-determination and independence is not a singular event but a process. In fact, independence begins when one decides they want to be free. That is why it is called ‘self’ determination. To some, the day of independence began when Afumba Mombotwa and his Linyungandambo team decided to declare Barotseland independence on 8th September, 2011, and the world took notice. However, to others, independence began the day a more representative body of the Barotse National Council (BNC) affirmed and validated Barotseland freedom on 27th March 2012; and yet to others independence is an occurrence yet to come in some unforeseen future. Sadly, others still do not believe in the possibility of Barotseland self-rule.
The truth, however, is history and the world have already recorded both dates of 8th September 2011 and 27th March 2012 as the declaration and popular affirmation or validation of Barotseland independence respectively; but the question to the doubtful is ‘What date or event are you still waiting for to record Barotseland’s independence?’ While some are postponing Barotseland’s independence to some fairy tale day in which they dream to hear Zambia, the African Union or the United Nations declare that ‘Barotseland is now independent’, many others have already embraced Barotseland’s independence and are working daily to fully actualize it. They are already living this ‘independence’ realizing that self-determination is never ‘handed over’ but rather ‘taken’ by way of self-effort. These are those that continually share and affirm messages of Barotseland independence. They are the ones that participate in information distribution, funds and resource mobilization. They don’t ask ‘When is Barotseland going to be independent’ because they already know and are working to actualize the declared independence. Even the whole world knows Barotseland was long declared independent. Therefore, it will be unwise to expect and wait for yet another independence day, but rather, Barotseland’s preoccupation now must go towards growing and enhancing her already declared independence. That way the world will be compelled to affirm her independence through bilateral and multilateral recognition.
The world also knows that Barotseland has a government in transition; although not yet territorially rooted, it is nevertheless a legally constituted government in conformity with international law and politics. In fact, the world is already talking to this government. The world also knows that the declared state of Barotseland is a constitutional monarchy in which the monarch is ceremonial and non-political, while the people make all the national decisions. Therefore, the Litungaship is not expected to have a national political stand contrary to the people’s declared wishes.
Knowledge and decisive actions are, therefore, what the Barotse need to have at this moment. Why would anyone stand on the side-lines watching others ‘fight’ and ‘die’ daily for that which is for common national good and not even ask what it is they could do to participate? And without any excuse, everyone is expected to do something. One does not need to be based in Barotseland. Those in the Diaspora could help mobilizing resources, approach international offices of power on behalf of Barotseland or engage in civil non-violent protests at relevant international fora held close to where they reside. The Barotse should not move one step forward and two steps backwards; Ku ya pindingwa ku kuta pindingwa. It is time they decisively moved on growing their independence!
BAROTSELAND POST EDITORIAL COMMENT
As a territory emerging out of five decades of subjugation, Barotseland now needs to cultivate a deep sense of nationalism to find her true self esteem. We are not recommending a senseless misguided nationalism but one based on restoring and building a truly healthy national identity that will anchor the furtherance of sensible cultural and national values. The Barotse are a proud and independent people throughout history. Momentarily, they will tolerate pain and inconvenience, symbolic of the elephant nation that they are. However, a time comes when even the elephant must arouse its aggressive self to determine its own righteous course of destiny. Responsible nationalism will unite Barotseland towards her deep-rooted values of self-determination, independence and respect for the indelible rights of all her people.
While it may appear better for an independent and self-determined state to focus on nurturing patriotism, a pariah state such as Barotseland must firstly inculcate nationalism in all her citizenry. A patriot will stand and fight because land and territory is under threat, but a nationalist must fight because identity, culture and values are undermined. Therefore, before Barotseland can fight to defend territory she must momentarily strive to restore and inculcate independent national thought and unique identity. Barotseland must use any means necessary to win this war against national mental servitude, and fortunately, this current battle need not be fought with guns, clubs, spears or pebble. It must, however, be tenaciously faced with an equal sense of patriotism.
Sadly, five decades of brainwash and blind patriotism to a Zambian state that was not even theirs have made the Barotse lose their own self worth as a self governing state. In 1964, the nation of Barotseland was promised a continued and guaranteed self-determination within the borders of the novice state of Zambia through a treaty spelt-out in ‘black and white’. Barotseland was, however, slapped with surrogacy and forced annexation as Zambia’s new governors, with no regard for law and tenets of democratic governance, sought to defraud the entire nation by unilaterally terminating the 1964 pre-independence treaty. Luckily, Barotseland had practiced both law and tenets of good governance for over a century before Kenneth Kaunda’s treachery, and history teaches that as far back as the dawn of the 19th century, Litunga Mulambwa was already instituting notable legal reforms which saw vices such as slavery abolished in his Kingdom, and became the first to do so this side of the equator. Long before Zambia’s independence, Barotseland was already governed under a vibrant form of decentralized system that made her people truly self-determined. Tribal and conquered territories were often left with some form of internal autonomy. For instance, Butoka, Bunkoya, Bulovale, Bushanjo and Busubiya all had their own regional governments or kutas, which were themselves replicas of Namuso, the central government. By 1964, Barotseland was an already functioning state with over a century of self-governance. Even Barotseland’s very interactions with the British Empire were not under 'colonialism' but 'protectionism'. Barotseland was not a property of the British crown but rather a protected and mutual friend supported by treaties. It was this relationship that was guaranteed to endure in her interaction with the new state of Zambia, had the latter been a respecter of law.
Now Barotseland is in captivity, and her captor wishes her to believe she is a vanquished nation, never to bear her own identity. In their own scheme of things, Zambia’s ruling elite wished that by now, no one in Barotseland would have the faintest vision of separate statehood. The scheme was a dangerously calculated manipulation of facts of law and history by Kenneth Kaunda and his cronies who envisioned a Zambia devoid of any fabric of Barotseland. No trace of her residue would be visible once they were done with the old nation. The scheme mainly enforced a sequential abolishment of Barotseland’s legal status within Zambia, replacing it with repeated sloganeering of the purported national unity through a superficial non-legal national motto. Erasing the memory and evidence of Barotseland was simply effective but for a while. After all, the human mind has one weakness; it can be conditioned to forget or retain both new and old information.
However, while Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP led Zambian government employed tactics only reminiscent of Hitler’s Nazi Gestapo to achieve their diabolic intention, the Barotse were engineering ways of preserving the facts they considered immutably sacred for their future generations. After all, even the human mind has a tendency to sometimes refuse to relinquish deeply embedded information of choice, and no amount of pressure exerted on it could successfully erase such truth as one’s identity.
Nevertheless, the Kaunda regime still tried, and if anyone dared to resist the brain wash, one did not deserve to see the light of day. And so the program claimed success as all historical records printed on paper and other media were discarded. New record books skewed to favor the captor’s plans were printed in their place, and what should beat all reasonable logic is how Kaunda and his crew believed they could indeed obliterate an entire nation, and hope to get away with it. Considering that nations are too complex to simply vanish in one or repeated feats of magic, Barotseland could not so easily be expunged. The truth is, it could never be erased, but perhaps they could explain it away by misleading unsuspecting minds of successive generations that Barotseland was never more than a province of Zambia. Anything more was merely the work of rebellious active imagination.
A question must then be asked why a monolithic state would need to sign a pre-independence agreement with a mere province, essentially signing an international treaty with itself! Falsehoods must then be peddled to suggest that the so called treaty was just a mere assurance made with the Barotse ruling elite to perpetuate the privileged ‘positioning’ they once enjoyed under the British. Is it any wonder that Zambian authorities insist on calling it ‘Barotse’ or ‘BRE’ agreement rather than by its actual legal name, ‘Barotseland’ Agreement 1964? The former implies an agreement with a group of people within the same state while the latter spells a ‘state to state’ agreement. And indeed, the Barotseland Agreement 1964 was a ‘state to state’ accord. One distinct state, Barotseland, was signing a treaty with another state, Northern Rhodesia, which was becoming Zambia, while Britain - another sovereign state, signed as a witness!
Secondly, either Kenneth Kaunda was really ignorant of the law on citizenship, or was plainly contemptuous to it, when he did not ask the Barotse to renounce their Barotseland citizenship before acquiring their new Zambian 'citizenship'. In fact, the Barotse were told to simply acquire the new Zambian national identity card to enable them to interact and travel within the regions of Zambia. Prior to this, the Barotse had separate national identity cards called Situpa for Barotseland nationality. It can be argued, therefore, that the Barotse in Zambia are technically and legally of questionable citizenship, and Zambian politics amplify this fact in derogatory statements such as, ‘no Lozi will ever rule Zambia!’ In fact, the only basis that united the two was irreparably severed in 1969 by Zambia’s unilateral abrogation of the 1964 agreement through an ACT of parliament, and certainly by Barotseland’s formal acceptance of its abrogation at the 2012 Barotse National Council.
It is, therefore, this suppressed Barotseland nationality that the Barotse must now awaken, and they must do so immediately to be able to move forward as a self-determined nation that they have always been. Nationalism the world over is a very strong instrument for uniting people against forced assimilation. Love for one's nation is imperative as it propels someone to strive for their nation’s independence from domination, and it expresses a deep concern for one's own country in an active political way.
Some may often think of nationalism only in narrow and parochial terms. However, to the subjugated and oppressed, it is often an essential ingredient for fighting suppression. Therefore, fighting for one’s right of self-determination, or even freedom of conscience, association and free expression, becomes a national duty to the nationalist. It is neither evil nor sinful to reclaim what belongs to you, and ideally one does not always need to pick up arms to fight for their economic, political, cultural or national values. Examples exist globally where nations attained their self-determination without fighting bloody battles. Nevertheless, and if need be, it would be the nationalist’s patriotic duty to pick up arms and fight in defense of national entitlements.
May the spirit of nationalism awaken in Barotseland sooner rather than later.
BAROTSELAND POST EDITORIAL COMMENT
There is no room for ‘tribalism’ in independent Barotseland. In fact, anyone talking about ‘chasing’ this or that group of people from Barotseland has no CLUE what Barotseland independence is really about and MUST be TOTALLY ignored if they resist correct enlightenment.
‘Tribalism’ without misanthropy (strong urge to do evil to someone or everyone out of perceived self-preservation) is fairly harmless. If you are optimistic about the potential of the typical human, you will see out-groups as opportunities for mutually beneficial trade. You will not say, "He does not belong to our tribe, so let us get rid of him." You will instead say, "He does not belong to our tribe, but he can still be very useful for our tribe. Therefore, let us welcome and embrace him for mutual benefit." - Tribalism, Misanthropy, and the Lesser Evil by Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, in Library of Economics and Liberty (emphasis added).
Barotseland, as an independent sovereign state will still be open to all people groups and nationalities because the national constitution will respect all INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed human and peoples’ rights coupled with GOOD DEMOCRATIC governance based on UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE (regular elections) with our LITUNGA Ngocana King as the constitutional head of state. While the elective Prime minister will head the civil government and parliament, the Mulonga (Royal Authority) will constitute a separate chamber of parliament.
The independent Barotseland is a DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTIONAL monarchy and not a TOTALITARIAN monarchy. Therefore, no TRIBE or NATIONALITY will be ‘CHASED’ or excluded from Barotseland. Not even Nyanjas, Bembas or any other Zambian tribes because after over SIXTY years of our close SOCIAL and CULTURAL intercourses with Zambians and other nationalities, it is only natural to expect that some of our own BAROTSE (LOZI) citizens will be Nyanjas, Bembas or any other Zambian tribes and nationalities which we may have interacted with through marriage.
In fact, some will even qualify to be LOZI by applying for Barotseland CITIZENSHIP through our constitutional laws, and that will not make them second class citizens. Barotseland will truly be an interesting country because we will even have a situation where a BEMBA or NYANJA becomes a LOZI! This will be shocking to many of our Zambian counterparts who may have grown under Kenneth Kaunda’s brainwash that ‘reduced’ LOZI nationality to a mere non-existent Zambian tribe they called ‘LOZI’.
Therefore, we all really need to think OUTSIDE our little TRIBAL mindsets.
Suffice to say that no Nkoya, Mbunda or anyone for that matter will be ‘chased’ from Barotseland, on account of their ethnicity, because the struggle for a FREE Barotseland is not about TRIBALISM but rather about claiming our rights of SELF-DETERMINATION together as one UNITED nation that we have been for centuries. In fact, we expect to see the growth and promotion of all our unique cultures and market them for national tourism. Ceremonies such as the Kazanga, Makishi, Mukanda, Siomboka, Sipelu, Likenge, Mikiti and many others must be grown as unique tourism products to compliment the already thriving Kuomboka ceremony.
Barotseland citizens, must therefore, be well advised to desist from and avoid talking about tribalism in such negative ways as debating who is more ‘LOZI’ than the other, because, in reality, no one is more LOZI than the other in Barotseland. Such a debate was deliberately engineered by those that sought to divide us so that they could more easily perpetuate the colonization of a weakened and divided Barotseland. Alui/Luyanas are not more LOZI than Nkoyas, Mbundas, Tokas, Totelas, Subiyas or any of the other 35 PLUS tribal, ethnic and linguistic people groups of Barotseland.
WE ARE ALL ONE BAROTSE / LOZI / MALOZI / BAROTZISH PEOPLE! TUKONGOTE!
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."