Political Editor, Barotseland Post

Political Editor, Barotseland Post

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When dawn's come
And Barotseland is born
Born from the blood of those who paid the ultimate price
Our freedom shall be priceless
Born from the never-healing scars of torture
Our freedom shall be total
Born from the pain of amputated limbs
Our freedom shall be limitless
Born from the sound of breaking bone
Our freedom shall be beautiful
Born from the betrayal of broken promises
Our freedom shall be prosperous
Born from decades of neglect
Our freedom shall be magnanimous
Born from total economic misery
Our freedom shall be sweet
Born from the ashes of the Barotseland Agreement 1964
Our freedom shall be fortified
Born from state betrayal
State treachery
State trickery
Sate thuggery
State hooliganism
State gangsterism
State mobsterism
Our freedom shall be truly democratic
The traitors shamed
Shameless hoodlums
Left barefaced

When dawn's come
And Barotseland's born again
Barotseland
A country we shall truly call our own
Our own country
To which all shall belong
Short and tall
Fat and all
Man and woman
Young and old
Baby and child
Truly free
Unconditionally free
Totally free
Unreservedly free
Categorically free
Entirely free
Absolutely free

When dawn's come
And the people of Barotseland are free
Free from bondage
Bondage of slavery
Bondage of oppression
Bondage of repression
Bondage of servitude
Bondage of captivity
No burden is heavier to bear
Than slavery
No burden is heavier to bear
Than oppression
No burden is heavier to bear
Than repression
No burden is heavier to bear
Than servitude
No burden is heavier to bear
Than captivity
Time to remove the bandages
Revealing scars
Scars we bear
Scars we proudly wear
As badges of valour
Testimony of the brutality we had to bear
The brutality we had to endure
Treated like animals ever
While the world watched
And turned a blind eye  
When dawn's come
And Barotseland is born
Our ancestors finally smiling
In their graves
Ululating
After turning, and turning and turning
Edgily, restlessly and anxiously
For decades on end
Their spirits failing to find eternal peace
Their pride and glory finally restored
Our children smiling
Old men dancing
Old women ululating
Finally coming out of hiding
Freedom, freedom, freedom at last

When dawn's come
And Barotseland is born
Mbengenge shall deliver us to freedom
Mbengenge everywhere
Tears of joy flowing freely
Finding their way down the cheeks Of an old man
Barotseland is free
A fulfilment of a dream
Gallant men and women sacrificed
Their pride and honour
To deliver us from
Lucifer Di'bolos
We've secured Bulozi
Free at last.

By Saleya Kwalombota

The right to self-determination has a wide scope. In a cultural sense it covers the right to speak one’s language, to profess one’s religion, to celebrate one’s culture. The right to self-determination also has a political aspect, where a people or nation may have the right to have its own political parties, and have a form of political autonomy. The most known form of self-determination and the most far reaching is the right to secede from a state in order to form own state. This right is only limited by the principle of territorial integrity, which implies that external borders of a state are not to be changed without the consent of the state. This does not impair Barotseland's independence resolve since Barotseland boundary preceded the "unitary" formation of Zambia, neither is it seceding but reverting to it's original status.

The formal Barotseland declaration of independence of 27th March 2012 would have not been done had Zambia being willing to reach the peaceful settlement of Barotseland impasse. For Barotseland the most important issue is the recognition of her statehood, since she holds the right of being a separate state derived from being a British protectorate before the birth of Zambia.

International community should follow the rationale of Western European states in the case of Kosovo to recognize Barotseland. Recognition in Kosovo case was granted notwithstanding Serbia’s claim to territorial integrity. Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council remained valid, respecting Serbia’s territorial integrity. This means that Kosovo was recognized while at the same time there was a legally binding document in force demanding (implicitly) not to recognize. The territorial integrity of Zambia falls off in Barotseland issue as Zambia is made up of two former British protectorate nations of which Barotseland is part of, not Zambia.

The argument that Barotseland case has no precedence could be likened to that of Kosovo which was a special case too. It was argued in Kosovo case by UN envoy that independence was the only option to realize a politically stable and economically viable state and additional argument for independence was that the uncertainty about the future of Kosovo threatened democratic development and ethnic reconciliation. The Kosovo issue was not a precedent, but a case on its own. The recognition of statehood by the international community of any country is unilateral act and are no rules in international law which state how many states have to recognize. Furthermore, there are no rules in international law on how big a state should be, how many inhabitants it should have or whether it is economically viable. Therefore, international community should act in good faith and recognize Barotseland's statehood before Zambia commits more atrocities against unarmed people of Barotseland.

Barotseland forward!

The very heart of the human condition and the survival of any people depend on having a righteous VISION. This article will act as a dialectic framework for interrogating political and public vision of governance system that is generated from the VISION of constitutional Government in a Monarch Nation State. However, not in any way invalidating opinions by some people who have argued that the current BRE structure is sufficient to constitute a transitional government.

The unwritten laws of Barotseland speak of peace, order and good governance, but these things do not constitute vision. They are protocols of DO, DON'T and PROCEDURAL. A vision requires an understanding and acceptance of the proper steps necessary to actually bring about PEACE, ORDER and GOOD governance. It’s how we reconstitute our governance structures to get at constitutional government from here, which matters. There should be no resistance to change and there should be political will to reconstitute our "traditional" forms of political representation and governance practices, to maintain control of our own affairs, and to have government that will be accountable to the people. The government where ministries and government departments will be audited and make the report public. Today if someone raises a question against the usage of funds the BRE collects from the Barotseland properties doted across the territory, such a person may be echoed with a sharp reaction and considered having committed unforgivable crime against the monarchical authority. It is not even easy to make an appointment for a meeting with the Litunga; one has to go through KUTA procedures that at the end become a source of bribery and corruption. Unfortunately, with this type of system, the King is kept out of touch with his people who are in much need of his wisdom and guidance to sensitive issues of his territory. This is not what the people of Barotseland want to be subjected to, but rather, where the tenets of democracy will be the overriding factor.

Democracy does not mean elections with ballots; it means the voice of the people in the selection of their leaders and in the decision-making of governments. The first task in advocating for a constitutional monarch government must be to develop and advance that meaningful vision. But having vision is not enough – the people must also be free to implement their vision. Hence, the delay in institution the civil government to tackle the economy and political affairs of the Barotseland Royal State is of people's greatest concern. The heartbeat of constitutional monarch is to bring the people to a sense of belonging and participation which is integral to the tenets of democracy within a constitutional monarch. What the people need is a governance paradigm that can provide government space for statutory institutionalization of traditional and customary authority without overruling the principle of democracy.

The monarchical authority in a constitutional system the world over does not take a leading role in governance but act as the custodian of the civil government. The people themselves must be able to translate their vision into policy proposals, organizations, and political movements without bringing the authority of the monarch into contempt. The constitutional monarch makes it possible for citizenry's directly involvement in the determination of their self-governance. As long as the nation's first governance is dominated by laws and policies of a by-gone era of the monarchical bureaucracy, it will be difficult to see how meaningful governance practices and culturally appropriate institutions can be appreciated.

The challenge that Barotseland is facing, is the recognition of a system that will be better in governance system in conformity with today's politics other than the current bureaucracy setup where Indunas are only chosen and appointed by the Litunga at his discretion without subjecting them to public elections. People need a governance system that will transform the Act of governance into an agency for positive change, otherwise, to continue the status quo, simply means that the people will continue to have less involvement in issues, as the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) bureaucracy will be supreme in matters of governance of both royals and commoners. A key aspect of Barotseland struggle for self-determination is the fundamental right to determine both the process of leadership selection and the basis upon which these leaders derive and exercise their authority. Failing to change the heavily bureaucratic system is to chose to continue with the by-gone era of the system.

Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu

By Saleya Kwalombota

The position of the boundaries of Barotseland is described by the publication of the document entitled International Boundary Study no. 123 of 3rd July 1973 by the Geographer, Directory for Functional research, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, the United States of America as published in the provisions of Bureau of the Budget Circular No. A-16 which states as,

"THE TERRITORY OF THE BAROTSE KINGDOM WAS DEFINED AS THAT OVER WHICH THE KING OF BAROTSE WAS PARAMOUNT RULER ON 11th JUNE 1891".

It may be argued by some people that the boundary of Barotseland is at the Zambian railway line stretch. This would be a grave error, to say the least. However, the people of Barotseland know the exact extent of their boundary as it is documented, and are not egoistic to lay claim to lands not belonging to them or that was handed over to the British Crown.

Such people are advised that, going by the arrangement to hand over land through the arrangement of the "transferred land" by the way of statement of Claim (A) given by Mr. Harry Johnson, the Consul General or High Commissioner who was responsible for the British Central African Protectorate (BCAP), Barotseland cannot claim land that was handed over.

It is essential to explain the boundary of Barotseland as was decided on 11th June, 1891 which is found in the activities that took place on that date briefly as follows:-

"Treaty between Her Britannic Majesty and His Majesty the King of Portugal their respecting Spheres of influence in Africa, Lisbon, June 11, June, 1891. Ibid, Vol. 3, pp. 1016- 26 as seen from Great Britain Treaty series, Portugal No. 1, (1891) Cmd 6375.”

This arrangement was done without the knowledge of His Majesty King Lewanika who had taken extreme exception about the intentions of the Portuguese to emasculate his land as seen from his letter addressed to Her Britannic Queen Victoria and High Commissioner Robinson on 23rd October 1896 when he stated that:-

"I would be very glad if the British Government separates me from the Portuguese because if the latter come into my land, they will steal it. I do not wish my country to be divided into two parts between Portugal and German; it must be in one part under England. The Government must carry me as a woman carries a Child upon her back..."

It must be explained that these activities had taken place when the issues of the borders of Barotseland had become topical. This argument had led to the appointment of an arbitrator to facilitate the determination of the issue in 1903.

King of Italy Victor Oscar Emanuel III was appointed to arbitrate to determine the right boundary. In the process, he took a reconciliatory position of a common mathematical equation by adding what the Portuguese and the British had claimed and divided the same by 2 in order to arrive at the 22 degrees of the Greenwich.

The issue of Barotseland boundary, even at this time will not create problems because there is an international principle which states that:-

"Nemo dat quod non habet" meaning "No one can give away that which does not belong to him"

In this regard those who demarcated the territory of Barotseland after 1964 by the regime of Kaunda will have to give account for their misdeeds.

The boundary between Barotseland and Angola and Barotseland and Zimbabwe can be determined by perusal of the International Boundary Study No. 120 of 24th March 1972 and No. 30 of 2nd March 1964 respectively.

In conclusion, it should be stated that the boundary of any African country that achieves independence must state the extent of its boundaries which must be supported by documentary proof, according to the summit of the Heads of States and Government of OAU no. AHG/16/1 of 15th July 1964.

It is, therefore, important to bring to the people’s attention that the Barotseland boundary will be determined properly on the basis of what is provided under the International law to which all States are accountable.

Barotseland has never been independent because the British transferred the obligations with regard to the protectorate arrangement to the Zambian government. Therefore, as Barotseland attains Statehood, the issue of the proper boundaries will be determined at the appropriate time.

Bulozi fasi la bondata Luna

By Saleya Kwalombota

The indisputable facts of Zambia’s repudiation of Barotseland Agreement 1964 warrant the imposition by the ICJ of Restraining Orders designed to prevent a military attack on Barotseland, to prohibit any type of Zambia's illegal administration of Barotseland and economic sanctions against Zambia should it ignore the order. The Restraining Order should also seek prohibition of Zambia and its allies from advocating aggressive military actions against Barotseland.

The responsibility of Barotseland after the 2012 BNC independence resolutions could not have been better if it did not further taken a legal option of taking Zambia to international courts. Zambia's attitude towards Barotseland at now is not in good faith and against peaceful settlement of the matter, if no attachment of International Court of Justice or African Union commission on Human and people's rights, justice may be perverted. The Barotseland transitional government should be given a plus for immediately putting together an international legal team of competent international lawyers specialists and moving to The Hague to seek as “case coordinator” and liaise with the World Court administration on how best the case could be filed.

Zambia's administration of Barotseland in the absence of BA64 is strange and assault on the Vienna Convention on law of treaties. Hence, a legal seeking to the world court would advance accountability under international law and the ICJ would likely grant Barotseland's Petition for Interim Measures of Protection and Zambia's activities could be suspended in the territory during the course of the years of litigation which would directly and positively give a relief to the people of Barotseland to institute governance structures without compromise.

Barotseland's facts at hand of Zambia's abrogation of BA64 and violation of human rights warrant the case's credibility in Barotseland's favor and there are ample solid legal theories to argue to and convince the World Court. Under the ICJ Statute, the ICJ must decide cases in accordance with international law. Hence the ICJ must apply (1) any international conventions and treaties; (2) international custom; (3) general principles recognized as law by civilized nations; and (4) judicial decisions and the teachings of highly qualified publicists of the various nations. From this body of international law, the International Court of Justice would find ample basis to support Barotseland's claims not only for the benefit of Barotseland people but serves to advance the rule of law in the global community.

Despite Barotseland's strong case on both the facts and the law, and the diversity in structure and composition of the International Court of Justice, the international tribunal has a few times over the years been criticized for favoring established powers. Under articles 3 and 9 of the ICJ Statute, the judges on the ICJ should represent “the main forms of civilization and principal legal systems of the world.” This definition does not settle well with the unrepresented and developing countries; however, this does not question the court's credibility.

Nevertheless, the world court’s record has been by and large exemplary in applying principles, standards and rules of international law both in contested cases and advisory opinions and Barotseland has an excellent opportunity to protect the spirit and wishes of King Lewanika who hundreds of years ago sought protection of his nation through international recognized agreements and treaties , and it will advance international accountability all to the inestimable peace of all people of Barotseland and Southern African nations through legal conclusion of the matter.

Tukongote Litunga ni lyetu

By Saleya Kwalombota

Science tells us that all matter is made up of tiny particles called atoms, capable of existing on their own and take part in chemical reactions. This is an indisputable fact about all the things one sees around, whether animate or inanimate. Something similar exists in the business world and in any existing economy. I am using the word economy here to mean any place where there is interplay among the factors of production (land, labour, capital and enterprise/entrepreneurship).Our own dear motherland Barotseland one such economy. She has so many economic activities now taking place and when one takes a leap into the imminent future I see an inundation of many more such activities; the opportunities are quite enormous but will require available entrepreneur and intrapreneurs to exploit them. The big term here is none other than the entrepreneur.

So far every Barotse citizen knows that we have a core business of POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE and ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE as a nation. Evidently this means that WHILE WE CANNOT ALL BE POLITICAL ACTIVISTS FOR OUR TOTAL POLITICAL INDEPENDENCE SOME NEED TO BE ECONOMIC ACTIVISTS TOWARD OUR FULL ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE. These activists or change agents are both entrepreneurs in their own rights; politically and/or economically. Our struggle requires of us holding the bull by its two horns without shuffling steps.

To date I feel there has been more emphasis on the political dynamics of our struggle than the economic subtleties, though I it is that for obvious reasons; setting stage for a conducive economic and political environment for maximum utilisation of all our resources by both natives and investors in developing our nation. However, good and important as this fact is the general Barotse populace needs to brace for tomorrow now; in the best interest of 26-27 March 2012 UDI mandate. One way we can do this is to critique issues surrounding our Barotseland entrepreneurial base in regard to our change agenda. We need to grip the bull by both horns as we grapple for our full independence again for obvious reasons – the two need each other just like our pair of legs, in going about our motherland’s errands. In addition, the strong relationship between the two is seen in the fact that the political horn creates the state, sustain it and govern the nation while the economic horn makes the nation alive, vibrant, competitive and worthy providing political leadership. Like someone stepping out while the political element is busy with preparations for tomorrow the economic element must be seen in the background readying for action. Having said this let me now turn to the subject of entrepreneurship the backbone of every economy.

Most people are familiar with names of large business such as Walmart, Game Stores, Microsoft, Toyota, Unilever and Colgate Palmolive. Although some of us may not realise it many of today’s famous large corporations were yesterday’s very small entrepreneurial creations and went up the ladder of SMMEs to where they are today. They were started by an entrepreneur, either as one person or groups of people cherishing an idea they nurtured into a business enterprise. It is mostly the entrepreneurs that make business sense, given their “business know-how”. This is a requirement, for every successful business utilises entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs as labour. In addition, the entrepreneurs are the wealth creators, meaning that wealthy nations have a stable and rich entrepreneurial base. From this it can also be seen that this component of an economy helps to create job opportunities and employees (those who fear or fail to start their own business enterprises who work as intrapreneurs). This demonstrates the crucial role played by small businesses in an economy like ours. A careful balance though between the political and economic atmospherics needs to be exploited to avert unnecessary economic and social shocks that may ensue. It all starts with the entrepreneur.

With very few exceptions most things on planet earth and in this life seem to be subjected to the process of change, growth and development. The Barotseland Free State needs men and women now who should start transforming their ideas into marketable products (goods and/or services), in spotting and filling up the market gaps for the economic benefits of Barotseland. Such are the needed entrepreneurs to venture into any of the four main types of businesses envisaged as manufacturing, wholesale, retail and services industries. The gaps in Barotseland are many owing to her underdevelopment and consequent to disengagement with the colonial master and one time political husband Northern Rhodesia (Zambia).

Small businesses are very vital to the success of the Barotseland economy. This is because they do not only meet local needs such as in financial consultants, hairdressers, emergency electrician, auto mechanics and so on but also provide the success stories of the future. These small businesses serve the requirements of larger businesses. For arguments’ sake if our government allowed investors in today will they find the needed local SMMEs in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of our economy to partner with in accordance with the business and investment laws and regulations stipulated in the provisional policy compendia? It will be too late and/or hectic to wait for tomorrow to realise ones entrepreneurial potential. The sought full political independence is not really a requisite for this attainment. Additionally, one does not have to set up own enterprise to be enterprising. As an entrepreneur in the new Barotseland one simply has to develop the right skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, initiatives and behaviour (SKAVIBs) necessary to make an INNOVATIVE CONTRIBUTION to the development of our land. And so when the economic hall of firm is chronicled in our land your name will be reckoned as one of those gallant citizens who were willing to translate their ideas into firms and products that were greatly beneficent to Barotseland. All the good places that people aspire or reside have been the work of willing and available entrepreneurs in developing their lands. Undoubtedly this calls for high levels of virtues like ethnocentrism and patriotism among Barotzish.

Finally, I guess that we have enough labour in the civil service to fill up all the necessary posts accordingly. The other areas may need a snap survey to ascertain available numbers and to inform our national strategic planning so that our leaders can strategise objectively other than subjectively.

Tukongote litunga ni lyetu.
By Lindunda (la Mulonga) Wamunyima

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