Kenneth Kaunda's "I Wish to Inform the Nation....” speech of 1969 – An Act of Deception in His Quest to Fix Barotseland - Saleya Kwalombota

09 February 2015
Author 

I would like to dwell on Kaunda's speech of 26th August 1969 to the nation dubbed "I WISH TO INFORM THE NATION", where his unquenchable desire to "fix" the people of Barotseland was manifested two years after the independence. It is disheartening to note the level of visible hatred the Kaunda regime made against the people of Barotseland as a whole. The incidences of hatred are traced way back before independence of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) in 1964 and continued to date.

IN REFERENCE TO 1969 BAROTSELAND REFERENDUM

The people of Barotseland had utterly rejected the maneuvers under the referendum as indicated below but Kaunda's deceptive manners could not honor the true figures but instead opted to manipulation of the outcome

"All these reforms which have had been announced affecting the political, economic and social fields are possible now, thanks to the referendum, thanks to the support which the people in this nation gave me, the party and government." END OF QUOTE.

It was an aberration in the act of referendum for Kaunda to have cheated that the people of Barotseland had voted in favor of government reforms to have control over Barotseland natural resources and possessions, when in fact the results indicated that they had given an unequivocal NO vote representing 62.08 percent against a paltry YES vote representing 37.92 percent.

UNDER CUSTOM AND WILDLIFE

"Hitherto, under custom, wildlife and indeed fish, in certain areas have belonged to individuals, Indunas and other traditional leaders." END OF QUOTE.

It must be emphasized that these insinuations were directed at the leadership and the people of Barotseland because this is the only area where people own natural resources such as "Masa" (Weirs), "Mishitu" (thickness of forests), "Likuma" (thickness of papyrus), "Masimu" (gardens) etc, etc. This position was acknowledged by Professor Max Gluckman (commonly known as Makapweka) who had stated that the Lozis are the only people, in the world, who own and know the extent of their land without the aid of beacons.

IN REFERENCE TO BAROTSE NATIONAL SCHOOL

In his, insatiable, appetite to destroy the property of the people of Barotseland by removing all the known vestiges and in reference to the Barotse National School this is what he said;

“The Barotse National School is to assume another name, for we cannot have a nation within a nation.” END OF QUOTE.

Let it be explained that this school (now known as Kambule secondary school) was built from the money arising out of 10 percent of the collections which was committed to the development of education in Barotseland at the signing of treaties in the 1880s.

IN REFERENCE TO BAROTSELAND NAME

In his misguided outbursts and in reference to Barotseland he had this to say;

"Barotse province is now to become Western province. The present western province, which bears no relationship to the direction, will become copperbelt province." END OF QUOTE.

Let it be explained that the purpose of renaming Barotseland and changing her status was intended to down grade her to levels of other provinces in order to justify the denial of her proper share of entitlement which was accruable as a result of being a "territory" like her equal partner, the “territory" of Northern Rhodesia.

UNDER CHIEFS

In his endeavors to disturb the affairs of Barotseland, had this to say with respect to “chiefs",

“I know, for example, that certain chiefs in the Western province have been performing the functions of chiefs without Government recognition. I wish to announce that I am making investigations ..." END OF QUOTE.

It is surprising that former dictator president Kenneth Kaunda could infer that there were only six chiefs in Barotseland when they are more than 100 silalo indunas or "chiefs" as they are referred to within Zambian terminology. These are responsible for certification of documents for the purpose of obtaining national registration cards. Personalities such as the Litunga, royal highnesses the Litunga la- mboela, Mboanjikana, Prince Inyambo, prince Anananga, Amukena and Lukama are not chiefs in Barotseland context but are sitting princes and princesses while His Royal Majesty, the Litunga is King heading the kingdom. This is why you will never see the aforementioned reflected on the national registration cards as required under the Zambian National Registration Act because they are princes and princesses under the Kingdom and territory of Barotseland, and not chiefs in Zambia. So, while you may find a Zambian national registration card (NRC) holder with chief Mpezeni, chief Mwatakazembe or Chief Chitimukulu, for example, you will never find any Zambian NRC holder with Chief Inyambo, Amukena, Anangana, Lukama (let alone 'Chief' Litunga).

The Barotseland equivalent to the Zambian chiefs are the Silalo Indunas, who equally perform the functions which other "chiefs" do in parts of Zambia, although, unfortunately, they are not catered for in terms of benefits such as enumerations, houses (palaces), motor vehicles etc, like the chiefs in other provinces of Zambia.

In conclusion, the people of Barotseland should come to the realization that this discriminatory tendency of the Zambian government against Barotse nation was the backbone of Kenneth Kaunda's (Zambia's first president) treacherous acts that led to the abrogation of BA64 (an honorary and binding treaty), and his atrocities, arrests and detentions of over 200 Barotzish that were to follow from 1969 to this day!

This, therefore, calls for serious consideration to redeem ourselves from these conditions of slavery, servitude and bondage that we find ourselves in today. The people of Barotseland should accept the reality that the Zambian government hold the worst consideration of Barotseland as a country and worse still, considers the Lozi nationals as subservient citizens of Zambia.

The struggle to liberate Barotseland is the only valuable spirit that encompasses all, therefore, a journey started is a journey completed, Barotseland must be free.

Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu

By Saleya Kwalombota

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