The origins of the territory known as Barotseland - North Western Rhodesia

25 September 2016
Author  Saleya Kwalombota, Barotseland Post
File: Barotseland-North-Western Rhodesia Flag, 1899 – 1911

 

Frank Elliot Lochner made several attempts to persuade King Lewanika of Barotseland to sign a concession with him. After extensive consultations within the Kingdom, an assembly of the nation, comprising members of the King’s Council, area indunas, village headmen and ordinary people was convened at Lealui on 27-6-1890 for the signing ceremony.

The signatories were as follows:

Lewanika (the King), Litia, his eldest son and heir to the throne. ( Litia succeeded his father in 1916 as King Yeta III).

Other signatories were Mwauluka, who was Ngambela (Prime Minister), and members of the inner cabinet (Councilors) as follows: Akufuna, Mukulwakashiko, Galibotse, Beunya, Kalonga, Nalishuwa, Namunda, Ingangwana, Lucanana Muwana, Imasikuana, Sikota and Alisheke.

The concession was further endorsed by representatives of regional authorities as follows;

From NALOLO KUTA – SENANGA: Induna Sambi - Administrator and Chief Advisor to the Regent Princess of Nalolo (Senanga), with fellow Councilors Ishee Kwandu, Mukwakwa, Imbuwa, Saywa, Sambiana, Namunda and Mukata.

From LIBONDA KUTA – KALABO: Induna Muleta - Administrator and Advisor to the Resident Princess and a Concillor Munono.

From SESHEKE REGION the following tribal leaders endorsed it; Induna Ratau, Katukula, Tahalima, Mwanamwalye, Nalishuwa, Mulife, Sekombwa, Mukamba (Chief of KAZUNGULA/KALOMO region), Liku (Chief of the NANZWA at WANKIE) Kwenani and Mukwela (of the LINYATI region), Musialela and Munukayumbwa (King’s brothers), and Likokwani (King’s nephew). Lastly, Liatika (King’s Secretary) also put his mark on the document.

The concession permitted the company to prospect for minerals in selected areas of the Kingdom. In return, the company, on behalf of the British government, gave guarantees of protection for the Kingdom and an annual grant of 2000 pounds to be paid in perpetuity.

Frank Elliot Lochner signed for the company with Francois Coillard and Adolph Jalla as witnesses. These two witnesses were missionaries of the Paris Evangelical Mission Society (PEMS), which established its first station at SEFULA (near Mongu) in 1897. They had earned the trust of the King and were entrusted with translating and explaining the implications of the document to the King and Council prior to its signing.

After the conclusion of these concessions, the company administration established fortresses at Fort Jameson (Chipata), Fort Rosebery (Mansa) and Abercon (Mbala). These fortresses were established to check against incursions of the Portuguese from East Africa, the Belgians from the Congo and the Germans from Tanganyika. At this stage the British Central African Protectorate was split into two administrative zones, with Fort Jameson becoming the headquarters for the area surrounded by the new fortresses which was named North Eastern Rhodesia. Zomba remained as the headquarters for the other part, named Nyasaland (Malawi).

Later, apprehensions were expressed regarding the authority of the 15 chiefs who had signed concessions with Joseph Thomson. See The origins of the North Eastern Rhodesian Territory'

In a telegram addressed to Codrington, Administrator of North Eastern Rhodesia, on 15 March 1904, H. Wilson Cox of London Wall Buildings said, inter-a-lia, “Under the Lewanika Concession, our rights to minerals are very clear. But in North Eastern Rhodesia, our rights are founded upon a very large number of contracts made with personages whose existences today are somewhat mythical.

Subsequently, Henry Hamilton Johnston, Commissioner and Consular-General at Zomba, was tasked by Her Britannic Majesty’s Government to enquire into this matter, with a view to settling all land claims within the territories under British influence. In the process, the authority of the signatories to the concessions of North-Eastern Rhodesia was proven unreliable.

In order to remove the ambiguities and uncertainties of the ‘mythical personages,’ Johnston issued certificates of claim in favor of the BSAC dated 25 September 1893 in respect of all land within the areas represented by the 15 chiefs who had signed concessions with Thomson.

Four such certificates were issued as follows;

i) Certificate of Claim “A” covering areas of the present day Central, Lusaka and some parts of Luapula and Northern provinces up to the Luangwa River.

ii) Certificate of Claim “B” covering present day Eastern and some parts of Luapula and Northern provinces.

iii) Certificate of Claim “EF” and “K” covering the area around Mbala and part of Tanganyika (Tanzania) territory.

iv) Certificate of Claim “L”, known as the North-Charterland concession, covered present day Chadiza and Katete districts in the Eastern province.

With these certificates the company and its successors secured direct access to the land without resort to any other authority.

The areas covering present day Zambia’s Copperbelt province together with the land buttressed by the lower part of Kafue River and the lower Zambezi were treated separately by the Secretary of State for the Colonies.

In order to bring a semblance of order in these areas, the British authority requested King Lewanika of Barotseland to hold the lands by establishing control structures within the areas.

The British offered Lewanika mineral royalties as remuneration for this service.

It should be stressed at this particular point that these areas are not necessarily part of Barotseland but were transferred to the Barotse King’s rule for convenience ( in the same manner the territories of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia were administered under one Governor), in return for specific remuneration.

This ‘transferred area’ and Barotseland make up the territory which was called BAROTSELAND - NORTH WESTERN RHODESIA.

I hope this explains why the boundary of Barotseland under claim does not include Lusaka, Copperbelt and areas east of Kafue National Park and remove innuendoes of boundary orchestrated by enemies of Barotseland.

On the request of King Lewanika, the Company stationed a Resident Representative at Lealui. However, due to hostile conditions of mosquitoes and other water borne ailments, this representative asked to be shifted to higher ground.

Thereupon, he was shifted to Kalomo which became the British administrative center for Barotseland - North Western Rhodesia.

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