Barotseland Post Editorial Comment (19)

Barotseland Post Editorial Comment

 

BAROTSELAND POST EDITORIAL COMMENT, 22nd JANUARY 2017

‘Lunya lwa muso wa Kaunda’ is the Lozi phraseology the late Barotseland prime minister Rt Hon. Maxwell Mututwa chose to define Kenneth Kaunda and his government’s wickedness against the Barotseland government because, to most Lozi people, Kaunda is a double faced conniving diabolical schemer whose singular goal after Zambia’s independence was to obliterate Barotseland from the face of the earth if it were possible. The Bulozi prime minister’s monologue at the start of the epic documentary, Frightening Waters, will epitomize the overall feelings of the Lozi towards the man regarded as Barotseland’s archenemy.

BAROTSELAND POST EDITORIAL, 13th November, 2016

In our ‘name and shame’ series of articles and commentaries, Her majesty the queen’s UK government would befittingly occupy the first page of Barotseland’s 'Black' book as they, by all historical indications, were the architects and initiators of the ill fated conjoining of the two separate protectorates of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia. We have read and heard of the negotiations that spanned over eleven months prior to the signing of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 at the instigation of Britain.

Official and logical reasoning has been advanced to portray the merits of granting independence to both of her majesty’s protectorates of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia through some form of shared sovereignty, the terms of which were clearly spelt out in a pre-independence treaty agreement. In fact, had these terms been honored to the letter, the British would have been proud to showcase their success in uniting two distinct territories whose only prior commonality was proximity and administrative convenience. One of the commonly advanced reasons for insisting on Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia proceeding to independence as one nation is the point that the British wished to guarantee the economic sustainability of Barotseland that would, by virtue of Northern Rhodesia’s independence, no longer benefit equitably from the resources of the copper rich mines. In retrospect, however, this was a wrong assumption as the ‘western province’ of Zambia, in reality, was never to benefit from the copper mines in Kenneth Kaunda’s government or any other Zambian government for that matter, as the region was always last on Zambia’s overall development agenda. Statistical evidence is there to prove this assertion.

Another school of thought popular to the Lozi was the fact that the British wished to merely minimise their losses as they did not have to pay reparations to both Zambia and Barotseland, as the case would have been, had the two been granted separate sovereignty. This to the Lozi has always been deemed a betrayal of the hearty relationship that existed between the English and the Barotse crown respectively. Remember, the two related for close to a century in mutual respect and friendship. The Litunga was a friend and darling of the British monarchy spanning over several sovereign de jures. In fact, many hold the view that that the British were only too eager to abandon the Litunga now that they had no use of him as political colonization had come to a shameful end globally. The British must be told in plain language that the Lozi feel greatly betrayed by their insistence on surrendering Barotseland to a novice state led by dishonorable people in the likes of Kenneth Kaunda who was an impostor from the beginning.

What further compounds the British monarchy’s bad positioning in Barotseland’s Black Book is that, when in 1965, Kenneth Kaunda started to repeal both the independence Order and Act of 1964 which sited Barotseland as a separate territory within Zambia, and further began to repudiate the municipal law of the country to take away powers reserved for the Barotse government and the Litunga within Zambia, looting the Barotseland treasury and judicial courts among other ordinances, the British merely took notice and conspicuously did nothing. In fact, they even debated Kenneth Kaunda’s default of the Barotseland Agreement in their parliament and sadly noted how Kenneth Kaunda and his government were failing to respect the agreement they had signed slightly over a year prior. However, what did her Majesty’s government do?

Having acknowledged in their parliamentary sittings of 1965 that Kenneth Kaunda had reneged from the terms of Zambia’s pre-independence treaty with Barotseland, they simply resigned themselves to their royal teas and dinners, hiding in the diplomatic veil of non-interference in internal affairs of the now sovereign state of Zambia, while continuing to benefit from the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. How convenient that was for them!

To this day, Britain still maintains this as their official position over this matter – see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. When asked about it in public, British high commissioners to Zambia have often regretted that Kenneth Kaunda and successive Zambian governments unilaterally abrogated the Barotseland agreement of 1964. Beyond that, no punitive or cautionary sanctions are recorded to have ever been imposed on the erring party to the treaty. Even when hundreds or maybe thousands of Lozi continue to be killed, maimed and suffer untold persecution at the hands of the erring Zambian government over a non criminal agreement that Britain was a party to, Her Majesty’s government stand aloof, pretending not to see, when in fact, without the damned British imposed Barotseland Agreement of 1964, the Lozi would be freely living peacefully in their own country Barotseland!

However, the Barotse now wish to demand that Britain can no longer continue to enjoy benefits of an agreement that is no longer in force, and that the excuse of noninterference is inaccurate because Britain was an active party to the agreement. Contrary to the Zambian government’s view that the agreement was between two parties, legally the agreement was tripartite. Each party was a beneficiary. Britain was to be ‘relieved’ of her responsibilities over Barotseland to the new Zambian state through the 1964 agreement. That was a major political and economic benefit in itself. By its abrogation, however, it legally follows that Britain can no longer seek to enjoy that relief.

Although Barotseland is not asking for Britain to ‘re-protect’ or ‘re-colonize’ her again, it is expected that Britain would mediate and facilitate in the on-going self-determination processes Barotseland has embarked upon since 2012 until Barotseland is fully independent from Zambia. This is why Barotseland will continue to include Britain in all her future demands for relief, and Britain will do well to actively get involved sooner rather than later. Britain, therefore, must own-up and facilitate the independent arbitration of this matter at the International Court of Justice or they will forever be on Barotseland’s name and shame list. Britain should avoid the embarrassment that will soon fall upon her for failing to oversee a legally sound decolonization process over her two former protectorates of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia. As for the Barotse, they would surely relish the idea of Britain continuing to be among her future development partners just like it has always been since King Lewanika the first.

The Barotse largely agree that Britain failed Barotseland and they deserve to be named and shamed in her Black Book. Britain now needs to desperately redeem herself and help Barotseland regain her lost glory. One way or another, Barotseland will be free and Britain must choose to stand on the right side of the Barotse history this time round!

Next page will look at Kenneth Kaunda and possibly the Wina brothers, who are probably some of the most loathed Lozi nationals.

BAROTSELAND POST EDITORIAL, 1st November, 2016

Barotseland has had many ‘tormentors’ during her five decade long tumultuous interactions with her deceitful partner in the 'unitary' state of Zambia. Presently, three Barotse leaders are serving lengthy Zambian jail sentences, while close to a dozen others are undergoing trial on Barotseland related matters the Zambian government deems either seditious or treasonable. Such torment has been the fate of many Lozis for decades, and in these jails, the Barotse prisoners often get subjected to untold torture and suffering, as was reported a couple of weeks ago by an anonymous prison informant that one of the Barotse prisoners at Mwembeshi was critically ill from suspected food poisoning. Consequently, the Barotse have devised a listing of those they consider key or perpetual tormentors of Barotseland. These stand out because they, in one way or another, either in their personal, official or collective capacities aided or did nothing to abate the suffering and torment of the people of Barotseland.

Therefore, in the next series of commentaries, we will endeavor to name and shame them. We must name and shame them because they are considered conspirators, persecutors, tormentors, schemers, traitors, interlopers, sellouts or outright killers and murderers in some instances. If one was to ask any ordinary Lozi about any name on the list of those considered to be enemies of Barotseland, we would guarantee that they would describe them in a manner not different from one of the above. And because the list is long, we must name and shame them in successive parts in order for fairness and thoroughness in our approach. As such, a couple of times weekly, we will release a few names or institutions on our list until sufficient ground has been covered.

In naming and shaming them, we hope opportunity will be given to the culprits, real or perceived, to either speak out and exculpate themselves or indeed explain their alleged role in the persecution of Barotseland. Secondly, the commentaries will inadvertently accord the named the opportunity for introspection and possible repentance from their alleged evil against the nation, state or people of Barotseland. It is also our intention to prove to them that Bulozi and the world is watching, and that all that is done with ill motives will be exposed bare. We hope the named and shamed will also realize that they can no longer hide, but that perhaps the best would be for them to own up to their deeds or misdeeds, because sooner rather than later, their day of reckoning must come.

The list of those that must be named and shamed is based on the Barotse themselves as they encounter the Zambian state and or its agents. Some of the named are or were in position of state authority, and are often accused of having used or abused their state power to inflict pain on Barotseland. Others failed to seize the opportunity accorded by their privileged positions of authority to help abate or relieve the suffering of the Barotse; hence they now stand to be counted among the tormentors of Barotseland.

It is also a fair observation that Malozi are now a very angry people, and to help relieve this emotional stress, they must be allowed and given the opportunity to name and shame their tormentors. They largely feel that time has now come for all to stop pretending and ‘sugar coating’ reference to the named, but must rather publicly and courageously call them for what they really are: tormentors, oppressors, killers and outright murderers so that they may take stock of their own involvement in the Barotseland debacle and be challenged to use their present or past power linkages to stop the continued torture and suffering of the people of Barotseland.

Therefore, to set the proverbial ball rolling, we will here today merely list their names while the roles that they famously or infamously played in the torment of Barotseland will be outlined in consequent parts of this series of commentaries. The main objective, thereby, is to show the feelings and sentiments the people of Barotseland attach to their names. This list, which is not at all exhaustive and may grow as we proceed, will not be outlined in any particular order. Some of those that must be named and shamed are: Her Majesty the Queen’s government of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Zambia’s first republican president Kenneth David Kaunda, the famous or infamous Wina Brothers and their colleagues, the ‘Young Turks’ of Barotseland, Zambia’s second president Fredrick TJ Chiluba, former republican presidents Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, Rupiah Bwezani Banda and Michael Chilufya Sata, current president Edgar Chagwa Lungu, vice president Inonge Wina, former vice president George Kunda, former minister of home affairs Mukondo Lungu, former defense minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, Zambia’s current ambassador to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba, state operatives Solomon Jere, Leon Ngulube, Kabonde, Kanganja and a few others.

Lubosi Imwiko II and some of his Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) Indunas will also not be spared because it must now be apparent to all that indeed the 'emperor has no clothes'!

Perceived Lozi traitors masquerading as activists will also make the cut. These and some more others are what make up Barotseland’s ‘black book’ and you must wait for the successive commentaries in this series to know who is named and shamed as conspirator, persecutor, tormentor, schemer, traitor, interloper, sellout or outright killer and murderer in as far as Barotse people’s woes are concerned. The listing is derived from popular Barotse sentiments towards the named individuals based on what is perceived to be their role in the continued suffering of the people of Barotseland so that they can know what is really thought and said about them.

It is not our aim to point any accusing fingers, but rather to merely publish and echo the views of the people of Barotseland towards the alleged systematic abuse or use of state power against them.

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!

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