Barotseland is for the Barotse!

21 May 2016
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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.

#BarotseRightsMatter

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