Due to popular demand, we have here below arranged and reproduced the entire section that Dr. Ndangwa Noyoo made on Barotseland’s quest for self-determination at the Workshop on Contemporary Zambian Politics, Centre for Social Science Research, 29 - 30 September, 2016, at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
The section was titled, BAROTSELAND AND CALLS FOR TOTAL INDEPENDENCE:
I argue in my latest book, Barotseland’s amalgamation with Zambia: A political conundrum, that the Barotseland question was a conundrum that was solely created by the founding Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and UNIP and then cemented by successive Zambian political administrations from 1991 to date.
This issue cannot be crushed or wished away. It is actually going to reconstitute Zambia in one way or another…Even if the Zambian Government and Zambians in general do not want this to happen…it will happen.
Zambia is an amalgamation of two former British colonial territories viz: Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia.
Zambia was consummated in May 1964 (before Zambia’s independence on 24 October 1964) when Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia merged after the signing of the now defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964.
Despite this, the Constitution Amendment Act 3 of 1969 - a so-called Constitutional Referendum reform of Kaunda and UNIP abrogated this treaty and henceforth criminalized the Barotseland question.
Whilst relying on draconian legislation and other instruments such as the State of Emergency, Barotse nationalists were detained at will by the Kaunda regime throughout the One party state era. The largest number of Barotse nationalists detained to date was 160 in 1973, including the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Barotse Government or Katengo, the late Hastings Ndangwa Noyoo (Government of the Republic of Zambia, 1995).
For many Zambians, this issue only ‘came to light’ after 1991, when the political space was opened – much to the irritation and consternation of many Zambians.
But the quest for an autonomous Barotseland had always been sought by the Barotse or Lozi as they had negotiated for this status in Zambia via the Barotseland Agreement.
The continuities of the past, as regards Barotseland are exemplified by, inter alia, the continuous criminalization of the Barotseland question by Zambian Governments for five decades.
But the tactics of UNIP cannot hold sway anymore as the world has changed.
Information is readily available due to the Internet etc. The tactics of UNIP of distorting and hiding information regarding the Barotseland question are obsolete.
Massive troop deployment, mass arrests and intimidation have not cowed the Barotse.
The Barotseland question can no longer be caricatured as ‘secession’ as it is a national question which Zambia has failed to answer in five decades.
Curiously, successive Zambian governments after 1991 had employed Kaunda’s and UNIP’s tactics to crush the Barotseland issue (in a so-called democratic dispensation) with thousands of Barotse or Lozi being killed, maimed, arrested at will, on mostly trumped up charges.
THE FOLLOWING KEY ISSUES WILL DEFINE THE BAROTSELAND ISSUE GOING FORWARD:
1. The MMD government of Rupiah Banda (2008-2011) will go down in Zambia’s history as one political administration that had perpetrated the most gruesome acts of state-led violence against the people of Barotseland. The Zambian Government’s brutality had resulted in the deaths of many Barotse nationals. These acts of violence were precipitated by what are now referred to as the ‘Mongu riots’ of 14 January 2011. This massacre had resulted in the deaths of about 18 individuals even though the Zambian Government claimed that there were only two people who died.
2. The Barotseland issue is no longer a ‘traditional affair’ but a nationalist struggle waged by various Barotse liberation movements whilst the current Litunga (King) of Barotseland and the so-called Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) have effectively become moribund after allegedly being bribed by the Zambian Government and taking highly puzzling stances which directly violate Barotse governance, laws, customs and traditions.
3. On 14 August 2013, a Transitional Government of Barotseland was set up and an ‘Administrator General,’ Afumba Mombotwa. Mombotwa, who was also the Chairperson of LINYUNGANDAMBO (a Barotse nationalist movement), was ‘sworn in’ as the ‘Administrator General’ of Barotseland by the ‘Chief Justice’ in Mongu.
* AFTER THIS BAROTSELAND DECLARED A UNILATERAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (UDI) ALONG THE LINES OF KOSOVO.
4. On 27 March 2012, the people of Barotseland convened a Pizo or Barotse National Council (BNC), where they all unequivocally expressed their desire to reconstitute Barotseland into a sovereign nation (Barotseland’s ‘Brexit’ or Referendum). The BNC is the highest policy-making body in the indigenous Barotse political and governance systems. All seven districts of Barotseland were represented at the BNC through their traditional rulers with some people from the Barotse Diaspora in attendance. There were also some Zambian Government officials of Lozi origin who witnessed this occasion. Among other issues, the BNC gave notice in this manner:
“WE NOW INFORM ZAMBIA AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY THAT WE FINALLY ACCEPT THE UNILATERAL NULLIFICATION AND THE ABROGATION OF THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT 1964 BY THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT, WHICH ACTION HAS FREED BAROTSELAND FROM BEING PART OF ZAMBIA. IN LINE WITH THE POSTLIMINIUM DOCTRINE WE CAN NO LONGER BE OBLIGED TO HONOUR AN INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT THAT THE OTHER PARTY HAS NULLIFIED AND ABROGATED, WHICH HAS REVERTED US TO OUR ORIGINAL STATUS.”
5. Afumba Mombotwa, Likando Pelekelo and Sylvester Inambao Kalima were arrested on ‘treason’ charges and subsequently sentenced to 10 years.
6. The Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) another Barotse nationalist movement recruited international Lawyers at the Dugué & Kirtley International Law Firm to take this matter to the International Court of Justice at the Hague.
7. It also launched an online petition for all nationals of Barotseland and those in the Diaspora to electronically sign a Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) which would allow for Barotseland’s legal status to be determined peacefully and in accordance with international law.
8. The late and immediate past president of Zambia, Michael Sata refused to sign the submission. More than 10, 000 Barotse signed the petition and more are still signing it. The international lawyers also sent through the PCA to the new Zambian president Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Thus far Lungu has not signed the PCA.
9. To its credit, the BRE through the Ngambela or Prime Minister, launched a case against the Zambian Government at the African Union’s (AU’s) African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR). After months of delay, the Zambian Government had responded and requested the case to be thrown out. However, the people of Barotseland through the Office of the Ngambela countered and added more evidence to their case. This process has not been concluded.
10. THE YOUTH FACTOR:
The struggle for Barotseland’s sovereignty has been taken up by the youth and in my opinion, they will decide the conclusion of this saga. They are more radical, many are incorruptible and resolute.
11. A case-in-point is that of the Barotse Youth League (BYL) leaders namely, Nayoto Mwenda, Boris Muziba and Sikwibele ‘Skwiz’ Wasilota who were arrested on trumped up charges. They were subsequently each sentenced to three years in prison with hard labour by Magistrate Malata of Kaoma Magistrate Court for “publication of false news with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public contrary to the laws of Zambia.”
12. The Magistrate also noted when passing sentence, that the trio’s “conduct during the court process was not good.” The young militants had contended throughout the trial that they could not be tried by a Zambian court as they were citizens of Barotseland.
13. The trio argue that Zambian courts were partial when it came to cases involving people from Barotseland. Incidentally, one of the accused, Mwenda, is a qualified lawyer. They then asked that their case be transferred to the Commonwealth Court which they said would impartially adjudicate the matter.
14. They defiantly went on to serve their three-year jail terms unshaken and not compromising on this held position. They were later released by Edgar Lungu through a presidential pardon.
15. As we speak five Barotse youth freedom fighters who were freed on 28 June 2016 by Kaoma Magistrate Chingumbe, who found them not guilty, over ‘seditious practices’ will be back on trial in Zambia’s higher court after the Zambia Government appealed the verdict. These youths were arrested for merely carrying and displaying an Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) Flag. Barotseland is now registered with this organisation.
16. The BAROTSE INTELLIGENTSIA FACTOR:
Previously this group was instrumental in propelling the UNIP nationalist struggle against colonial rule and ironically undermining Barotseland.
17. These were notably the Wina brothers Sikota and the Arthur (deceased), Kabeleke Konoso and Munukayumbwa Sipalo (who the Barotse Youths refer to as ‘sell-outs’).
18. Other Barotse intellectuals were more pro-Zambia or simply disinterested. However, things are now different as the Barotse intelligentsia is playing a critical role in this struggle.
1. Immediately after signing the Unitary Treaty BA’64 it was Zambia that repudiated and abrogated it indicating she was repentant of her former act and thus craved for separation and divorce.
2. Zambia never included the Unitary Treaty BA’64 and its principles in her subsequent constitution meaning that she was not interested in it altogether in consequence to reason no. 1 above.
3. Zambia was there comfortably and officially represented and never objected as if in relief from the importunate acts by Barotseland for nearly 50 years golden period of futile efforts to reason with Zambian regimes for restoration of the defunct BA’64, during the historic day when Barotseland proclaimed the 2012 BNC Resolutions and ratified the UDI Mandate for total free Barotseland.
4. Zambia received communiques regarding Barotseland’s new status quo and was given chance according to international law principles to challenge Barotseland’s declared independence but Zambia remained mute and has never challenged it up to now. Silence means consent.
5. Zambia knows that Barotseland boundaries are equally documented at the world centre in Washington even long before there was a country called Zambia. This is a clear testimony that Barotseland and Zambia are two separate geographic territories, a fact that she cannot refute.
6. Zambia’s continued mal-interaction with Barotseland monarchy structure (BRE); the persistent preying of Zambia on Barotseland only validates the incompatibility of the once companions of the monarchy and republic government system in the abortive unitary state form.
7. The continued abuse of BRE by ‘Zambian’ government is a clear testimony that the Royal constitutional monarchy system of government of Barotseland is the best option of administration of Barotseland as RBG. I presume the British opted to give newcomer North Eastern Rhodesian governance political power over Barotseland monarchy in the unitary statehood of Zambia because we lacked a 100% political structure then in Barotseland to also continue enjoying our surrogate protectorate status under Zambia. Zambia should now be ready to face the political counterpart governance function of RBG for amicable disengagement talks, instead of fretting the weaker function of BRE.
8. Zambia’s 2016 abrogation and repudiation of her constitution is a clear ratification of the abrogation and repudiation of the BA’64 that Barotseland has no trace chance to get back into the rogue union treaty and would be a complete misfit in such a bogus unitary statehood with a partner highly contemptuous of her national and international legal framework.
9. The voting pattern (5 years after the last 2011 tripartite elections) in the just ended controversial quadripartite election pronounced a blessing in honour of the 2012 Barexit from the failed union of states of former Zambia, in addition to declaring the national and state boundaries.
10. Against all these reasons ‘Zambia’ has totally failed to demonstrate any valid reason and legal documentation why Barotseland should continue cohabiting with her illegally, given the fact that there is NO GHOST OR MONO UNITARY PARTNERSHIP IN INTERNATIONAL LAWS!
Barotseland could only do so at the very cost of sacrificing her nationality and culture whilst being objects of derision, human, economic and political abuses. Thank God for visionary elders of motherland who rose up to the challenge of the occasion which culminated in the 2012 BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL (BNC) RESOLUTIONS AND UDI MANDATE we wholeheartedly uphold at all cost!
Tukongote wa mwanaa nongolo.
President Ian Khama’s celebratory mood was dealt a serious blow when his colleagues within the SADC region snubbed the country’s golden jubilee celebrations on Friday. Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation had early in the week refused to state the number of Head of state they were expecting. Only Mozambique and Swaziland were represented by the heads of state while Cuba and Namibia sent their vice presidents and Zambia was represented by the minister of foreign affairs. BOT50 organisers had early this year revealed that they are expecting more than 10 heads of state to attend the celebrations. Botswana, Lesotho, Zambia and Tanzania are the only countries within the SADC region which have gained the golden jubilee status. On Thursday morning, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe cancelled his trip Gaborone though he had earlier confirmed attendance. His cancellation is seen as arising from the recent utterances by President Khama in which he called for his retirement on basis of old age and failing policies. Khama told Reuters that Mugabe should step aside without delay for the sake of Zimbabwe and the region, comments that "shocked" officials in Zimbabwe. "The government of Zimbabwe is shocked by this uncharacteristic behaviour on the part of President Khama. It is taboo in African etiquette and diplomacy," Zimbabwe's Information Minister Chris Mushohwe said in a statement. "We sincerely hope that this will be the last time Botswana's leader opens his mouth to bad-mouth President Mugabe and fellow African leaders. Why should President Mugabe be removed from office unconstitutionally as President Khama's sentiments seem to suggest?" hit out Mushoshwe.
Zambia, which celebrated their golden jubilee last year, send its Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba. During the Zambian golden jubilee celebrations President Khama delegated former Presidents Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae. The foreign dignitaries that attended the celebrations included presidents of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi, King Mswati III of Swaziland and King Letsie III of Lesotho. Namibia’s vice president Dr Nickey Iyambo, Cuba’s vice president Mr Salvador Valdes Mesa, Former president of Namibia Hefikepunye Pohamba, former president of Nigeria Gen. Dr Yakubu Gowon and US assistant secretary of state for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield as well as UK’s Prince Andrew and King Leruo Molotlegi of Bafokeng from South Africa. Some political pundits have said that the snubbing was inevitable as President Khama has failed to attend a lot of Heads of State meeting in Africa and beyond. Political analyst Anthony Morima said the absence of both regional and continental heads of state is a clear indication that Botswana has been absent in the foreign affairs through its head of state. “It shows that our relationship with our fellow African leaders is not cordial as President has seldom visited other countries and or attend both regional and continental meetings,” observed Morima.
Meanwhile, Batswana didn’t seem to be affected by those missing from the guest list as they went fully out to enjoy the moment across the country. The country was in a fervent mood as the nation united in celebration of the golden jubilee in grand style. For two days the National Stadium was filled to capacity as people from all walks of life donned in Botswana national colours to enjoy ceremonial proceedings. On the independence eve, the nation broke into song and dance enjoying cultural performance and retreat ceremony by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF). The cultural performance took the crowd through the history of the country – from being one of the poorest in the world to be one of fastest developing in the world. There was deafening silence when an actor mimicked the speech by the first President Sir Seretse Khama made 50 years ago. The engaging drama was well choreographed. It was when they started to narrate the modern history of Botswana that spectators broke into ululations as they related well with the events.
The performance by local artists especially Scar, Franco and Charma Girl, Jeff Matheatau and Maxy took excitement to the highest level. It was Dr Vom’s performance that had everyone on feet; singing and dancing his famous song ‘Tsaya thobane’. Even President Ian Khama danced along. Independence Day celebrations started slowly with a parade by BDF followed by the arrival of the roving torch. The crowd went wild when over 7000 school children performed the Chinese callisthenics showcasing the history of Botswana. BDF Air force raised the bar when their jetfighters flew past; the crowd broke into ululation. In his address to the nation, President urged Batswana to think what they can achieve as nation. “As we celebrate our progress over the past fifty years, let us further contemplate what we can and should achieve if we continue to work together towards overcoming our current challenges, while building a society that delivers a dignified life to all,” he said. He urged the nation to work hard to achieve more.
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.
The recently sworn in but disputed Zambian president, Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has once again put himself up for public scrutiny by declaring that his government will soon start the process of discussing the defunct 1964 Barotseland Agreement.
According to the 19:00 hrs Monday prime time news monitored from Zambia’s national and government broadcaster, ZNBC, Mr. Lungu made the remarks about the dead Barotseland agreement in New York while entertaining scores of Zambians based in the US.
Mr. Lungu is in New York for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.
This is not the first time he has personally made similar pronouncements over the matter at the sidelines of a major international forum, with the last such pronouncements having been made in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last year at the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit meetings early in his presidency.
IS IT TOO LITTLE TOO LATE?
In the run up to Zambia’s disputed 11th August presidential and general elections, Mr. Lungu, with his counterpart, Lubosi Imwiko II of Barotseland, set up a committee of mostly ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party sympathizers and compromised elements from Barotseland who he met at State House in Lusaka to purportedly prepare for the process of negotiations stage managed from State House. This move was widely seen to be an attempt to merely woo Barotse voters who responded by rejecting Mr. Lungu’s electioneering maneuvers. The entire region instead voted for Mr. Lungu’s main presidential challenger Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND) in seeming protest to his failure to fulfill earlier public pronouncements made on the matter.
DOES LUNGU MEAN WELL FOR BAROTSELAND?
ABSOLUTELY NOT as far as the majority Barotse are concerned, and the argument is that if Mr. Lungu’s plans towards Barotseland were well-intentioned, he would not be arresting those Barotse who supposedly want the same good intentions for Barotseland. He was indeed going to collaborate with them and listen to them through open and honest dialogue rather than curtailing all dialogue initiated by the major stakeholders, the people, in preference to a selected clique of the ruling elite. Mr. Lungu and his government have instead continued to arrest and imprison all the Barotse that peacefully wish to resolve the 1964 Barotseland agreement conclusively. Therefore, simple logic and common sense proves that his wishes for Barotseland are not the same as the wishes of those he is arresting. It is clearly why he is using everything and everyone he can afford to buy with money to confuse, if not stop the vision for a self-determined Barotseland.
WHAT DO THE BAROTSE PEOPLE WANT?
The Zambian government now want to impose a dead ‘Treaty’ on the people of Barotseland that has long been rejected firstly by Zambia in 1969, and then by Barotseland in 2012, only because international pressure has lately been mounting on Lungu and his Zambian government to peacefully let the Barotse exercise their right of self-determination outside Zambia, after it failed to inure under the abrogated 1964 Barotseland Agreement.
Mr. Lungu’s present efforts have deliberately sidelined and excluded all major stakeholders in Barotseland and senior citizens who have been pursuing the Barotseland case. Some of those notably sidelined are leaders of the independence movement Linyungandambo; Afumba Mombotwa and a couple of his Barotseland transitional government members, who are still serving lengthy prison sentences at Mwembeshi Prison over the same matter that Lungu now wants to discuss with the select ruling party cadres masquerading as Barotseland representatives. Others conspicuously left out of Mr. Lungu’s proposed Barotseland discussion committee are the Barotse National Freedom Alliance (BNFA) headed by former Ngambela Clement W Sinyinda.
However, and according to Mr. Lungu, the process will not be allowed to degenerate into ‘anarchy’ – whatever that means.
IS BAROTSELAND’S CONTINUED ZAMBIAN DOMINATION AN OPTION?
To the people of Barotseland, no solution deviating from the 27th March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) which called for the restoration of Barotseland sovereignty will be acceptable as BNC decisions are considered sacred and must be obeyed by all, including the Litunga of Barotseland. The BNC is the supreme and highest policy making body under Barotse governance, and in 2012, the council voted to accept Zambia’s termination of the 1964 treaty which attempted to unite the two British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland to form the unitary state of Zambia. All the major stakeholders in Barotseland are resolute in standing by the unanimous decisions of the 2012 BNC which is also the most representative organ in Barotse governance and represents the consensus of the Barotse nation in the same way a referendum would.
The 2012 decision set Barotseland on an unstoppable trajectory for independence, and some reports indicate that it has started receiving documented bilateral and diplomatic recognition. Therefore, the Zambian government will do well to be cautioned against imposing a ‘solution’ that will not be acceptable to the people of Barotseland, who are already pursuing national and international processes for the peaceful disengagement from Zambia guaranteed under various international laws and politics.
One great thinker once said an ignorant person is not only a danger to himself but also to the people surrounding him. In this vain I would urge most of those people especially Zambians to just read through this brief article below in order not to become a nescience in the society.
The origins of the North Eastern Rhodesia territory is here explained.
Following the Berlin Conference of 1885 on the modus operand of partition of Africa, the British secured for themselves what became known as the British Central African Protectorate. This territory comprised the land east of the Kafue River including present day Malawi, and it was administered from Zomba.
On 29 October 1889, a Charter was promulgated in England giving birth to the British South African Company Chartered and Limited. This company then went into negotiations for mining concessions in Southern and Central Africa as a consequence of discovery of diamonds in Kimberly, South Africa in 1886. This hunt for concessions was spearheaded by Cecil John Rhodes who sent out two expeditions. One of these, led by Joseph Thomson and Alfred Sharpe went to the British Central African Protectorate while the other, headed by Frank Elliot Lochner, was sent to Barotseland.
The Thomson expedition had an encounter with and entered into concessions with a number of personalities. Whether these were chiefs or not will be decided by the reader. They were as follows:
On 12-5-1890, Mwape-chief of the Lukusasi country. His witnesses were Msoni and Zuza. The company was represented by Thomson with Sharpe as witness. The company paid 40 British pounds for this concession.
On 10-9-1890, Kambwiri - Paramount chief of Kibende, acting in conjunction with an Arab Salim bin Nasser who signed as a witness. 40 British pounds were paid by the company for this concession. The company was represented by Thomson as signatory while Charles Wilson and I.S Grant signed as witnesses.
On 15-9-1890, Katara- chief of Kusa and the Mchinga Mts. He had no witness. 20 pounds paid. Thomson signed for the company with Wilson and Grant as witnesses.
On 22-9-1890, Nansara- Female chief of the Bisa people. She had no witness. 10 pounds paid. Thomson on behalf of company with Wilson as witness.
On 4-10-1890, Chitambo-paramount chief of the Bisa plateau. He had no witness. 20 pounds paid. Thomson and Wilson on behalf of company.
On 11-10-1890, Mshiri- paramount chief of the Baushi country on the east of the Luapula and the Kabende people to the west of the river. No witness. 50 pounds paid. Thomson on behalf of the company.
On 16-10-1890, Kalonga- Sultan of the Eastern Lamba. 50 pounds paid. No witness. Thomson on behalf of the company with Grant and Wilson as witnesses.
On 18-10-1890, Simesi- Sultan of Western Lamba. No witness. 50 pounds paid. Thomson on behalf of company with Grant and Wilson as witnesses.
On 26-10-1890, Mkwemba- Sultan of the Central Lamba. No witness. 60 pounds paid. Thomson for the company with Wilson as witness.
On 6-11-1890, Mshiri- chief of Southern Lamba. 10 pounds paid. No witness. Thomson on behalf of the company.
On 12-11-1890, Chipepo-Sultan of the Lenje, a country occupying the middle basin of the Lukanga river and the upper basin of the Mulungushi river as far south as latitude 140.15 South. No witness. 20 pounds paid. Thomson for the company.
On 22-11-1890, Kanyesha of the south-western country of the Lala people. No witness. 20 pounds paid. Thomson for the company with Wilson and Grant as witnesses.
On 25-11-1890, Chavira- chief of the western Nsenga. No witness. 20 pounds paid. Thomson for the company with Wilson and Grant witnessing.
On 27-11-1890, Chevia and Miembe-chiefs of the Nsenga. No witness. 20 pounds paid. Thomson for company with Wilson and Grant witnessing.
In all these transactions an Arab, Jumah Abubakar, served as interpreter. Whether or not he was fluent enough in the diverse languages of the Bisa, Bemba, Lamba, Lala, Chewa, Lenje etc is a matter of speculation.