The Barotse need more than hearing that they’re demon possessed, seditious secessionists who seek to divide and destabilize the ‘peaceful, Christian’ nation of Zambia because their own view is that they are actually victims of a repressive Zambian state that has defrauded them of their God-given right to self-determination.
As a people with a conscience, naturally their first question is, ‘what is so criminal about knowing one’s origins and national status that should make Barotse killed, maimed, tortured or condemned to decades-long imprisonment?’
That Barotseland existed as a sovereign nation before Zambia is indisputable. However, successive Zambian governments have tried to distort historical and legal facts about Barotseland to deliberately misinform and mislead the general citizenry to disadvantage Barotse people.
Therefore, instead of continually punishing the Barotse when they raise pertinent questions about Barotseland, the authorities must be challenged to simply give logical answers. No doubt, if proved wrong, the Barotse will immediately drop their ‘fantasies’ of an independent Barotseland. In fact, Barotseland Post will publish any logical arguments that seek to invalidate the Barotse claim of self-determination.
While it is quite understandable for some in the international community to think that Barotseland is indeed a part of Zambia, the real issue, however, is how does one prove that notion? Is it just a hypothetical opinion, or presumption? On what basis is Barotseland part of Zambia? Is it on the basis of the constitution, penal code or on the basis of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964?
Barotse people desperately need answers to all these questions; but who will logically answer them? Is it someone from the Zambian government or maybe someone from Her Majesty’s government in the United Kingdom? After all, they were responsible for the current predicament because both Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia (later Zambia) were Protectorates of Her Majesty’s government. Or maybe someone in the international community could provide these answers?
Or is there a Lozi who could dissuade others from pursuing a vain undertaking by proving to them that their claim for self-determination is illegitimate?
Since Barotseland is not a new country, someone must know her boundaries and when they were created. Further, since history records that Barotseland was a protectorate within a protectorate, the interpretation of a protectorate, therefore, is important to the Lozi. Regarding a protectorate, to whom does sovereignty really belong? How does a territory lose sovereignty, if ever?
To many Lozi, Barotseland is no longer a part of Zambia. Historical facts, however, are that Barotseland has had some form of relationship with Zambia, raising questions of what their relationship was, and what it was based on.
THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT OF 1964
It is almost stupid to argue against the existence of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 because it has now been declassified by the Zambian government, and published in government media, firstly by fifth Republican President, Michael Sata, and most recently by Sixth Republican President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu. In both cases, the two presidents ordered that the Barotseland Agreement 1964 be read by all Zambians so they may understand it.
Notice that it is not ‘Barotse’ agreement but rather ‘Barotseland’ agreement, meaning that it was an agreement regarding a territory or country, Barotseland, and not a mere agreement with the Barotse people! It was an agreement between one protectorate with another protectorate, witnessed by their former protector, and not an elite group of people or tribe entering an agreement with their supposed government. No country could possibly enter into a treaty with itself!
In construing agreements, it is not only the words written which matter but also the intention. This applies to the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. In fact, the Barotseland Agreement 1964 was not only a pre-independence agreement but also a pre-condition to the 1964 independence. What then was the intention of the agreement?
The Barotse hold the view that the intention was to preserve Barotseland’s autonomy and self-determination within the new state of Zambia, having been denied separate independence earlier before 1960.
In fact, the Mung’omba led Zambian Constitutional Commission of 2003 actually supports this Lozi notion in their Executive Summary when they said:
“From the submissions received (On The Barotseland Agreement of 1964) the following, are the findings and conclusions of the commission:
1.1 INTENT AND EVOLUTION OF THE AGREEMENT
The Barotseland Agreement 1964 is a successor treaty to the treaties subsisting between the British Crown and the Barotse Monarchy relating to the Protection status of Barotseland, prior to independence. The Agreement incorporates the territory and people of the former Protectorate of Barotseland into the nation of Zambia, and transfers all obligations and rights of the British Crown with respect to Barotseland to the Government of Zambia, effective 24th October, 1964. The authority of the Zambian Government over Barotseland is, therefore, derived from and legitimized by the Agreement. The Agreement further provides terms and conditions on which governance in Barotseland is to be conducted by both the Zambian Government and the Barotse Government.
The unitary nature of the Zambian State is derived from the fact that the two constituent territories, i.e. the Protectorate of Barotseland and the Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia signed this treaty to become one independent Sovereign Republic. This principle is enshrined in paragraph 2 and 3 of the Preamble to the Agreement. This principle was further reflected in the legal instrument that gave birth to the new Republic, that is. Article 125 (1) of Northern Rhodesia Independence Order 1964 which promulgated the independence constitution, and section 1 of the Zambia Independence Act of 1964. Both these legal provisions arose as a direct consequence of the Agreement 1964.
Barotseland is a part of Zambia and remains so only as a consequence of the Barotseland Agreement 1964. Failure to implement the Agreement amounts to frustration of the treaty which gives rise to questions about the legitimacy of the Zambian Government authority over Barotseland and jeopardizes the continued existence of unitary state.” END
The people who prepared and submitted this legal position (above) are highly qualified Zambian legal professionals of integrity.
Briefly put, Barotseland would enjoy, under Zambia, the same or similar relationship enjoyed under Britain as a protector. Zambia would now be Barotseland’s quasi-protector. Therefore, how this 1964 agreement is misconstrued by some to imply a loss of Barotseland sovereignty beats imagination.
Secondly, although the 1964 agreement was a lofty presupposition (revealing intention) it did not actually enter into force, but was rather unilaterally (without consultation or agreement) terminated or revoked officially by Zambia in the Constitution (Amendment) (No. 5) Act of 1969, barely five years after signing it, without ratification.
After several decades of unsuccessful begging for its restoration, Barotseland officially accepted the repudiation and revocation of the pre-independence agreement at their March 2012 Barotse National Council, BNC, at which the Zambian Government was officially represented by regional government officers and Zambia defense force commanders. Also in attendance was the international community represented by Ambassadors and High Commissioners of various countries accredited to Zambia.
If the agreement did not fully terminate in 1969 because the Lozi still begged for its restoration, surely, the 2012 Barotse acceptance was the very end of the agreement. What then are the consequences of an agreement or treaty that has been unilaterally breached, rejected, revoked and terminated by one party? What further happens when the offended party finally accepts the breach, revocation and termination of that treaty?
More questions may be asked. Did the 1964 agreement actually place Barotseland within the boundaries of Zambia? Assuming that the answer is yes, after termination of the agreement, would Barotseland still remain within the boundary of Zambia? Is the law that is amended or rescinded by parliament considered to still be in force? After revoking the treaty in 1969, should Zambia have continued governing Barotseland without any legal basis or mutual agreement? Or should Zambians have set Barotseland free?
Assuming Barotseland and Zambia made a federal state or union, and the Union Act is repealed, can somebody argue that the repealed constitution still has the force of law?
Answer questions on Barotseland logically to stop Barotse from agitating for self-determination – Zambians Challenged, Part 02 continues to challenge those with answers to the Barotse question. Find it here: http://barotselandpost.com/top-stories/answer-questions-on-barotseland-logically-to-stop-barotse-from-agitating-for-self-determination-zambians-challenged-part-02