Did the Barotse Native Government Own Money and Assets Prior to Signing the 1964 Barotseland Agreement?

12 January 2015
Author 

This question is cardinal as Barotseland's self governing is about to commence. As such the question requires a candid answer in order to remove a lot of unnecessary misgivings by cobwebs in the wider spectrum of society of Zambia including those who peddle lies and hold the worst consideration about Barotseland.
In this exercise, the following details are brought to light as they offer contradictory views by people who lack knowledge of the subject, while others take it as a deliberate move to satisfy their evil egos. Therefore, the information produced in the publication of the weekly Post of 31/12/1992 to 7/01/1993 is good enough and is given as follows:-

Personality (Arthur N. L. Wina , First Minister of Finance in 1964), Utterance,

"Somebody must produce receipts, we must have evidence of money , how it was taken, when it was taken and where it was taken"

Personality (Sikota Wina, first minister of Local government), Utterance,

"what does the ordinary Lozi man stand to gain from the Agreement of £78, 500,000 if it won't used for housing in 1964 but into pockets of just a few people?

“The decision to take over all the treasuries was made by the government collectively and not by a few individuals;

“To say that the Wina brothers did this or that is a lot of rubbish; If the Barotse people were granted what they were asking for, they would practically be a separate state from Zambia; If that is not an independent Republic that is secession that is backbone of a Government and independent Republic in control of its land, treasury, judiciary, forestry, legislature and local Government" end of quote.

According to another publication of the weekly post of 22/01/1993 to 28/01/1993 stated:-

Personality, (Kenneth. D. Kaunda, first president of Zambia and the signatory to the Barotseland Agreement 1964 and the key figure in the abrogation of the Agreement), utterances,

"The government hasn't asked me to state my side of the case, but there should be no need for them to panic. History can be re-written but facts cannot be altered; If our brothers and sisters want the matter to be settled in the courts of law, I will help the government lawyers explain the case as it is I signed the Agreement and is a well known fact;

“There was no way one province could have been treated more special or important than others in the same country; There had been a lot of native treasuries from various provinces which government collectively incorporated and not as Kaunda; The treasuries included those from the mineral rich Copperbelt which, as a result of an agreement between the Lozi Establishment and the British were going to the British South African Company" end of quote.

Nonetheless, since a lot of information is hidden from the public, it is better to explain some salient points to show the ignorance of the concerned people who have made such useless utterances.

According to the publication of the Times of Zambia of 5th November 1965, it was reported that:-

"About £411,000 representing assets and cash of the Barotse Government Treasury are being distributed to the district councils"

According to the publication of the Daily Mail of 17th November 1965, it was reported that:-

"In at least one aspect, the province dubbed the 'Cinderella' during the colonial era is now leading all other provinces in Zambia; Under the 18 months transitional development plan, Barotse province receives £111,450 in grants for capital development works. An additional £42,000 is to be made available from the Rural Councils own resources" end of quote.

The details given above demonstrate that the Barotse Native Government had money that was properly acquired.

It is further demonstrated that the Barotse Native Government had a variety of sources from which it had acquired money through Native tax rebate, Investments and Veterinary. According to a letter reference No. MC/B/LA/FIN/22 dated 15th November 1965 by Mr. M. Sheldrake, who was signing for the provincial local government officer in Mongu, a sum of £14,000 was allocated to each district. Since there were five districts in Barotseland, the amount under this head was £70,000.

It should be emphasized that there were immovable properties owned by the Barotse Native Government which were inherited by the Government of Zambia without arrangements for either compensation or sale and these are under the utility of the Government some of which include:-

1. The structures forming the Barotse National School which was termed Kambule secondary school following the decree by former president Kenneth Kaunda to change the name of the school since "there could not be a state within a state", according to his myopic thinking.

2. The building housing the High Court in Mongu,

3. The building housing the Ministry of Education in Mongu,

4. Liwanika General Hospital,

5. Suu local court building and many more scattered all over Barotseland, etc, etc.

One point worthy noting was that there were investments owned by the Barotse Native Government from which interests were accruing such as the Mulobezi Mills.
It will be interesting to know how the Zambian Government will account for their disposals.

One important question that may be asked is what was used to expropriate those treasuries including "those from the mineral rich Copperbelt" , as was claimed by former president Kenneth Kaunda, since the Local Government Act was meant to cover Barotseland through the establishment of the Barotseland Local Government Fund?

In consequence of the foregoing, the people of Barotseland are entitled to claim for the loss sustained due to the spoliation of their properties in line with the provisions of Article 21 of the African Charter on Human and Political Rights.

Barotseland forward.
Saleya Kwalombota

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