Ki BUHATA! PF will not restore the 1964 agreement - Hakainde as he promises Barotseland equitable development and greater unity

16 March 2018
Author 
Hakainde Hichilema

 

Zambia’s main opposition leader and presidential challenger, Hakainde Hichilema, has taken a swipe at Zambia’s ruling party and the Republican President, Edgar Lungu, for once again seeking cheap votes from the people of Barotseland by promising that he was going to restore the defunct pre-independence Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

Addressing a press conference at the UPND secretariat in Lusaka yesterday (Wednesday), on the serious matter of uncovered sinister plans by the PF led government to convert all customary land into State land and later abolish chiefdoms and traditional leadership in Zambia, the UPND leader warned that the Patriotic Front government was once again trying to deceive the Lozi people in order to gain votes from the contested territory.

Mr. Hichilema said that it was not true that the ruling party would restore the 1964 agreement, and therefore, they should not be believed. He, instead, has appealed to the people of the region to stick with the UPND because he and his party would deliver equitable development to Barotseland and foster greater unity in the whole country of Zambia.

Although Mr. Hachilema and his UPND party have consistently campaigned on the ‘One Zambia One Nation policy’, they enjoy immense support in Barotseland partly because the ruling party failed to restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which they unequivocally promised in the 2011 presidential and general electoral campaigns.

AND when asked whether or not he would go to Mongu for this year’s Kuomboka traditional ceremony, given that the treason case that saw him and five others spend slightly over four months in prison emanated from there, Hichilema said he would go.

In 2011, when in opposition and campaigning for the 2011 presidential vote, then opposition leader Michael Sata promised that he and his Patriotic Front party would implement the Barotseland Agreement 1964 within ninety (90) days of his presidency if they won the presidency.

'The Barotse Agreement is still a valid agreement,’ Sata had said then.

‘How can you ignore an agreement that was signed, sealed and delivered almost forty-seven years ago? . . . There is no honest person who can deny the existence and validity of the Barotse Agreement. And those with honour and integrity honour valid agreements they have entered into whether they still like them or not . . . The PF [Patriotic Front] government will honour the Barotse Agreement without hesitation because we have no problems with it. We see nothing wrong with it.’

Sata said Zambians needed to learn to live in a country of diversity and that it was also a fundamental principle even in international law for successive governments to honour agreements they find.

‘We have always said we have nothing to fear about the Barotse Agreement. It is a decent agreement that must be honoured,’ Sata said.

Only crooks, dictators who want everything to be controlled by them from Lusaka can fear the Barotse Agreement. . . . How can an agreement that brought our country together as a unitary sovereign state be seen to be a divisive instrument; to be about secession and treason? . . . The Barotse Agreement united and brought together what was not united; what was divided. It is an agreement that brought unity in diversity to our people and as such must be honoured and respected.’

He said intimidation and threats of treason would not resolve the matter.

‘How can an agreement that exists be treasonable? That agreement is real, so what’s treasonous about that? In fact, the peace and unity that Zambia has enjoyed since independence as a sovereign state can be partly attributed to the Barotse Agreement,’ Sata said.

PF would like to see to it that Zambia remains an oasis of peace by engaging the people of Barotseland over the Barotse Agreement and ensure that their grievances are resolved once and for all.’

However, in spite of all the above political rhetoric, Mr. Sata made as an opposition leader while seeking the Barotse vote, he too followed the dishonorable path of his predecessors. No sooner had he assumed the highest political office than he started abusing the rights of the Barotse people. In 2013 he recorded the highest number of indiscriminate arrests and incarcerations of over eighty-seven Barotse people, including women and children, among them two 10-year-old school-going boys, and one 90-year-old man, who he all charged with the capital crime of treason, punishable only by death upon conviction under Zambian laws, for allegedly celebrating the setting up of the Afumba Mombotwa transitional Barotseland government.

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