The simplest, shortest and most logical explanation on Barotseland boundaries you will ever read!

22 March 2019
Author  Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
[L-R] Kenneth Kaunda, First president of Zambia, Sir Mwanawina III, KBE, King of Barotseland (1948 - 1968) with Harold Macmillan, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957-1963

 

Britain never got any territory from Barotseland by conquest, domination or outright purchase because Barotseland was merely Britain’s protectorate and not a colony in its strict sense! And because whatever territory Britain got from Barotseland was by treaties, concessions or agreements, in the event that any of these concessions, treaties or agreements were violated, either party would reserve their respective right to return to their pre-treaty, pre-concession and pre-agreement status! Barotseland would retain full control over its original territory as it was before the collapsed covenants!

In 1964, the post-colonial state of Zambia inherited, with independence, all the treaties, concessions and agreements existing between the colonial state of Britain and the Kingdom of Barotseland, along with all the rights and obligations, becoming Barotseland’s new quasi-protector!

The new covenant granting the post-colonial state of Zambia such protector status was called The Barotseland Agreement 1964, which was intended to be the successor treaty of all treaties, concessions and agreements subsisting between Britain and Barotseland before now!

This means any territory previously concessioned to the Colonial State of Britain was now automatically concessioned to the post-colonial state of Zambia – as long as the agreements, treaties and concessions regulating this exchange, now taken over by and summed up in the Barotseland Agreement 1964, were being honoured!

In the unfortunate event that these concessions, treaties and agreements (The Barotseland Agreement 1964) were abrogated or annulled, it would mean that none of the consenting parties needs to be bound by any obligations subsisting in the abrogated treaties, agreements and or concessions, as the parties were now free to revert to their pre-agreement status!

In simple terms, Zambia, by abrogating the Barotseland Agreement 1964, in fact, disinherits itself from all obligations and rights gained or acquired by the same treaties, concessions and agreements! Therefore, any land, assets, territory and obligations acquired and inherited by the post-colonial state of Zambia from the Colonial State of Great Britain, are inadvertently lost!

Barotseland, in this unfortunate case, would have the right to return to its pre-treaty, pre-concession or pre-agreement status, retaining with it its entire territory as it was before it was given to Britain under these annulled covenants!

In summary, Barotseland now has a right to demand from Zambia its entire land territory as it was before concessions, treaties, and agreements with the British colonial State, the same way it would regain its entire territory had the British abrogated the mutual covenants with Barotseland!

In this matter, the post-colonial state of Zambia is directly interchangeable with the colonial state of Britain! So, in deciding which part of Zambia Barotseland has a right to claim, we must simply ask, 'which territory was given to the British colonial state by Barotseland through treaties, concessions or agreements?' , and there lies our answer!

Of course, where uncertainties may arise, the claim can be subjected to litigation in neutral competent international courts of arbitration such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ)! After all, this will not be the first time that Barotseland boundaries would be a subject of international arbitration, with the first having taken place already in 1903-1906 when the King of Italy was appointed arbitrator between Great Britain and Portugal to decide Barotseland's western boundaries. See the case here: http://barotselandpost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/The-Barotseland-Boundary-Case.pdf or on the United Nations website: http://legal.un.org/riaa/cases/vol_XI/59-69.pdf

I hope the above explanation is a clear guide on this matter as history is very clear that there was a time when the Kingdom of Barotseland was a distinct, unattached territory from the rest of now Zambia, but was later amalgamated (1911-1924) to a British territory and governed under one British colonial state of Northern Rhodesia while maintaining its semi-autonomy as a ‘protectorate within a protectorate’.

Next, we will look at the matter of Batoka and Balovale districts of Barotseland that were given to the Colonial Administration of Northern Rhodesia for administrative convenience under some specific concessions or agreements!

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.