The rest of the issues covered in this first feature with BTG follow here below.
QUESTION: We hear from some Zambian media that dialogue preparations for the possible restoration of the defunct 1964 agreement have advanced? What is the BTG’s take on this?
BTG: It is the choice of those who wish to waste their time on such inconsequential programs. However, they must be warned that if their so-called dialogue is not mandated by the Barotse National Council (BNC), its outcomes cannot and will not supersede the supreme BNC 2012 resolutions! Their so-called dialogue council must not deviate from the 2012 BNC resolutions or else its outcomes will not hold in Barotseland!
It is also important to bear in mind that the 1964 agreement was unilaterally terminated by the parliament of Zambia in 1969 before entering into force; and by law, an agreement that has not entered into force is not legally binding.
Meaning we are not even supposed to talk to Zambians unless it is on progressive matters such as the repatriation and expatriation of resources, both human and capital, or anything related to Zambia’s peaceful disengagement from Barotseland!
Therefore, the people of Barotseland must courageously face realities! There is no more marriage, co-habitation or whatsoever with Zambia. All legal and national ties have been irretrievably severed!
In fact, the relationship between the two entities took this long only because the Barotse people did not wish to accept this reality soon enough, as they continued to plead with Zambia to implement the dead agreement!
So, those among us who are still running around begging Zambia are simply wasting their time, and we don’t know what language to use for them to get it!
What do they really hope to achieve with Zambia?
Maybe, allow us to put it this way; Zambia already rejected Barotseland as an equal partner in 1969, and yet continued to use and abuse Barotseland. As you may know, it is not normal for one to divorce a partner but still insist on raping them for their own pleasure and whenever it suited them only because they are stronger than the divorced partner!
This is really what Zambia is doing to Barotseland! They terminated and annulled the agreement which brought the two nations together but still insists on governing Barotseland without any form of legal ties only because Zambia has the military and police while Barotseland does not!
If some people don’t believe us when we say this, or won’t listen to us, let them at the very least listen to the many legal minds who have spoken on this matter from both sides, and they will see that this is the accurate state of affairs currently obtaining between Zambia and Barotseland!
No sane lawyer or judge will argue with the fact that Barotseland was to be a part of Zambia only through the Barotseland Agreement 1964, and that without this agreement Zambia loses their right to administrate over Barotseland!
QUESTION: But Zambians argue that the 1964 agreement does not speak of secession! So, why are you advocating secession?
BTG: The Barotseland Agreement 1964 is a TREATY agreement and like all treaties, it does actually have inherent provisions for separation. In fact, it is not even ‘secession’; Barotseland has merely reverted to what it was before the defunct 1964 agreement, now that the agreement no longer exists! There can only be separation or reversion to pre-treaty status!
So whether separation is spelled out in 'black and white' or not, it actually does exist inherently in the agreement of 1964 - just like in every treaty.
In reality, any party to an agreement or treaty could choose to pull out of it whether there were breaches or not. However, in the case of the Barotseland Agreement 1964, it was Zambia that actually breached the agreement in 1969, and Barotseland repeatedly pleaded with Zambia to implement the agreement all these years until 2012 when Barotseland decided to also accept the breach!
Therefore, what we do not condone is the idea of Zambia terminating the agreement on one hand, and continuing to enjoy all the rights derived from the terminated agreement on the other. This is unlawful and heart-breaking to Barotseland. It is not only an injustice but also an evil act which must not be entertained by a state that claims Christianity as its guiding philosophy!
QUESTION: What if Zambia now wants to restore the 1964 agreement genuinely!
BTG: Firstly, the 1964 agreement cannot be restored because it has already been annulled by both parties! In fact, it is even too late because Barotseland has already exercised its right as the offended party to declare its independence from Zambia in 2012.
It is not up to Zambia to 'grant' Barotseland independence but it is entirely up to Barotseland to choose to declare or 'get' its own independence in this circumstance! And Barotseland already declared its independence at its supreme 2012 Barotse National Council, and must now use any means necessary to actualize its declared independence!
However, if Zambia loves Barotseland so much, they should merely facilitate good neighborliness with Barotseland. Let the Zambian state show its love for Barotseland by officially introducing Barotseland as an independent sister state to SADC, AU, UN, COMESA and the rest of the world so that Barotseland can already begin to deal with the rest of the world independently!
Maybe the two states could even continue to enjoy open borders!
Secondly, Zambia must immediately and unconditionally release all Barotseland leaders and activists still languishing in Zambian prisons! This will demonstrate that Zambia is remorseful! Barotseland’s independence, however, is no longer negotiable! This is why our government is already mobilizing worldwide diplomatic and economic recognition!
We, however, doubt if Zambia has any love for Barotse people. If this were true, they would never have treated Barotseland with such brutality as they have done for nearly five decades!
So, assuming the Zambian government decided to sign some sort of agreements with the King, agreements not sanctioned by the people through BNC, the people have a right to ignore such illegitimate agreements, and they will have no effect in Barotseland. Remember sovereignty belongs to the people and this is true especially in Barotseland!
The Litunga could not and could never engage the entire nation in any treaties unsanctioned by the BNC. The Litunga has no such mandate! He only signs treaties and agreements decided upon by the Barotse National Council, which is the supreme national decision-making body in Barotse governance! This was the procedure followed even when signing the now defunct 1964 agreement!
Anything outside of the BNC will not be acceptable, and the people will make sure of that!
Allow us to amplify this point; Barotseland is a Kingdom with a limited monarchy. Unlike Zambia, a Republic where the President, as an elected official and head of state, is assumed to have the mandate of the people to even make decisions on behalf of the entire nation, in Barotseland, the King cannot make any decision on behalf of the nation because he was not voted into kingship by the people! He was enthroned through intricate cultural norms and laws which guide our governance as a codified constitution would!
In our Kingdom, it is rather the people who must make political and national decisions through BNC, which the King is obligated to endorse as head of state! He must not agree or disagree with the people as he is above politics!
So, the Zambian government must not interfere with this fundamental principle of Barotse governance! Our monarch is not an absolute monarch! It is like the British monarchy, where Her Majesty the Queen acts only on the recommendation of parliament (officials popularly elected by the people) or line ministries and departments!
That the Litunga is King is not in dispute! He is King and Head of State of the Kingdom of Barotseland. What we are saying, however, is that his Kingship is regulated by the kingdom’s cultural norms and laws which form part of our unwritten constitution, just like in Britain. If these are violated by the King, then he disrobes and dethrones himself! It means he is no longer King!
And because, in law, any acts done illegally are assumed not to have been done at all, it means the purported restoration or resurrection of the dead agreement will be rejected or ignored as long as it is not in the spirit of BNC 2012!
The Zambian parliamentarians hailing from Barotseland, however, are not a representative of the Kingdom of Barotseland under our laws. And a few Zambian government-sponsored Barotse elites, Headmen and Lilalo indunas cannot possibly constitute a separate credible national council to overturn the regularly constituted supreme Barotse National Council of 2012 which unanimously voted for Barotseland independence and mandated the setting up of the Barotseland government within thirty days of the 2012 BNC resolutions!
So, we wish to warn all these Lozi nationals not to allow themselves to be used by the Zambian government to perpetrate illegalities in Barotseland as the consequences may be too ghastly to contemplate!
QUESTION: So, when will Barotseland really be free from Zambia?
The answer continues in the next feature.