Another Zambian politician in the name of Nevers Mumba of the MMD has made empty promises to the people of Barotseland during his illegal campaign in Mungu, Barotseland.
Mumba’s MMD is the party that presided over the killing of the people of Barotseland in 2011for demanding for self determination following Zambia’s repeated refusal to reinstall the 1964 Barotseland Agreement that could have allowed Barotseland to remain part of Zambia.
Mumba told a rally in Mungu that if elected president of Zambia he would allow Barotseland to hold a referendum to choose to remain in Zambia or break away.
He said the people of Barotseland should be respected and deserve no lies because the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was a legally binding agreement.
Mumba however got it wrong when he said the agreement was signed between the Barotse Royal Establishment, Kenneth Kaunda and the British government.
The correct position is that the agreement was signed by the Litunga in his capacity as head of State of Barotseland while the Prime Minister of Barotseland also signed as a witness. Kenneth Kaunda did not sign in his individual capacity but did so on behalf of Northern Rhodesia; in short the agreement was not between individuals but between two separate countries that were both ruled by the British.
Mumbas’ promise to allow a referendum to resolve the Barotseland issue is not genuine because in his examples of Scotland in the UK and Quebec in Canada it is clear that he already has a preferred outcome of such an exercise were it to be held.
Mumba said the governments of the UK and Canada courageously allowed Scotland and Quebec to hold referendums and the people voted no and his thinking is that Barotse people would also vote to remain in Zambia given a chance.
Mumba should be reminded or educated that the issue of Barotseland is different from Scotland and Quebec because in the case of Barotseland and Zambia a treaty that sort to unite the two different countries was abrogated by Zambia and a referendum can never be held in this case.
What applies now is article 70 of the Vienna Convention on the law of international treaties which Zambia’s Attorney General is aware of hence their reluctance and refusal to appear before international bodies to resolve the matter and commence the disengagement process.
Mumba should also be reminded that while he was away serving his country Zambia as ambassador in Canada, or was he already recalled by then? Barotseland took a courageous and bold move by resolving to revert to her pre-1964 status of being a separate state from Zambia.
Instead of promising a referendum, Mumba should say the BNC resolutions are legally binding and if elected he would commence the disengagement process and payment of reparations due to Barotseland from the 50 years failed ‘marriage.’