Editor General, Barotseland Post
"The delay should not in any way be viewed as a point of failure but as a sign of law abiding nation that has taken the diplomatic process to resolve the standoff issues with Zambia."
The political dimension in Barotseland nation is characterized by misinformation and lack of proper communication link from the top leadership of various liberation groups to the grassroots. The political independence liberation of Barotseland territory is proving to be slowed as the Zambian government continues to hold grip by manipulating the minds of the poverty stricken majority, such as enticing them with job positions. This is the saddening side of poverty because it erodes the moral fiber and diminishes the organic social growth and clumsy liberty struggle.
Some have commented that pointing to the Zambian presidential bye election campaigns sweeping successfully across the 2012 declared independent territory as a sign of weak bilateral relationship between the BRE and Activists groups. However, as much as I respect other people's opinions, it is better to understand that the declaration of independence is usually followed by another process known as disengagement, the latter not being a day's event but it takes time to come to the agreement terms of international acts and orders. The delay should not in any way be viewed as a point of failure but as a sign of law abiding nation that has taken the diplomatic process to resolve the standoff issues with Zambia.
The implications of the illegal occupation of a territory are well challenged in a diplomatic way, that is, to engage international community through international courts and continental bodies. We must remember that the Barotseland Agreement 1964 was an international treaty that was concluded peacefully, in like manner, the acceptance of its abrogation, was done peacefully by Barotseland, as the other party and in a lawful process through the Barotse National Council in 2012, after having had exhausted all the channels. To this effect, the people of Royal Barotseland should be encouraged to reject political statements and maneuvers from our soon to be neighbor, Zambia, if not in conformity with the 2012 BNC resolutions, for immediate disengagement.
The most far provoking issue is the destroying of government structures in 1975 by the Zambian government which move was not well accepted by the Lozis as it was the genesis of the loss of sovereignty of our God given territory to a fellow sister African country. What were called customary law, customary land-rights, customary political structure and so on were all invented by Zambia codification by passing laws aimed at fixing Barotseland people. This and other maneuvers against sovereignty of Barotseland, have caused great loss of economic opportunities varying for five decades , leading to the impoverishment of a once rich and self sustaining territory.
Zambian politicians that are campaigning in Barotseland should avoid provoking further the already volatile situation by commenting on the Barotseland status quo as the BNC 2012 independence resolutions have solved it all. The 2012 BNC resolutions still stand and must be the only one to be referred to for implementation other than the non applicable process of referendum in Barotseland impasse.
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.
Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu
My Fellow Compatriots,
The independence struggle for Barotseland has delayed to this far due to certain elements amongst the leadership of activists portraying to be saviors for the people while harboring selfish motives to use the issue for personal monetary gains. This and other selfish vices have characterized the Barotseland independence struggle so far and it leaves much to be accepted as it raises many questions than answers of what type of leaders Barotseland will have in charge of people's affairs! We have witnessed the docile and apathy syndrome amongst Barotse citizenry due to the unpredictable manners being exhibited by the senior citizens brought about by the BRE which in this regard has not being inspirational.
A miscalculated independence calculus can be attributed to a number of mushroomed self proclaimed liberation groups which is a cause of disunity witnessed so far in our struggle, instead of talking with one voice, we end up talking in disjointed knots. This calls for serious consideration of hosting a reconciliation meeting to bring our scattered leaders to one amour of united force. The question is who should be the right persons to host the reconciliation meeting, and how much in terms of cost is needed to have a successful hosting of such meeting?, etc, etc. Avoiding this issue of reconciliation, I can assure you that the year 2015 will end up in limbo, without achieving our desired independence. It is better for BNC to have not declared independence in 2012 than betraying the conscience of the people who are convinced with the legality of the independence call!
If this trend of cowardice, unresolved, unfocused and non patriotic behavior continues, it risks igniting a revolution, as people might think that the BRE are in fact not working for the good and wishes of the people. We will not allow any maneuvers to wash away the efforts and aspirations of our people of Barotseland who have so far experienced loss of their beloved ones due to long detentions in Zambian filthy prisons, maiming and bullet gun shots because of Barotseland's century independence struggle.
May God bless all the people of Barotseland, a happy and prosperous 2015 as we review our failures and successes of 2014 in regard to implementation of Barotseland's independence resolutions of 2012, which declaration was born out of legality.
The Barotseland Freedom Movement (BFM) Office for International Relations demands the immediate release of Barotseland Administrator General, Hon, Afumba Mombotwa and his comrades from Zambian detention. Their arrest and continued incarceration are not only a violation against human rights but a scorn on international law and civility. We believe that the four broke no Zambian or international law just as the acting Zambian President had himself conceded to this fact. Therefore, their detention may only be viewed as barbaric and an insult to Zambia’s claimed democratic values.
The Zambian Government has nothing to worry about the Barotseland issue since it is the one, through its late president, Michael Sata, that had acknowledged the legality of the terminated Barotseland Agreement 1964, and had, in January 2012, gone as far as publishing the same Agreement in Zambian print media to prove its point. It was the same Government that had blessed our first commemoration of the Barotseland shootings in the same year and had further sent its representatives to the now historic March 2012 Barotse National Council Conference at which Barotseland formally and finally accepted Zambia’s 1969 unilateral termination of the same Agreement. Based on that acceptance, the people of Barotseland unanimously declared Barotseland independent of Zambia. Formal communication which included proposed disengagement guidelines regarding this inevitable stand was sent to the same Zambian Government from which there has been no formal response to date; either in opposition or otherwise. The decision that Barotseland arrived at was necessitated by decades of Zambia’s hostility to our calls to honour the Agreement as had been promised before and soon after it was signed by our king, the British and Zambia’s founding father. It is this unwillingness to find a lasting solution to the Barotseland impasse and other poignant factors that led to our decision to revert to our original position and not secede from Zambia as it has been wrongly held by those who have deliberately chosen to remain permanently ignorant of the issue. As a result of this denial, our people have been repeatedly subjected to untold human rights abuses which include killings by successive Zambian governments.
The Zambian Government has further refused to cooperate by, at least, responsibly responding to even the indictment from the African Union Humans and Peoples’ Rights Commission. This and several acts bordering on persecution, intimidation and manipulation only leave us with a belief that the Zambians may be lacking the capacity to legally engage the issue with respect to its exegesis. Malicious arrest of our leaders, as in the Hon Mombotwa and all previous related cases, only prove this point. The Zambian government has miserably failed to even hold any sensible trial based on the claimed accusations. The truth is that such accusations are impossible to prosecute as they do not violate any Zambian law. Instead, it is our people’s rights that are continuously violated, and so, in an outright provocative manner.
Indeed the Zambians have no legal argument against Barotseland’s independence. Their behavior only consolidates our stand and further builds up a much more serious case against them. Not even the regional Southern Africa Development Community would find any reason to support the Zambian argument. Based on these and other facts, we call for the unconditional and immediate release of our leaders because they are being accused for what was publicly decided upon by Barotseland’s highest policy making body, the BNC. The Zambian Government was represented by its most senior officials at that conference. Hon Mombotwa is only acting in obedience to dictates of the BNC Resolution. His arrest and incarceration does not even serve the interests of any sound minded, let alone peace loving, Zambians. As the Zambian Government did in publishing the BA’64, it must now stand up to the challenge of our declared independence in a civilized and not outdated medieval manner of threats and intimidation. The Barotseland issue is an ideal that cannot be put to rest by arrests or killings. Let Hon. Mombotwa and his comrades be released in the name of the Lord. We are for peace and not war. We joined Zambia peacefully and we have left Zambia in the like manner. If the Zambian Government argues to the contrary, let us then have a date in court over this issue and not on drummed up charges of a treason that was actually committed against us. Hon. Mombotwa and company are vulnerable individuals only acting on the BNC’s mandate. Barotseland is our country. We call upon Dr Guy Scott to release our leaders.
The recent developments in Barotseland call for a rethink and change to the approach in Barotseland’s quest for total independence.
It is clear that Zambia does not respect or recognize the 2012 BNC resolutions and will never let go of Barotseland peacefully just like Barotseland joined Zambia in 1964.
From 1965 when Zambia through Kaunda begun to dismantle the Barotseland Agreement, barely a year after it was signed, to the present time 50 years later, several Barotse nationals have been arrested and killed yet not a single one has ever been successfully tried and jailed on the issue.
Those that are jailed have always been incarcerated for lesser and trumped up charges of riotous behavior and publication of false information, whatever it means.
The Zambian authorities know very well that they cannot handle the matter before a neutral arbiter and continue holding Barotseland hostage because courts do not order estranged spouses to continue in a broken marriage.
They have resorted to pretending that all is well so as to mislead their citizens and the international community while secretly they eliminate dissenting Barotseland voices through poisoning.
Several gallant Barotseland men and women in the struggle for Barotseland’s freedom who at one time found themselves in Zambian prisons are dying at an alarming rate and this will even be worse if not stopped.
Our approach of dialogue and peaceful disengagement won’t work, how can one dialogue with people who won’t listen to you and do not even know what disengagement means in this situation?
The very person who led us in this situation, Kaunda said about a year ago that if you fight for freedom from the British you use dialogue but if you seek freedom from any other power you use your gun.
We should never be cheated that we are at peace; we are already at war because the enemy is killing us and they are determined to force us into submission to their strange and uncivilized way of doing things.
International law is very clear on the consequences of termination of a treaty. Article 70 of the Vienna Convention states that ‘Unless the treaty, otherwise provides or the parties agree, the termination of a treaty under its provisions or in accordance with the Convention;
a. “Releases the parties from any obligation to, further, perform the treaty.”
It is becoming a highly considered view that time has come to consider to pursue our struggle for independence differently as it is now clear that we are not dealing with Bishops and Pastors but highly dangerous and violent pretenders hiding under the guise of a peaceful Christian nation.
They will probably only respond to our quest for freedom once they see and hear us speak the language they understand – the offensive!
KI NAAKO, LIYWA LINEKI (TIME HAS COME AND IT IS NOW)
“An opportunity freely given may be misused”, a feature written by Hon. Wamu brought tears to my sad eyes. Tears; not of hopelessness but of sadness at how things have played out since the March 2012 BNC Conference. I sincerely hope that what I am going to write in response will answer some of the questions posed and help shed some light in the minds and hearts of those among our people who may be losing hope.
Firstly, I am not surprised at what has unfolded thus far since that historic 2012 day in our modern history. My main concern is what would happen to our people and our country if credible action was not taken soon. We can no longer live a life of make believe clouded by lies and wild imaginations where Barotseland is concerned. Our enemy’s reaction towards us only shows how serious the Barotseland issue is. Starting off as we did with the Barotseland Freedom Movement and Linyungandambo was the best way we could have stood up to our nationhood challenge. However, we missed an earlier opportunity for unity merely due to mistrust mixed up with past misunderstandings among the senior cadres. Here I refer only to those who believed in the immediate and total independence of Barotseland like most of us do. On the flanks were those who thought they knew even better than everyone else and, for a while, had exclusively negotiated for a restoration of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 clandestinely, only coming out to the masses in a calculated manner whenever they needed signatures for their exclusively worked out petitions. This latter group, largely made up of Lozi people from Lusaka and enjoying unequaled support from the Barotse Royal Establishment, was always against Barotseland’s total and immediate independence; particularly if that independence did not have them at the helm of control. They had sworn to fight, at all costs, against our external self-determination even if it meant selling us who believe differently to the enemy. These are the same people who advised BRE to force BFM to work with them; a venture that almost killed the struggle had we not momentarily broken rank and reached out to the actual owners of the matter, the Lozi masses in a bold manner.
Although we managed to make some irreversible gains, aided by the emergency of Linyungandambo, leading to the 2012 BNC, the ‘restorationists’ reappeared on the scene with an unworkable and irrelevant “alliance” which they only used as a front to push their own selfish agenda. This “alliance” was meant to “unite” activist groups and work towards our independence despite the fact that the BNC had already declared us free and that its resolutions only called for the formation of a Barotseland Government (not an alliance) to lead the proceedings of disengagement with the Zambians. As has now turned out, the “alliance”, was only a paradox designed to divide us, slow and eventually kill the very BNC declaration. We are presently in this, seemingly, limbo and confusion all because of the involvement of a small but very powerful group of those who believe in a restoration of an Agreement that never even operated.
I trust that the foregoing does answer, even in part, some of the valuable question posed by Hon. Wamu.
It is immaterial for Zambia to understand the 2012 BNC resolution if we the ones who came up with it do not comprehend it in the first place. The people of Barotseland are the only ones who can emphasize (binding) its seriousness. Zambians and the international community can only follow.
Concerning the king’s “silence”, this writer was reliably informed that His Majesty the Litunga had called upon the Zambian acting President to unconditionally release Hon. Afumba Mombotwa and the rest. Given the confusion and the power struggle currently taking place in that country, one would believe that Dr. Guy Scott is almost powerless to a greater extent. If it were not so, our leaders were going to be released as soon as it was learned that there had been an attempt to kidnap them for diabolical reasons. It is actually reported that Dr. Scott had even articulated that Hon. Mombotwa and company did not commit any crime. Why would they still be detained then and made to appear in Zambian courts without any supporters, relatives or well wishers? I believe the king has and is still possibly doing something about it although it is impossible to count on BRE given their track record.
It will not be far fetched to state that BNFA is actually NOT what it represents itself to be. This is the “alliance” I refer to above. It is actually not an alliance but an extension of ‘restorationist’ group with a self explanatory name. That is why they would not hesitate to insult the victimized people of Barotseland, labeling them the “semi-illiterate hiding in holes holding the wrong end of the stick”. That is not talk one would expect from a unitary body. Recently there were some activists who broke away from the BNFA and formed a “congress”. This only shows that the BNFA is simply not for Barotseland’s independence and some of its members will not hesitate to betray their own brothers. This is in spite of some acknowledgeable positive efforts the group has made. However, we shall do ourselves good service not to count the BNFA as being genuinely bent on the BNC resolution because not everyone claiming to be in the struggle is sincerely in it.
About participating in the Zambian elections; honestly speaking, we do sympathize with them on what has befallen their presidency and we pray that all goes well with their elections. However, we realistically have nothing much to do with Zambian elections based on the 2012 BNC Resolution. After all, we have never benefited from whatever government sits in Lusaka. This is a fact. That is why we are the poorest compared to other Zambian regions. This is also much against Clause 9 of the BA’64. Lozis who will participate will do so due to fear or their own selfish ends, period.
We believe that a lot has been done by the Royal Barotseland Government, Linyungandambo, BFM and actually by the BNFA too. It is only that seemingly, the latter is still working towards its selfish goal. However, a number of countries are now aware of our situation with Zambia. Anyone who would even attempt to reverse our declared independence will be attempting to bring a catastrophe that we have thus far managed to avoid. The BNC has never reversed its resolutions and it will not do so with the 2012 one.
I also personally have a weird belief that we find ourselves in this predicament today because of our fore-fathers’ sins. I also believe that God has heard our prayers, like the children of Israel (Exodus 3:7-9) and has forgiven us because we have asked Him to do so (1John 1:9). However, we also need to be intelligent enough to know the power of unity and perseverance. A nation’s freedom does not normally come easy. Much has been done already and against all odds, we shall soon be independent in the actual meaning of the word. We need to break down the walls that divide us.
I believe that in convening the 2012 BNC conference, His Majesty the Litunga did all that he could. He actually voiced his support for an independent Barotseland when we met him on 24th January 2012 in Kashandi. He said it was all going to depend on the BNC’s outcome and that he hoped that that year’s Kuomboka ceremony was going to be the happiest. The king being sincere or not, the fact is that Barotseland is now supposed to stand united on our independence regardless of who calls himself Administrator General or Prime Minister. The enemy only takes advantage when we are divided. We shall hold the Zambians accountable for all crimes committed against our people. No human being dies without God’s knowledge. God will always judge for spilt innocent blood. Barotseland is ours and we have nothing to fear. We shall not lose hope because from where some of us stand, we see our day. The songs and dances are already prepared.
Kozo. (Shuwanga Shuwanga)
“The sovereignty of Barotseland is not a matter of illusion or favor but of law as such the fight for independence is a noble and honorary thing that is backed by legal documents.”
It is now time for the people of Barotseland to get united and fight for the total independence of their God given territory and serve the territory from being annexed by Zambia, otherwise posterity will judge us harshly. The docile attitude will not serve the desired goal of having independent Barotseland unless we become focused or no one will ever take us seriously. I doubt if it is the desire of the Malozi to continue to be exploited and trampled upon by small men with small brains!
My fellow compatriots, we shall never rest until we reclaim what is rightfully ours for our children and our children's children. We will not be shaken or intimidated by the on-going arrests of Barotseland transition government leaders by Zambia, for executing the mandate and the will of people.
The history of Barotseland has always been shrouded in secrecy by the rogue state of Zambia so as to deceive successive generations, however, we should note that the following treaties, recognize Barotseland as a separate territory and not as a province of Zambia that should remain enslaved and subjected to untold misery by denying the Lozi nationals their inalienable right to self-determination:-
1. The Lochner Concession of June 1890
2. The Lawley Concession(A) of June 1898
3. The Barotseland - NorthWestern Rhodesia Order- in - Council of 1899
4. Concession B of 1900
5. Concession Agreement of August 11,1909
6. The Northern Rhodesia Order- in- Council of 1911, which amalgamated North Eastern Rhodesia and Barotseland North-Western Rhodesia into Northern Rhodesia.
7. The Northern Rhodesia Oder-in-council of 1924(British Govt Rule take over from B.S.A.C)
8. The Barotse Fund ordinance Act of 1925 , in terms of which a special Fund was established to finance the running of Barotseland Government
9. The Barotse Native Authority Ordinance and Barotse Native Courts Ordinance, both of 1936
10. Special Order-in-council of 1953
11. Sections 57 and 80 of the Northern Rhodesia Order-in-council of 1962, and sections 59 and 112 of the Self -Governing Constitution of 1963, which both affirms and recognizes Barotseland as a separate state within Northern Rhodesia; and
12. The Zambia Independent Act and the Zambia independent Order of 1964 which gave recognition to the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
Why is Zambia so adamant that even the existence of historical and legal facts at her disposal cannot change her policy towards Barotseland? The sovereignty of Barotseland is not a matter of illusion or favor but of law as such the fight for independence is a noble and honorary thing that is backed by legal documents. Therefore the present generation should actualize the desired independence of Barotseland, otherwise we are doomed as a nation and the next generation will never forgive us.
An appeal to all Lozi nationals home and abroad is to identify yourselves with your genesis and turn out in good numbers to give solidarity and patriotism to the noblemen of Barotseland transitional government held by Zambia on trumpet up charges of treason felony, on 6th January, 2015 at Mumbwa magistrate court where they will appear for mention pending instructions from Zambia's DPP for committal to the High court.
We acknowledge that independence is not given on a silver plate by the oppressor but demanded by the oppressed even in face of the barrel of a gun.
Tukongote, kopano ki mata.
By Saleya Kwalombota