Editor General, Barotseland Post
It is with a strange sense of déjà vu as I review the statements of some of the most prominent personalities in the Zambian government in relation to the National policy question that exists between the two sister-countries of Barotseland and Zambia. The Barotseland issue has been characterized by misinformation, misrepresentation and outright ignorance of the facts from our Zambian counterparts. It is simply unacceptable that the people who were suppose to take the lead in resolving this impasse peacefully are the same ones (the PF government) exhibiting high levels of intellectual backwardness about Barotseland's legal facts. What we have witnessed in Zambia for the past two and half year rule of PF are myths, distortions of facts and outright lies in relation to Barotseland national question.
It is no longer possible to deceive neither the people of Zambia nor those of Barotseland on the authenticity of the demands for Barotse nationhood. It is, therefore, most unfortunate that the PF government dismissed the recommendations of the Roger Chongwe Commission, which to us was a referendum in silence. Further, former PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba’s attack on the integrity of Roger Chongwe and members of his Commission for having overstepped their terms of reference was an insult to the many Barotse and Zambians who made submissions.
Dr. Banda, UPND vice president and right hand man to their presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema once said that there were lies going round that if the UPND wins the 2015 elections they will divide the country by allowing ‘Western province’ (Barotseland) to break away. Dr Canisus Banda assured Zambians that the party believes that Zambia was an indivisible unitary state hence it cannot break - whatever that means. Barotseland independence is not in any way considered breaking the country or seceding because Zambia is not monolithic but unitary state that was supposed to be maintained under a union agreement (BA64), which is not the case. In the absence of union treaty (BA64) secession is a misnomer.
The current PF government has so far refused to sign the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) agreement which seeks to have the standoff between Zambia and Barotseland resolved peacefully through the court based in The Hague in Netherlands.
The Zambian government of PF has also ignored the submission that was presented by Barotseland to the Banjul based African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and has not responded as per requirement. How should we still hope for peaceful talks with the people who have openly refused dialogue?
The Zambian government actions are convincingly that Zambia stands not for peace in this regard and it is a call for Barotseland to seek other avenues that will bring the standoff to a conclusion! However, the Barotse Question or the Barotseland statehood, today, merits interrogation as to the validity of the nature of influences that determine the Barotse “people’s wishes” necessitate assertion of self-rule as promulgated in the BA64 or Barotseland's independence declaration of independence of 29th March 2012.
The sooner the Zambian government addressed itself to the demands for attention on Barotseland’s nationhood the better for national security and a region as a whole. No power on earth can stop a people from attaining statehood and political freedom. History is full of examples of people who have contested their subordination and subjugation. Eritrea, Kosovo, Palestine and South Sudan are cases in point.
Barotseland forward in 2015,
By Saleya Kwalombota
In June 27 1890, King Lewanika I and the British South Africa Company signed the Frank Lochner Treaty, which made Barotseland a British protectorate.
NOTE: However, the Treaty to a considerable extent diminished Lozi autonomy. And probably, this lose of autonomy could be the genesis of the quest for self-rule that has been evidenced overtime, with first at colonial times, and subsequent post-colonial time.
In 1907, King Lewanika requested the British Government to accord Barotseland protectorate the same status as Bechuanaland (Botswana) and be removed from North Western Rhodesia and company rule.
However, the request was denied by Lord Selborne, the British High Commissioner in Cape Town.
In 1921, King Yeta III presented Prince Arthur of Connaught, the new High Commissioner, a petition that demanded direct rule of the Imperial Government as a protected native state over the entire territory known as Barotseland North-Western Rhodesia.
In 1932, the Barotse Royal Establishment held discussions with the Governor at the Colonial Office on the quest for Barotseland being a separate Native State. The discussions, again, did not yield the desired quest for self-rule.
In June 1948, the Barotse National Council (BNC) demanded that there should be self-governing status for the Barotseland protectorate.
In 1953 a phantasms of self-rule was attained, when Barotseland was declared a ‘protectorate within the Northern Rhodesia protectorate of Northern Rhodesia'.
In addition, Barotseland’s sovereignty was further recognized in section 112 of the Constitution of Northern Rhodesia.
In 1957, the Barotse Native Government, through its National Council, resolved that Barotseland should secede from the Federation and remain under the protection of Her Majesty’s Government.
In the year, 1960, a demand for secession from Northern Rhodesia and the Federation was instituted by the Barotse National Council (BNC). To which end, it is imputed that Ngambela Imasiku said the following:
“We do not consider ourselves a part of Northern Rhodesia or as a ‘protectorate within a protectorate’. We are a different country and a different people. We have our own government.”
In 1961 Barotseland secession demands submitted to the Colonial Secretary and to the Northern Rhodesia Government mostly affirmed Barotseland’s right to self-rule and independence.
Noteworthy, is that protestations for Barotseland self-rule continued up to Zambia’s independence and even after the promulgation of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 due to the post colonial government of Zambia's failure to live to the terms and conditions of the treaty of 1964.
In 2012, however, the Barotse National Council (BNC) made a historic move that declared Barotseland territory in its entirety as it was in 1900, independent.
It is observed that the struggle for Barotseland independence has always required the consolidated efforts of the Litungaship as an institution to accomplish the vision of our forefathers, that of having self-governing territory.
Barotseland was destined to exist as a separate country, not as an integral part of Northern Rhodesia (Zambia).
It is, therefore, puzzling to note the docile attitude of the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and Mulonga in regard to Barotseland independence struggle. For instance, we have not yet heard of any public position statement from the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) in regard to the recent arrests and eventual incarceration of His Excellence Hon. Afumba Mombotwa, Hon. Pelekelo and Hon. Kalima of the Barotseland transitional government by the Zambian government, three weeks after their arrest.
Sadly, even the BNFA under Hon. Clement W. Sinyinda, who claim to be ‘umbrella’ group of all liberation movements in Barotseland, has conspicuously kept quiet and one is left to wonder whether the 2012 BNC resolutions have been invalidated!
If not, we need to draw our strength from the past Litungas who courageously fought to secure the autonomous status of Barotseland, even before the world could have Public international law in force.
Tukongote Litunga Ni lyetu.
By Saleya Kwalombota
“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 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)
“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
Reading Hon. Shuwanga s piece of writing should make all those who truly love Barotseland to raise their heads to review the post BNC 2012 resolution events – the way forward, the killings, the factions and the arrests. BNC 2012 blessed by the King of Barotseland surely gave confidence to all of us Rotse people.
“Mr. Sata who made the March 2012 Barotse National Council Conference possible. He had promised to accept any outcome. An irreversible decision to be independent of Zambia was unanimously arrived at.” Hon Shuwanga
Barotseland activities are all based on the belief of BNC 2012 resolutions. Putting Zambia aside, Barotseland should sought issues out.
I have the following questions;
1. Are we as Barotseland understanding and respecting the BNC 2012 resolution?
2. Does Zambia understand it either?
3. Is the BNC 2012 resolution binding on both Zambia and Barotseland?
4. Why is the King and the Kuta quiet over the current arrest of Hon. Afumba and others?
5. Why is BNFA, if truly an umbrella of all groupings also quiet?
6. The Zambian Government now does not even allow any one going near the court just to listen or support our own blood. Will this continue and people watch dance and vote for them?
7. BNC 2012 resolution was the strength of all Barotseland, BUT, count how many people have lost their lives over this issue? Some are still dying today from suspected poisoning. Is this going to continue?
8. People are dying, arrested, families displaced, children and women are suffering, people live in fear. How do the leaders of BNFA, LINYUNGANDAMBO, THE KUTA (BRE) AND THE KING feel?
9. Will Barotseland be a place without human rights?
10. “The late president had clearly articulated his willingness to allow Barotseland go free of Zambia if only our elders supported such a conclusion”. Is any elder in support?
11. Is it possible that the Barotse leadership can issue a statement and its respected by Zambia?
12. Is every one claiming to be in struggle really in it?
13. Will Barotseland happily participate in the Zambian presidential elections in the light of BNC 2012 resolution?
14. Are we one, two or three?
15. Is the BNC 2012 resolution closer to be reversed?
16. What sin have Barotseland committed which cannot be forgiven?