Zambia has systematically made specific constitutional changes targeted at destroying Barotseland ever since the 1965 constitutional amendments to the very latest 2019 Constitutional Amendment Bill in its successive attempts to destroying Barotseland in whole or in part.
The Zambian state is deliberately inflicting on Barotseland conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, causing serious actual bodily harm and death in some cases or mental harm to the people of Barotseland!
On Thursday afternoon, 17th October 2019, First Deputy Speaker of the Zambian National Assembly, Catherine Namugala, ruled that the word ‘Barotseland’, which is the name of the homeland of the Barotse, should never be used in all Parliamentary debates.
The question to raise is what will the Zambian State do next? Will it now criminalize the word in its penal code?
While it might be right to say that the Provincial and Districts Boundaries Act Chapter 286 of the Laws of Zambia has no place and does not recognize any place called Barotseland, the question is what is unparliamentary about the name of a place, entity and or a person?
Are the Barotse or maLozi or BaLozi also unparliamentary? If, however, the Barotse exist, how is it possible that they can exist without their homeland, Barotseland, or is the State now confirming that they have completely destroyed their homeland, with purposeful intent?
Could this be the real reason why the Zambian State is desperately trying to now declare the entire Barotse landscape a ‘World Heritage Site’ so that any remnants of the Barotse people could now be completely removed and transferred to squalor townships and unplanned settlements of Misisi and Kuku compounds of Lusaka or to God knows where else?
Is the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) also going to be banned and possibly dissolved? Will the Barotse be a crime in Zambia? Could this be the wake-up call that the Barotse people have been waiting for, particularly the BRE, to understand, once and for all, that the Zambian State has no plans, now or ever, to co-exist with Barotseland?
When will Barotse people realize they are not wanted in Zambia? Is Namugala’s latest ruling signal enough to the BRE, the Litunga and his council? The Litunga and the BRE know what to do, but do they have the audacity to do it?
On Tuesday 8th October 2019, Chipangali Member of Parliament and Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Vincent Mwale, had raised a point of order to stop Sikongo constituency lawmaker Mundia Ndalamei from referring to Western Province as ‘Barotseland’ and argued that the word was unparliamentary.
Deputy Speaker Namugala had reserved ruling to allow her time to research on past rulings on the matter.
And making her ruling on Thursday afternoon, the First Deputy Speaker said Hon Mundia Ndalamei was not in order to refer to Western Province as Barotseland and further explained that Barotseland was a former British protectorate which no longer exists and hence should never be used in parliament as there was no place called Barotseland in Zambia.
She pointed out that the Provincial and Districts Boundaries Act Chapter 286 of the Laws of Zambia has no place and does not recognize any place called Barotseland.
She further guided that Presiding Officers have in the past rendered the same ruling in the house and Members of Parliament must desist from using the name.
The development is believed to have angered some Indunas in Limulunga though the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has not yet issued any official reaction on the matter.
In the run-up to the 2011 general elections which the Patriotic Front (PF) party won, the PF leader at the time, late Michael Sata, had said at a rally in Mongu that only a dictator, crook and dishonest person could dispute the existence of Barotseland, and further promised to restore the 1964 Barotseland Agreement which brought Barotseland into Zambia.
Once in power, Sata rejected a report from the 2012 Roger Chongwe Commission of Inquiry Report which had recommended that the name of Western Province be replaced with Barotseland and that necessary legislation be amended to grant semi-autonomy to the territory of Barotseland.
Sata’s government, however, went on to arrest over 80 Barotseland activists among them former Barotseland Prime Minister (Ngambela) Clement Sinyinda, but all of them were later released as the state claimed it had no evidence against them.