What most Barotse cannot fathom is how Kenneth Kaunda could sign an agreement which he had no intention to honour. Agreements to the Barotse are sacred, and they must be honored. Most Zambians do not understand that honesty and integrity are very deep rooted and venerated virtues among the Barotse. Every child growing in a Lozi family will be taught two among many things; ‘do not touch’ what does not belong to you and secondly, ‘do not make a promise’ you do not intend to keep. In fact, merely plucking a single fruit or cob of maize from someone’s field could literally cost one’s own life, not because Lozis are stingy misers or because human life is worthless in Barotseland, but because a very sacred code of conduct has been violated. If one is hungry and needed to ‘help’ oneself to the fruit, they needed to find the owner of the fruit tree and ask for it, and it would normally be given freely. There is nothing like ‘I just picked it’ because in Barotseland, every inch of the soil, bushes, valleys, islands or hills belong to someone. Even the Litunga only owns the land in trust and is never the absolute owner. As such, Zambians have often marveled at how a Lozi wife could drag her ‘thieving’ husband to court to stand trial and then divorce him! It is because generally, many Lozi people cannot stand masholi. Of course, this is not to say there are no thieves among the thirty five plus Lozi tribes, but it is fair to say that Lozis generally abhor such adverse traits. They are also generally very judicial and legally minded. This is why they will never stop asking for justice over Barotseland, no matter how long it will take because they believe they have a legitimate claim.
Why, then would Kaunda ‘spit’ on the Lozi with such disdain; one moment he is before Sir. Mwanawina III, KBE, and his council crying for ‘one land and one nation’ which would never interfere in the Barotse government’s day to day running of Barotseland, and then the next he is in Lusaka legislating laws that systematically deprive the Litunga of his customary and legitimate powers over Barotseland?
The Lozi further wish to know why Kaunda had to declare that the Litunga is no longer ‘king’ but would be treated ‘just’ like Zambia’s chiefs? Did Kaunda have to rename Barotseland to ‘western’ province? Why was it necessary to rename everything that bore the name of Barotseland?
Even the church was not spared as he dissolved the church of Barotseland to form the United Church of Zambia (UCZ). Some may say Kaunda was pursuing ‘unity’, but surely, couldn’t he have formed the UCZ without destroying the church of Barotseland? Did he have to rename Barotse National schools as well?
It is very clear to the Lozi that Kaunda’s sole mission was to obliterate everything Barotzish, and what he could not kill using legislation, he killed using force. Kaunda did not need to strip the Lozi of their perceived privileged status in Zambia so that they could be like the rest, but rather he should have raised the status of the rest to ‘equal’ that of the Lozi if his aim was ‘equality’. There is everything wrong with a government that strips all the wealthy of their resources only so that there would be no one rich; rather the government should aim to lift the status of the poor to bridge the gap and attain desirable levels of income.
Lozis abhor lies, deceit and the culture of ‘thieving’, especially from those that govern. Is it any wonder that the ‘western’ region is the only province that has always voted against every government in every Zambian election? Check the records of all elections in Zambia since 1991, and you will see one consistent voting pattern; the Lozi will vote for a candidate because of their promises but the very next election vote against that government for having failed to honour electoral promises made in the previous election. Further, going through national archives will show another familiar pattern; Lozis are usually the first ones to resign from every government. Nalumino Mundia resigned from Kenneth Kaunda’s government in 1967 while Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika, among others, resigned from Chiluba’s government as a cabinet minister because these Lozis felt that their governments had departed from the original agenda.
The region of Barotseland has always recorded the least annual corruption levels, unlike some Zambian regions which publicly promote the culture of ‘thieving’ in public office. It is not very long ago that some prominent chiefs from the northern parts of Zambia publicly defended late former president FTJ Chiluba’s ‘stealing’ of billions of dollars of public resources because according to them, their culture and Chiluba’s culture allows people to ‘help’ themselves to a little of the resources entrusted to their care, pervading the adage of not ‘muzzling the oxen’ at work - ‘ubomba mwi bala alila mwi bala’ and ‘ntolele fye’ syndromes.
Kaunda claims to be the founding father of Zambia but the man is really founding ‘father’ of nothing. The true founding father of Rhodesia would be Cecil John Rhodes. Kaunda was just a scheming opportunist who only surfaced when the struggle for independence had already almost been attained and schemed his way to becoming the first president of independent Zambia. Being first president is not the same as being the founding father. He was not even the founding father of the independence struggle as that should be attributed to the likes of Mbikusita Lewanika (later king of Barotseland), Harry Mwanga Nkumbula and others – not Kaunda. Kaunda was not even the founder of UNIP, Mainza Chona was.
If Kaunda should be regarded as the founding father of the modern Zambia, then he should share that accolade with Litunga Sir Mwanawina III, KBE, because it was both their signatures that mattered for Zambia’s independence. However, no sooner had joint independence been achieved than Kaunda started the ‘One Nation, One Leader’ slogan, isolating Sir Mwanawina and history was re-written to venerate only Kaunda.
To the Barotse, Kenneth Kaunda is but a foreigner that usurped power through deceit, and chronicling all his misdeeds against the people of Barotseland would take all day. We need not, therefore, list all the Lozi people his regime allegedly killed or arrested for treason under the state of emergency he imposed to deal with those that opposed his rule. The Barotse were jailed for reminding him that he could not unilaterally abrogate an agreement that he and the Litunga of Barotseland signed in the witness of Her Majesty the Queen’s government, who we have already condemned in Barotseland’s Black Book Page One for doing nothing to stop Kaunda’s excesses when it became clear that he was going against the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
Lozis will, therefore, never forget lunya lwa Kaunda until he owns up to all his perceived wickedness against Barotseland. The only reason they have not wished him dead or used a kaliloze (a very lethal and mysterious Lozi gun that knows no distance) against him, but rather pray for his long life, is so that he can one day explain his actions against the Barotse. They look forward to him standing in a court of law to answer for his misdeeds or defend his actions.
However, Kaunda had Lozi collaborators, for as you will see in Barotseland’s Black Book Page Three, successive Zambian governments have learned that you can easily defeat Lozis by using feeble-minded Lozis to turn against their own.