Political Editor, Barotseland Post
A scheme is brewing in which Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF), desperate to remain in power after 2021, now wishes to use the Litunga, King of Barotseland, and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to compel UPND parliamentarians who hail from the Barotse region to vote for the controversial Bill 10 against their party caucus.
All this is on the pretext that the disgraced Bill 10 will facilitate for the restoration of the defunct 1964 Barotseland Agreement through the soon to be convened Barotse Dialogue Council
The disgraced Zambian Constitution Amendment Bill of 2019 (Bill 10) does not have the required two-thirds parliamentary majority support because the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) plans to vote as a caucus and reject it so that, together with their National Democratic Congress (NDC) counterparts and some Independent Parliamentarians, they would render the government Bill dead on its arrival.
However, should a handful of UPND members break away from the UPND party line, the bad bill can pass through to the Second Reading parliamentary stage with the required two-thirds majority vote.
It is this possibility, therefore, that has prompted the PF, through the Presidency, to trick the Litunga and BRE to immediately constitute the so-called Barotse Dialogue Council which will purportedly dialogue with the Zambian government on the stalemate over Barotseland and resolve all outstanding matters concerning the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964.
While the Litunga and BRE are excited at the renewed Zambian State willingness to dialogue over the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964, they are, however, not aware that the PF led Zambian Government merely wishes to use them as pawns in their (PF) battle for survival in the 2021 elections which the party fears it cannot win unless the current constitution amendment process succeeds to give the unpopular PF presidential candidate, with the anticipated minority national vote, the mandate to negotiate with another losing candidate into presidency through the proposed Coalition Clause in Bill 10.
In a lengthy speech, Kenneth Kaunda, then Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, barely a couple of months after signing the Barotseland Agreement 1964 and shortly before Zambia’s October 1964 independence, categorically assured then Litunga (King) of Barotseland, Sir Mwanawina III, KBE, and all Members of the Barotse Royal Family and of the Barotse Government, that the Zambian Government had no wish to interfere with the day-to-day running of the internal affairs of Barotseland.
The assurance was given in a written speech that Kenneth Kaunda himself publicly read at a meeting held at the headquarters of the Barotse government at Lealui, on Thursday, 6th August 1964.
The question is what have we recently seen and heard in the country that needs to be reflected upon? In my interaction with the people in my pastoral engagement in the diocese I hear that most people are intimidated and threatened to remain silent on events that are happening.
There is a feeling that when people speak out on what they feel is not going on well in the nation, they will lose their employment if they were civil servants or they will be arrested. It is seen even in noble programs or commissions that are sanctioned by government.
Around mid-20th century, a psychologist named Kurt Lewin identified a three - stage model of change developed to understand change in an organization. His model is the description of a three stage process of change known as Unfreeze, Change and Refreeze. This model has proved to be foundational to many change models and programmes for over half a century now; since 1950. This means the model is still applicable and a sure basis of Barotse Change approach today.
There is no doubt that both the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and Zambia’s successive ruling establishments have been the major beneficiaries of the Barotseland narrative. While the former derives mostly financial profits, the Barotseland saga has been used by the latter to perpetuate their hold to power and maintain the power balance.
The following is essentially a brief discourse on whether or not the Litunga of Barotseland is supreme, how he ascends the throne, if and how he can be dethroned. Hopefully, the article will give a ‘snip’ preview of the Barotse nation, its monarchy and cultural systems of governance from the past to the present.
IS THE LITUNGA SUPREME