What it means to be an Active Citizen of New Barotseland: A BAROTSE CHANGE Perspective

27 April 2017
Author  Lindunda Wamunyima, Barotseland Post

PREAMBLE

So far so much has been said on our different media platforms regarding the role expected from citizens of the New Barotseland. Perhaps it is time we reflect exclusively on this very important subject, especially so as it affects “Bana ba Poho yensu”. As I understand it, active citizenship is a combination of knowledge, attitude, skills, values and actions (SKAVAs) that aim to contribute to building and maintaining a democratic and progressive society, Barotseland in particular.

This is actually another version of the “Tukongote wa Mwanaa Nongolo” and the twelve (12) Cs Character traits of a Citizen of NEW BAROTSELAND” article presented here before but now from another perspective. A caption from our last article in our Barotse Change series carries a famous quote by James Cash Penney with these words, “As a rule, we find what we look for; we achieve what we get ready for”. And that for our country Barotseland this calls for common CLARITY OF PURPOSE AND FOCUS among all of us as Revolutionary War soldiers. This is a call for UNITY OF DIVERSITY and PURPOSE just as it is well encoded in our Silozi slogan that “Tukongote wa mwana a Nongolo” - just because birds of the same feathers fly together!

One of the unifying elements we have is Barotseland citizenship, hence the need for us to reflect on it.

THE REAL PROBLEM

The puzzle side of the story is that we need to get ourselves ready for BTG’s Programme of action now AND NOT at the BTG’s official rollout of the much anticipated programme of action. Otherwise, we will then become the worst impediments to the implementation of the same. In short, our active Barotzish citizenship does not officially start at the BTG’s official rollout of programme of action rather it has always been our right, with or without Zambiaship! It is just that Zambia did a lot of blackmailing and colonisation of us and now it high time we came out of the shell and move forward vigilantly and quite assertive of our identity.

By definition, an active Citizen anywhere in the world in someone who supports democratic cooperation that is based on the acceptance of universal human rights and the rule of law, values diversity and includes the whole community. Education towards gaining this knowledge and developing and practicing the skills is therefore very cardinal and should take place in all levels of our shared social Barotzish life, but schools play a very important role in it. By school here I mean the triune of

1.    Home (family);

2.    Formal school, and

3.    Church. All agents or vectors of Barotse Change in one way or another.

CHARACTERISTICS OF AN ACTIVE CITIZEN OF NEW BAROTSELAND

The list below is not exhaustive but simply a reflection of the chosen urgent ones considered imperative to Barotse Change.

You are advised to pleasurably read up to the end.

1.    GOOD EDUCATION.

One of the best things you can do now to help Barotseland community is to get a good education on any sector needful in our country. When you are well educated you can get better jobs or work and contribute more to the economy. You can also be better informed and make good decisions when it comes to voting and other civic activities forthcoming. For those youths still enrolled in schools you must pay attention in school, get good grades so as to go to tertiary levels of your choice education.

2.    BEING CIVICALLY ACTIVE

a.    BE YOUR BROTHER’S KEEPER.

Given the fact that some foreign embassies have already issued statements of caution and alert to their citizens Barotzis equally need to be vigilant, wherever dispersed in Zambia, over the political gimmicks prevalent in our neighbouring Zambia. Like BTG announced before it is time to “be your brother’s keeper”; networking our watchcare over each other for many reasons. One of them being that we want to keep an accurate record of our independence struggle capturing all our people and all their circumstances of victimisation and the like.

b.    VOTE.

The most important thing you will do as a Barotseland citizen is voting in Barotseland periodic elections. It's easy to forget or feel disinterested and only vote during the really major elections, but it's very important to vote in every election you can, at all levels of Barotse governance.

c.    HELP GET OTHERS ENGAGED.

You can help others in need of getting civically engaged by volunteering according to your personal preferences to help get people registered to vote, recruit people to gather petitions, and do other civic activities mwa Bulozi, even if it means encouraging your family members and friends to join you in these activities or go door to door with an aim to recruit new members.

3.    HANDWORK.

Regardless of your career or circumstances, working hard in something valuable (SKAVA) and is an important part of being a good citizen of Barotseland. When you work hard, you provide services to others and you earn money, both of which contribute to a stronger economy in your area now and in the hereinafter. If you find yourself unemployed, there is always something positive to do at home, community or church to make ends meet as long as it is done faithfully and will keep you out of trouble of crimes and violence.

4.    CREATE JOBS.

An active citizen will endeavour to create the opportunity to work whenever possible. Beyond this is the virtuous ability to hire and fairly pay others you employ to do those big and small tasks like cutting your lawn, painting your house, store keeping, hiring a maid every other time and so on. This contributes to the economy and gives a job to someone who is often very much in need mwa Bulozi.

5.    STAY HEALTHY.

An active and good citizen is health conscious. It's important to take care of your body and stay as healthy as possible because when you get sick, you put others at risk and you take up valuable space in doctor's offices and hospitals that could go towards someone else. Besides, when you are sick you affect the normal flow of economy and life generally at all levels, directly or indirectly. So it becomes mandatory for you to exercise, eat right, and staying abreast with your health matters for the good of all around your area and country.

6.    STAY UP-TO-DATE ON THE NEWS.

Read the news and stay fully informed on issues from BTG and others that affect you, Barotseland, and the rest of the world. And the word "fully" is key here: hear and listen to what people say on both sides of the story lines and try to stay impartial.

Most issues are very complex and go beyond the basic black and white of what is written or said.

7.    GET INVOLVED IN PLANNING PROCESSES.

Give your input in all developing stories in your area and give them proper perspective in the corner of your world. Find out what environment, social and health benefits these projects promise for the local community beyond the developments and profit motives and speak with your representative and at city council meetings to let them know what you think.

8.    SHARE YOUR GOOD FORTUNE.

When you do well enough that you have extra money, time or items, give back to your community by paying that good fortune forward. It is not just inviting them for your anniversaries or funerals only. There are lots of great ways that you can help your community by volunteering service, helping the disadvantaged, donating your money, time, skill or possession and whatever else you can share.

Bo ki bona Butu sakata!

9.    CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT ISSUES THAT MATTER TO YOU.

When there are issues that matter to you, it's very important to contact your representative (M.P.s, Counsellors, Parents, etc.) and tell them what you think. Whether you are pro BTG, whether pro BRE or not, whether pro BNFA or not, they still represent you and it's important for the leaders to stay in touch with the present truth of real issues of Barotse Change regarding Barotseland their country so that they can all pull together and finally act in unanimity like during the 2012 BNC and consistently with the 2012 BNC UDI Mandate.

10.     PROTECTING YOUR COUNTRY'S FUTURE.

a.    RECYCLE: - papers, metals, plastics and everything recyclable according to the trending global environmental recycling systems. This also means promoting ways of doing so whether by the garbage bins, trucks, compost making (from matakala) and so on. Try to make time once a month to go around your neighbourhood encouraging neighbours to pick up all of the refuse sanitarily; using a grabbing stick or gardening gloves to prevent hurting yourself with something dangerous to your health.

b.    WASHING CARS: - living in a world where car ownership is a booming luxury you need to watch where and how you wash your car. This is because the soaps used for washing cars are very destructive to the environment often by contaminating your drinking water! So start by washing your car less often and washing your car yourself, and when you do use environmentally friendly products.

c.    BURNING: - there is danger of saturating the atmosphere with unfriendly gases capable of effecting global warning and other environmental ills. So if need be only use designated times, types of litter and places for combustion of rubbish.

11.     BUY LOCAL PRODUCE – “PROUDLY MADE IN BAROTSELAND MINDSET!”

As much as possible inculcate the attitude and value of buying products from your local manufacturers or farmers for the following reasons:

a.    contributes to your local economy,

b.    helps ensure that your food is safe and free of dangerous chemicals or pests,

c.    minimizes the environmental impact of having to transport the food a long way.

d.    If you buy foreign food products familiarise yourself with the food labels with where it was produced. Look for products that are organic and as close to where you live as possible.

12.     CONSERVE RESOURCES

a.    CONSERVE WATER. 

There is likely to be a significant water crisis in our lifetime, especially as our country Barotseland will be undertaking her massive national developmental projects. So, conserving resources like clean water as much as you can begins now. While our country has plentiful supply of water, there is unfortunately a limited supply of drinkable and piped water and yet we use a lot of that for unnecessary things, like watering grass and taking extra-long showers as though swimming!

b.    CONSERVE ENERGY.

Currently, the hydro methods used to create energy to power our homes and devices is very unreliable because it ca be affected by severe drought or other unforeseeable environmental factors. So back up your energy by setting up solar panels, conserve the electricity you use by turning off lights in empty rooms, Spending less time on the computer and more time reading hard copy books in natural light, avoiding indiscriminate use of trees, haphazard fishing and others.

13.    USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION.

Sometimes it is important to skip on driving a personal car and instead take a bus or any other common mode of transport. This is becoming a serious need especially in the cities of most developing countries.  Doing so is good practice for New Barotseland and in learning hard lessons already being experienced by our neighbours. Additionally, selective use of public transport can help save the planet from the ravages of pollution and also be helping to financially support public transit, which is vital to low-income households who don't own or will no own cars in New Barotseland.

THAT IS BEING CIVIC ENOUGH BA HESU.

TUKONGOTE, LITUNGA NI LYETU.

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