A ZAMBIAN ASKS, “WHEN DID BAROTSELAND BECOME A STATE?”

13 July 2019
Author  Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
FILE: Zambia High Commissioner, Mr Emmanuel Mwamba (L). Picture courtesy of online media sources!

 

In response to the article ‘Are Lozi special in Zambia?’ a Zambian blogger writes, “Mr Sibeta Mundia, no one is disputing the fact of how Lozis became Zambians. But, when did Barotseland become a State?”

This is a fair and reasonable question deserving a reasonable response. Hence, a public response may benefit all others with similar questions.

That Barotseland became a British Protectorate in the late 1800s is an indisputable matter of public and international record, and we may not have time and space to outline all the records.

However, the real issue is not whether or not the British accorded Barotseland such protectorate status, rather that we are today dealing with a sinister Zambian national policy that seeks to re-write the history of Barotseland and its own history in the process!

Recently, one egomaniac Zambian High Commissioner, Emmanuel Mwamba, even went on international television, SABC, to embarrass himself when he promulgated this Zambian national policy on Barotseland, and then used that policy to dispel the existence of valid protectorate treaties Barotseland had with the British government in history, relegating them to mere agreements and concessions about the exploration and exploitation of minerals in the territory!

What this ignoramus did not realise was that South Africans already know the true history of Barotseland as the BSAC’s John Cecil Rhodes, who was at the centre of the initial Barotseland – Britain relations in the late 1800s and 1900s, was actually a British South African whose exploits are well known in South Africa and internationally!

So, while it may be true that post-colonial Zambia has a national policy that treats Barotseland as a mere province of Zambia, it does not and cannot change the overwhelming historical and legal facts that Barotseland was officially a British protectorate.

If the many preceding treaties and agreements were not clear about Barotseland’s status as a British protectorate, certainly the Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council, 1953 - signed on the 30th of April at the Court at Windsor Castle, puts this matter to rest when it stated clearly that;

“AND WHEREAS it is expedient that the said territory of Barotseland should be declared to be, and should be styled, the Barotseland Protectorate:

“Now, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by virtue and in exercise of the powers in that behalf by the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1890, or otherwise in Her Majesty vested, is pleased, by and with the advice of Her Privy Council, to order, and it is hereby ordered as follows:

“1. (1) this order may be cited as the Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council, 1953, and shall be read as one with the Northern Rhodesia Orders in Council, 1924 to 1951,

       (2) This order shall come into operation on the second day of May, 1953, and shall be published in the Gazette,

“2. That part of Northern Rhodesia the bounds of which are set out in the Schedule to this Order and which is known as Barotseland is hereby declared to be, and shall from the commencement of this Order be styled, the Barotseland Protectorate.

“3. The Barotseland Protectorate shall continue to be part of Northern Rhodesia and nothing in this Order shall affect the operation of the Northern Rhodesia Orders in Council, 1924 to 1951, or any other law.” END.

Briefly, the above clauses of the Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council 1953 entail that;

i. Barotseland is formally recognised as Barotseland Protectorate

ii. Barotseland is not by this Order in Council given independence, rather it is still to continue being a part of Northern Rhodesia, which itself was also a Protectorate/Colony of Britain, with all other Northern Rhodesia Orders in Council 1924 to 1951 still active!

This essentially meant Barotseland was a ‘Protectorate within a Protectorate’!

In fact, its status as a protectorate is visible from as far back as 1890 through to 1924 – 1951, and hereby consolidated and stipulated, beyond any reasonable doubt, in this Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council, 1953.

This is the Barotseland that Zambia actually inherited at its independence in 1964 – a Protectorate within a Protectorate!

WHAT IS A PROTECTORATE?

Simply put, a protectorate is a State or Country that is protected by another larger, stronger State. A Protectorate may also be known as a “Protected State.”

Another way of saying it is that Protectorates are generally weak territories, countries or states protected and partly controlled by stronger ones.

The stronger country promises to defend, help and partly control its protectorate, however, IT DOES NOT ACTUALLY OWN IT, AND DOES NOT MEDDLE WITH THE PROTECTORATE'S INTERNAL AFFAIRS!

A PROTECTORATE is in a MORE EQUAL RELATIONSHIP than a MOTHER COUNTRY and a COLONY (a country or area under the full or partial political control of another country and occupied by settlers from that country).

While the more powerful country (Protector) may help its Protectorate with economic development as well as defence, the Protector should never seek to annex or take full control of the Protectorate by force or without permission!

If the Protector no longer wishes to protect the Protectorate or the Protectorate no longer needs the protection of the stronger country, INDEPENDENCE should be the natural consequence and not ANNEXATION or forced ASSIMILATION!

So, in 1964, the Zambian state (stronger state) merely inherited from Britain the role of Protector over Barotseland Protectorate (weaker state) to provide economic development and defence, but never to own Barotseland as Barotseland would retain her own internal autonomy!

This is why the pre-independence Barotseland Agreement 1964 was drawn and signed as a tri-partite State to State treaty by all three equally related states of Britain, Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland so that the pre-existing relationship of the three states would be perpetuated in Zambia’s post-colonial era.

In 1964, only Northern Rhodesia was granted independence, and took the new name Zambia, while the weaker State of Barotseland was handed over to Zambia still as Barotseland Protectorate but now of the Republic of Zambia and not Great Britain. Therefore, all the responsibilities and privileges previously performed and enjoyed by Britain on Barotseland respectively were now transferred to the independent State of Zambia.

The above fact is unchangeable, whether one likes it or not!

However, Zambia decided to forcefully ‘own’ Barotseland through periodic national legislation – changing constitutional laws without consulting Barotseland and enforcing these laws through their courts, state police and continued military presence in the region, now nicknamed Western Province!

Since 1965, Zambia propagates a national policy that treats Barotseland not as a Protectorate, but as a mere province equal to all others, in direct contravention of the international agreements drawn at its independence in 1964.

Kenneth Kaunda, first Zambian president once said Zambia could not have a ‘state within a state’ as justification for abrogating the 1964 agreement, yet it is a well-known fact in the world today that many states are thriving within other states, such as the many states in the USA!

If even the Vatican can thrive as a state within a city, why would Barotseland not thrive as a state within the state of Zambia?

Zambia is simply a reprobate State, and that is why it fears to have this issue resolved through international arbitration or independent international courts because it knows that it is in the wrong over Barotseland!

So, it would rather continue to suppress and subjugate Barotseland using national, municipal and domestic laws, enforced by its own courts, state police and military, synonymous with classic military occupation or forced assimilation!

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.