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Barotse Change and Creation of a Learning Environment

07 December 2014
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I submit herein my own views regarding this very dear subject that has overwhelmed our motherland since March 2012. In particular, the recent and current developments in and around Barotseland cannot be sidestepped without comment.

First and foremost I wish to reiterate that our change agenda which culminated into the 2012 BNC resolution is final and certain indeed. However, we still keep hearing and seeing dissident behaviour from those among us and purportedly with us, in our struggle for total Barotse Independence Agenda. With the upcoming presidential by-elections in Zambia it will not be surprising to see more of our people aligning themselves especially with the party that evidently is promising to take away the majority vote and form the next Zambian government, following the demise of the late president there. What is more heartbreaking is the fact that it is mostly the seasoned politicians at home choosing to play the role of Judas Iscariot. To me this means that all Barotse youth should own the total independence agenda seriously without depending much on the elderly some of whom are seeking milk and honey in the Zambian political arena.

To our leaders, I would like you to take comfort and wisdom in a quote from one scholar on management Tetenbaum (1998) who asserts that “ to be a successful manager in the 21st century……calls for a new mental model of manager, one suited to the world of chaos” (p 31). He further adds that if the manager fails in this regard they will “find themselves leading their organisations into oblivion” (Tetenbaum, 1998:31). The 21st century is well known as a chaos century in the school of management because chaos seems to be its most dominant characteristic norm.

Much has been said before in preceding articles, on the subject of Barotse change; as to why resistance to change by both individuals and organisations. I even shared with readers some of the strategies useful in overcoming resistance to change at the discretion of our leaders as follows:

  • Education and communication programmes. We appreciate greatly what our media houses are doing to this effect, under the daunting circumstances they are operating in. With funds availed by all well-wishers and progressive people more will be done for the same cause.
  • Participation. It is the duty of all of us to participate in whatever way possible; networking with our neighbours, praying for leadership and Barotse and other methods, including donating time, intellect, money or any other resource of worth. This is the best way I believe for one to show patriotism and not when the independence project is already delivered or realised
  • Facilitation and support; for instance our interim government needs this from us all. Our own adage states that “munwana ulimunw’i a ukoni ku tuba nda” . The equivalent English idiom says “two heads are better than one”. That is why TUKONGOTE WA MWANAA NONGOLO and KOPANO KI MAATA, all familiar maxims.
  • Negotiation; with whoever matters or stands in our way to ultimate freedom of independence. The Barotse Government is busy at it realizing that it is an important ingredient to our total package of securing what is ours – Barotse nation.
  • Manipulation; where need be to actualize our goal. Actually, without really connoting any negativity, manipulation here looks at the strategic planning which is crucial to all of us not just to our leaders.
  • Coercion; sometimes this is necessary like the Lord God dealt with lot and his family from Sodom. Some of our people need to be rescued the Lot’s way from the stupor of their utter shock and disbelief of the Barotse nation status quo, or even deculturation process we went through during the 50 years period of slavery in Zambia. Otherwise, these are the same people who will blame it on the leadership someday for not providing the needed leadership.
    Otherwise, so far so good as our leadership continues to show commitment and skill in employing these strategies to make the new nation of Barotse a learning environment. However, there is always room for improvement as mortals and I think we need to intensify our effort in these areas now more than has been the case so far, as need may be.

JUST HOW CAN WE CREATE THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT IN BAROTSELAND?

Let me take a bit of your time, dear reader, to expatiate on the subject of Barotse Change and Learning Environment. Among other responsibilities our leaders have is to ensure the transformation of Barotseland into a LEARNING ORGANIZATION which provides for risk taking, exploration and toleration of failure. In other words, we all know that as Barotse nation we are divided into three categories in as far as this change agenda is concerned. These categories include the risk averse, risk taking and the risk neutral. The risk averse includes all those individual Barotzish wishing to identify themselves with Zambians for various economic, social reasons and political gains while shunning the duty call at home kwa Bulozi. The risk neutral are the indifferent and diffident citizens who do not have a decided stand but are ready to flow with the majority. Last but not the least are the risk takers in the likes of all our brave and resilient leaders in their varied types (From mwa lapa to Namuso and Interim Barotse Government).

Creating a learning organization out of Barotseland may be defined as the groups and teams of Barotzish working together to collectively, while accepting each other’s uniqueness, to enhance our capacities to create results that we truly care about-an independent Barotse nation. To achieve this synergy of a learning organization we need a continuous capacity to adapt and change. This means, among others, our ability to adapt and change to advice and render our strategy and change management work for us within our time bounds.

In conclusion let me assert that a leader in Barotseland can build and manage a learning organization through implementing five main activities namely:

1. Systematic problem solving; using the principles of total quality management. Even in our poor and disadvantaged state we can keep dreaming about quality in all we do, if we cannot achieve it now. This may not make much sense now but with time it will be quite mandatory that we talk quality, as we begin to run our affairs as a nation. If at all we will mind about quality services and/or products in independent Barotseland then the blue print must be framed now and be entrenched in the various policy documents being drafted. This requires adopting scientific methods for solving problems and not relying on guess work. This further entails the utilization of statistical tools and Barotse data, and not assumptions to guide our decision making. For example, we should know by now roughly how many Barotzis are at home, those estranged in Zambia and in the diaspora, including all the other demographic data to inform our planning.

2. Experimentation; referring to the systematic searching for and testing of new knowledge in managing our change agenda. In the world we live in today knowledge economy is a booming and vital discipline among many that we know. This may require that our leaders work closely with experts or knowledge workers to redeem and harness back home the brain drain that Barotseland has suffered for many years. In effect problem solving can be encouraged through the ongoing programmes which provide for incremental gains in knowledge and demonstration projects which involve holistic, Barotsewide changes, introduced at village level and escalated upwards aimed at developing new national capabilities. It is not right to assume that all citizens know fully what is happening on the ground especially given the levels of intimidation prevalent from/by the Zambian occupying forces.

3. Learning from past experiences; involves the Barotse Team Organisation reviewing our past failures and successes, so far, from the signing of BA ’64 to many other actions inclusive of our being duped by PF in 2011. What message do we get from our failures and successes? This information must clearly be availed to all citizens. I categorically appreciate what has been done so far to this very end as concerns our historic 50 years of servitude to Zambia-much information has been dag up to inform our change momentum. Notwithstanding, it is quite painful as Barotse youth to see our elders still yoking themselves with the Zambian Parties for the ‘ politics of the stomach’ as it were, at the expense their role and function in the great web of Barotse citizenship. With our past experience so far I would not hasten to say that actually this is the time and opportunity to affirm our stance to the whole world by totally boycotting the Zambian presidential by-election on our soil! Maybe foreigners can be allowed with permission from powers that be in our land, and ECZ educated on this matter. The mere fact that Zambia has littered our country with military hardware, software and persware is good motive for this action. Not forgetting the incarceration of our BNYL leaders and now Hon. Afumba Mombotwa, the Administrator General of the Barotseland (head of the interim government) and others in prisons for being ‘lindwalume za mwa hae’ and champions of our real and genuine cause. The chapters of history repeating itself are closed and open are the pages bearing the lesson from the history.

4. Learning from others; both within Barotseland and from outside. We applaud the work done so far by our leaders in consulting with others all over; no man is an island.

5. Transferring knowledge; where knowledge is spread throughout the nation in an efficient and quick manner. Mechanisms to achieve this spread of knowledge include visual, audio and oral reports, village visits, tours and so on whichever is possible. This means that we need to see more utilization of channels of communication followed by measuring learning through follow- ups like the use of questionnaires, interviews and surveys just to ascertain that our communication with the grassroots and others is not one way.

The whole idea is to put everybody on board to ensure that we speak the same language and walking the same walk of our liberation struggle. However, it must be noted that LEARNING IS PERMANENT CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR; our thoughts, actions and words must all be consistent with our resolve of self-determination. With us the youth this is possible to achieve if our leaders teach and direct us accordingly. With the old however, some may still be suffering from the syndrome of OLD HABITS DIE HARD. This is why some of the sporadic cases of dissidence and defections of some of our elders to rally with Zambian leaders.

Editor General, Barotseland Post

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