Freedom of Independence Vs. Freedom of Dependence

22 October 2014
Left: Kenneth Kaunda and HRM Mwanawina III - Right: HRM Mwanawina III, King of Bartoseland with HRM Queen Elizabeth in 1960

Finally, the much awaited historic 24th October is finally here this week. Allow me space in your wonderful paper to celebrate in a unique way with the readers this very important day.

Since 1964 when Zambia was pronounced independent from the British colonial rule the day has been recurrent yearly, just like any other important anniversary. However, this year the recurrence brings along with it the much thought after Golden Jubilee Celebrations of independence in the minds of most Zambians. Ironically, it connotes the climax of the paradoxical union between Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland dubbed as Zambia on 1964. This union is what I would like to term or phrase as “Freedom of Independence against Freedom of Dependence”. This day this week is very important to both Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland for reasons discussed in this article, much so this time around, in our dear history.


I say so because when this day clocks in, Zambia will be celebrating the purported 50 years Golden Jubilee Celebration of independence from her colonial master Britain, as a colony. Technically speaking it is indeed a Golden Jubilee celebration for Northern Rhodesia and not Barotseland because as a protectorate we just exchanged hands from the Britons to the Zambians. In effect, this has never really been Barotseland’s independence. It was time for FREEDOM OF INDEPENDENCE for Zambia (Northern Rhodesia), YES! but it was time for FREEDOM OF DEPENDENCE on each other, for both nations. Getting out of the repressive arm of colonization by Britain “Zambia” decided to exert the same on Barotseland as if to revenge on us all the colonization anathemas Britain meted on her; most of which Britain never really committed against Northern Rhodesia. The agenda was so ill conceived such that it was very easy for the new Zambian government of the day to quickly abrogate the BA ’64, a sign of the political marriage between us by as early as 1969, barely about five years from the historic signing of the “Marriage Certificate” BA ’64 and other related documents.

Interestingly, Zambia could not divorce Barotseland completely together with the abrogation of BA ’64 but instead chose to cohabit and assimilate her, a move that could not work. This move showed Zambia’s quest for not only freedom of independence from Britain but also freedom of dependence on Barotseland. For how long this marriage of convenience would last only time could tell!

To the contrary, Barotse Government’s move in 1964 to join Northern Rhodesia and form Zambia was a reflection of her desires for freedom of dependence on Zambia. There was no total freedom of independence yet for her. But like newlyweds all was engulfed in the gab of the vows, flattery and a honeymoon that only lasted a few years. What followed thereon was estrangement and evil surmising of all sorts. Alas! The good idea then never worked. Instead of being a real marriage “until death do us part” as it were, it turned out to be an experimental and abortive union with Northern Rhodesia unceremoniously and surreptitiously. Unfortunately, the Barotseland’s posterity now knows very much what transpired and how to redress the situation and save the Barotse family image in the international arena. For the outgoing past 50 years the period will be remembered for the efforts Barotse made for the legal reconciliation with Northern Rhodesia though to no avail, only human rights abuses, killings maiming, and insidious offenses on Barotzis.

Ultimately, Barotseland decided to embark on her course to FREEDOM OF INDEPENDENCE agenda from the yoke of slavery to Zambia (Freedom of Dependence) to balance off the equation, understanding that outside this noble legal and political framework would render the demise of Barotse nation into total oblivion. Even our existence as 'Western Province' then was actually baseless and futile. Failing to understand this present truth is like trying to bring back USSR into existence. Our union with Northern Rhodesia has failed and Zambia is a defunct state and misnomer. That is why our leaders amply stated that “there is nothing more important/powerful as an idea whose time has come”

In conclusion bahesu, the 50 years of independence celebrated on 24th October, 2014 to Barotse national like me marks the climax and end of this epic paradox of the union between the two nations of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland. It also earmarks the dawn of yet another reality to be written on a clean account of the next 50 years as we reflect on the our past 50 years of second class citizenry and slavery to Zambia. My plea is that God helps us to learn lessons from both our wilderness experience in “Zambia” and the journey of Israelite of old from Egypt to the promised land Canaan – a short journey to the target destination took years of wondering to and fro not by God’s choice but theirs.

Ours, therefore, is to obey God (Nyambe), our leaders and remain focused as we embark on this mammoth task of rebuilding our pride and ruins of our glory land Bulozi into a nation among nations forevermore!

Written by Lindunda (La Mulonga) Wamunyima

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