BAROTSE JOINT COMMUNIQUÉ ON DIALOGUE WITH THE ZAMBIAN STATE: Thursday, 3rd May, 2018.
The Barotseland Transitional Government (BTG), Linyungandambo and all their allied Barotse political groupings, youth and women leagues, wish to emphasize their resolve and commitment to ensuring that Barotse people are no longer disrespected, trampled upon or victimized.
Barotseland is a country that prides itself in deep-rooted cultural values, laws and norms, one of which is respect for all our people, whether they are rich or poor; commoner or royal, across all age, gender and ethnical extrapolation!
These laws and values have not only governed Barotseland for centuries but have also guided our nation in all previous association and negotiations with alien cultures to attain and preserve what is good for our Kingdom. It is these values, therefore, which must continue to guide us in our present and future negotiations with the Zambian state and any other state wishing to forge friendships and partnerships with us.
While we jointly wish to express our sincere desire to amicably and peacefully negotiate through our present altercation with the Zambian government, our decision to prioritize peaceful political and diplomatic negotiations to attain our aspirations for self-determination does not mean we will not explore any other means necessary to achieve our objectives if this preferred option fails!
DIALOGUE WITH ZAMBIAN STATE
Coming to the subject of dialogue, we wish to state that we are only willing to dialogue with the Zambian government under the following fundamental pre-conditions:
1. That the Zambian state must unconditionally release our leaders Afumba Mombotwa, Likando Pelekelo and Inambao Kalima forthwith as their first sincere gesture to any dialogue!
2. The Zambian state must also immediately decriminalize all matters related to Barotseland; including all self-expression on, but not limited to, the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 and the March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) resolutions.
How are we expected to freely discuss what the Zambian state considers a crime in the presence of their heavily armed force? Therefore, the Barotse wish to dialogue without any fear of state reprisals from security agencies.
Sadly, the Zambian state has in the past used such processes to lure zealous Barotse activists in their police net! For example, many Barotse immediately became targets of arrests and imprisonment after their frank and open contributions during the Zambian state created Rodger Chongwe Commission of Inquiry proceedings.
3. As such, all active and on-going court processes, warrants of arrest and manhunts issued on any Barotse people over Barotseland related matters, must forthwith be unconditionally withdrawn.
4. That the dialogue must be organized under neutral grounds; with independent observers who should include the Church, the International Community (UN, SADC, Commonwealth, EU, and UNPO), International Human Rights Watchdogs and the Media held locally or internationally.
5. That the dialogue should not be between the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ). Rather, it should be between the Litunga of Barotseland, his Council, and the Chiefs, and the People of Barotseland on one part and the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ), on the other.
The BRE is a creation of the Zambian State and does not exist in Barotse governance, and were not a party to the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 as an entity. A dialogue between BRE and GRZ would be like the Zambia government talking to itself! Therefore, as a creation of the Zambian State; the BRE should only serve as facilitators. However, individual Induna can participate as representatives of their various Kutas, if so chosen!
Similarly, all Zambian parliamentarians serving in the region should only participate as individuals for the same reason.
6. Most importantly, we wish to unequivocally state that the 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) Resolutions must form the only basis of any present and future dialogue with the Zambian state as all other matters are now rudimentary to it.
QUALIFICATION: Since the BNC is the SUPREME organ of Barotse governance, its most recent unanimous determination is what must regulate any conduct of Barotseland at any given time!
The 2012 BNC, being the most recent PIZO (people's council), mandated the Barotse Government to engage in a dialogue process on matters pertaining to a peaceful and successful disengagement of our two nations and peoples.
As such, we are not prepared to waste time discussing any frivolities about dead issues.
We are confident and hopeful that the above pre-conditions are not vexatious but favorable with the Zambian state, bearing in mind that the Zambian government was the first to frustrate the peaceful and harmonious co-existence with Barotseland by unilaterally annulling the only instrument designed to be the basis of any future unity between Barotseland and independent Zambia in the period 1965 – 1970.
Barotseland, in fact, only accepted the Zambian government frustrations in March 2012, after enduring four decades of repression and deprivation! Accordingly, the Ngambela of Barotseland dully communicated to the Zambian government Barotseland’s official acceptance, after it became clear that Barotseland’s existence in Zambia as designed by the Barotseland Agreement 1964 was no longer desirable by both Barotseland and the Zambian State.
The landmark 27th March 2012 BNC resolutions and the Ngambela’s formal communication to the Zambian state are herewith attached.
1. Resolutions of the Barotse National Council (BNC) 27th March 2012 ( http://barotselandpost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/barotse_national_council_bnc_march_2012_resolutions.pdf )
2. BRE letter of dispute with Zambia 2012 ( http://barotselandpost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/bre_letter_of_dispute_with_zambia.pdf )