It is with a strange sense of déjà vu as I review the statements of some of the most prominent personalities in the Zambian government in relation to the National policy question that exists between the two sister-countries of Barotseland and Zambia. The Barotseland issue has been characterized by misinformation, misrepresentation and outright ignorance of the facts from our Zambian counterparts. It is simply unacceptable that the people who were suppose to take the lead in resolving this impasse peacefully are the same ones (the PF government) exhibiting high levels of intellectual backwardness about Barotseland's legal facts. What we have witnessed in Zambia for the past two and half year rule of PF are myths, distortions of facts and outright lies in relation to Barotseland national question.
It is no longer possible to deceive neither the people of Zambia nor those of Barotseland on the authenticity of the demands for Barotse nationhood. It is, therefore, most unfortunate that the PF government dismissed the recommendations of the Roger Chongwe Commission, which to us was a referendum in silence. Further, former PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba’s attack on the integrity of Roger Chongwe and members of his Commission for having overstepped their terms of reference was an insult to the many Barotse and Zambians who made submissions.
Dr. Banda, UPND vice president and right hand man to their presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema once said that there were lies going round that if the UPND wins the 2015 elections they will divide the country by allowing ‘Western province’ (Barotseland) to break away. Dr Canisus Banda assured Zambians that the party believes that Zambia was an indivisible unitary state hence it cannot break - whatever that means. Barotseland independence is not in any way considered breaking the country or seceding because Zambia is not monolithic but unitary state that was supposed to be maintained under a union agreement (BA64), which is not the case. In the absence of union treaty (BA64) secession is a misnomer.
The current PF government has so far refused to sign the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) agreement which seeks to have the standoff between Zambia and Barotseland resolved peacefully through the court based in The Hague in Netherlands.
The Zambian government of PF has also ignored the submission that was presented by Barotseland to the Banjul based African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) and has not responded as per requirement. How should we still hope for peaceful talks with the people who have openly refused dialogue?
The Zambian government actions are convincingly that Zambia stands not for peace in this regard and it is a call for Barotseland to seek other avenues that will bring the standoff to a conclusion! However, the Barotse Question or the Barotseland statehood, today, merits interrogation as to the validity of the nature of influences that determine the Barotse “people’s wishes” necessitate assertion of self-rule as promulgated in the BA64 or Barotseland's independence declaration of independence of 29th March 2012.
The sooner the Zambian government addressed itself to the demands for attention on Barotseland’s nationhood the better for national security and a region as a whole. No power on earth can stop a people from attaining statehood and political freedom. History is full of examples of people who have contested their subordination and subjugation. Eritrea, Kosovo, Palestine and South Sudan are cases in point.
Barotseland forward in 2015,
By Saleya Kwalombota