The Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has made its submissions to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) draft constitution, demanding the acknowledgment of some provisions in the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 in the new constitution.
BRE Senior Induna Ingangwana, who was flanked by Indunas Mukwakwa representing Senanga district, Ilubonda of Limulunga Royal Village and Induna Malenga representing Kaoma district, made the submissions to NCC Chairman, Chifumu Banda in Lusaka today.
In the submissions signed by the acting Ngambela, Litia Walubita, the BRE noted that the draft constitution did not consider the provisions of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
The BRE proposed in the submissions that Articles of the constitution which define Zambia as a unitary state should acknowledge the Barotseland Agreement to be the instrument by which the unitary state is constituted.
The BRE said Part II of the Draft Constitution 2010 was not inclusive and proposed that Articles 4 (2), (3) and (5) be recast.
It proposed that the text of Article 4 (2), which establishes Zambia as a unitary, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural democratic state, should be changed to reflect the origins of the unitary state.
The royal establishment also submitted that for clause three of Article 4 to make sense, it should be supported by the acknowledgment of Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which enforces the unitary and indivisibility of the state.
Clause three of Article four states that ‘the Republic of Zambia shall no be ceded, in whole or in part, to another country’.
“This clause (clause 3 of Article 4) is an unnecessary overkill in the protection of the indivisibility of the unitary state,” reads the BRE submission in part.
On Article 4(5), the BRE said the clause was targeted at the Barotseland, which according to the BRE, was the only region of Zambia that has a clear right to establish a regional government.
Clause 5 of this article says ‘The establishment of a new state within the territory of the Republic of Zambia is prohibited’.
“It should be emphasized that this right preceded the birth of the Republic of Zambia and is, therefore, not bestowed on Barotseland by Zambia,” the BRE submission reads further.
A unitary state is one that has politics relating to or based on a system of government in which authority is centralized.
The BRE further argued that Article 213 (1) of Part XII of the draft constitution is inadequate as far as legislation for provincial, districts and local authorities administration is concerned.
BRE said this aspect of government administration should be placed under the Litunga (King of the Lozi people) and the council as per Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
“Accordingly, for Western province (Barotseland), the power given by the Constitution to Parliament to legislate for administration of provinces, districts and local authorities should be made subject to the provisions of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 as enshrined under Clause 8 of the Barotseland Agreement 1964,” the submissions read in part.
Clause 8 of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 states that “The Government of the Republic of Zambia shall take steps as may be necessary to ensure the laws for the time being in force in the Republic are not inconsistent with the provisions of this Agreement”.
The BRE is also condemning Article 290 (2) of Part XIX of the Draft Constitution, saying it has failed to include land vested in the Litunga within the definition of customary land.
The establishment therefore proposes that Clause II of Article 290, which defines customary land, should be amended by inserting land vested in the Litunga as part of the customary land.
“Under Article 293 (1), the powers of the President over minerals and petroleum should not be so sweeping as to override the existing powers of the Litunga over land in Barotseland,” say the BRE submissions to the NCC.
The BRE further suggested that this article should therefore be re-aligned with the provisions relating to the control of land in Barotseland.
“Arising from the foregoing, Clause 2 of this Article should be deleted from the Draft Constitution,” read the submissions.
And after receiving the submissions, NCC Chairperson, Chifumu Banda commended the BRE for its response to take part in the national task to come up with a new constitution.
Mr. Banda said the BRE has always been responsive to issues of national interest and importance.
“It gives me great pleasure to receive submissions from the BRE because you as the BRE are always involved in responding to the national duty,” he said.
He said it was very encouraging that many other royal establishments have commented on the draft constitution.
“You can not build a strong nation without a strong royal establishment,” he said.
The NCC launched the Draft Constitution on June 22nd, this year and provided 40 days for the public to make comments.
The period for making submissions was scheduled to end yesterday, August 1st, 2010 but the NCC has continued to receive submissions from members of the public and organisations because the day following the deadline is a public holiday in Zambia.
NCC Spokesperson, Mwangala Zaloumis said when asked about why the BRE submitted comments after the August 1st deadline, that this was because today, (Monday) is a public holiday.
She said over 1,000 submissions have been received by the NCC in the last 40 days.
But when asked whether NCC will stop receiving submissions tomorrow, Tuesday 3rd August, Mrs. Zaloumis did not give a categorical answer but said, “It will depend. We will see because the plenary sits on the 10th of August”.
The NCC was appointed in 2007 by the late President Levy Mwanawasa to review the Mung’omba Constitution Review Commission (CRC) draft constitution and come up with a new constitution before the 2011 general elections.
The NCC concluded its reviewing work in April this year and adjourned to allow the secretariat to prepare an initial draft constitution, which was launched for comments by the members of the public on June 22nd, 2010.