Why Barotseland did not have separate independence from Northern Rhodesia

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By Godwin M Kaluwe President: Barotseland Peace Foundation

By 1963 the territory of Barotseland protectorate which is now called Western Province in Zambia, was administered jointly, with Northern Rhodesia protectorate by, and for British convenience for various economic and political reasons, in which case a protectorate within another protectorate occurred. Barotseland’s quest for independence was on record since 1911. It was inevitable that both nations would be free, the question was when and how so, two free and separate states named Zambia and Barotseland or one Zambia one nation. Through the BA64 one Zambia and one nation would prevail.

As nationalism mounted pressure on the British colonial government in the 1960s, independence became a reality. Prime Minister David Kenneth Kaunda was well advised to lobby the support of Barotseland even though the BRE had long withdrawn from some parts of southern province, Caprivi Strip of Namibia, Eastern Angola, Victoria falls of Zimbabwe, Kasane of Botswana, NW Province, Central province and Copper-belt province. According to honorable Sikota Wina, this was a smart move in that it helped the newly formed government of Zambia reclaim the mining rights of copper-belt from the BSAC which would have continued for 99 years since the Lockner treaties with Lewanika signed in the late 1800s. “Mr. Wina said the treaties provided that the Lozi King Lewanika had been granted protectorate status by Britain through the Lochner Concession of June 1890, in return for giving Cecil Rhodes’ BSAC monopoly over mining and commercial rights in his territory. He said this monopoly could have been earning BSAC fat royalties up to 1986.” (Kasuba Mulenga Report, 2010)

Barotseland was not really obliged to be independent along with Northern Rhodesia. In fact it was the desire of the BRE to be independent as Barotseland, but the British at the time thought Barotseland had no sufficient economy and industrial capacity to stand alone without copper-belt. In order for the two separate nations to be awarded independence by the British, however, it would require a special agreement to replace Lewanika’s old treaties and concessions. The BA64 became that agreement. With that vehicle in place, and only then did the British feel comfortable to surrender Barotseland into the hands of a new form of government, also expected to continue facilitating Barotseland with her autonomy within Zambia to be, this time a nation within a nation, as was the case with a protectorate within a protectorate. KK assured the Litunga and the people of Barotseland to trust him and never to worry as this arrangement was not new.

Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, then Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia later addressed the Barotse National Council on 6th August 1964 concerning the Barotseland Agreement which was to come into force on 24th October 1964.

“….It is the government’s full intention that the Barotseland Agreement will be honored fully after independence…. The government has no wish to interfere with the day to day running of the internal affairs of Barotseland. This is the responsibility of the Barotse government and the intention of the Central Government will be no more than to give the Barotse Government its maximum assistance and co-operation. …The customary rights in Barotseland will remain with the Litunga, National Council and the District heads of Kutas. He added that “the government is satisfied that government requirements for land for development projects in Barotseland will receive the active co-operation of the Barotse government, this is all the Central Government is asking for…..” (Nyambe, 2010)

Despite this assurance from KK the Litunga did not believe that KK was sincere. As a result the BNC wrote an appeal to the British government requesting to have separate independence, of which the British government was reluctant to do as it would cost them more money to deliver. Thus, encouraging Barotseland to make a deal with Northern Rhodesia was perceived cheaper for the British government, beneficial to Northern Rhodesia as it would close the copper-belt mining ownership rights issue once and for all, and would also leave Barotseland attached to Zambia like Zanzibar with Tanzania, or arrange to be like Lesotho and Swaziland in South Africa.

Barotseland was not really obliged to be independent along with Northern Rhodesia. In fact it was the desire of the BRE to be independent as Barotseland, but the British at the time thought Barotseland had no sufficient economy and industrial capacity to stand alone without copper-belt. 


Through the efforts and influence of the Lozi elite such as Arthur Wina, Mundia Nalumino, Sipalo and others, the message of one Zambia one nation was preached as gospel truth and salvation for Barotseland and her future development. Hence many people voted for one Zambia one nation in the infamous referendum that followed later. Even though today some reliable sources allege that the elections were rigid forcing Barotseland to become part of Zambia. Whatever the case was, it was accepted and we gladly became Zambians. Soon after independence KK and his government sort to abrogate the BA64 in 1969 fulfilling the Litunga, Mwanawina Lewanika’s fears. When the local people in Barotseland protested KK declared state of emergency and arrested several activists without trial. Since KK’s time every effort to address the BA64 has met with manipulation, indifference, threats even killings by successive governments respectively.

Does the government understand how important Mongu/Kalabo road is to the people of Barotseland, politics aside? Are the people of Barotseland asking too much?


The BA64 has never been handled properly. People on blogs insult each other for nothing. Only Love, Peace and Respect for each other will help aide the process for resolving this impasse. It is now more than 47 years since Zambia became independent, but development in Barotseland is still a dream not yet fulfilled. How long will the people of Barotseland wait for the promise of development to come? Does the government understand how important Mongu/Kalabo road is to the people of Barotseland, politics aside? Are the people of Barotseland asking too much?

The people of Barotseland now hope that the government of President Michael Sata which they voted in trust, which has so far demonstrated civility, consideration and willingness to dialogue, will bring this matter to a peaceful conclusion through the commission of inquiry. The whole world is watching to see how Zambian presidents keep their promises. The abrogation of the BA64 is the first born of Zambian corruption. The International community will respect Mr. Sata even more should he be transparent on this issue, unlike his predecessors. On the other hand, if KK who is still alive could advise Mr. Sata and the nation to do the right thing, KK would die with great honor.

 

58 COMMENTS

  1. vote

    I believe the author of this article is a man of letters, by just seeing the way he has quoted academic papers on the issue and the title he holds.

    However, I have an issue with him resorting to emotionalism and lies to drive his point home. His first statement in the last paragragh is not only sleak and sly, but constructed to deceive the masses and make them build hatred against the current government, based on lies.

    Facts are clear that if you pit RB Vs Sata in Western Province , RB beat Sata hands down and to now start saying that Western Province ushered Sata into power is being deceitful and dangerous.

    I hate this government, but would never use lies against it. Lets’s debate based on facts and avoid inflaming people’s emotions using deceit.

    • vote

      my respect for you grows each day l am not an mmd fan, but your points are really to admired

    • vote

      my brother,try to compare the results of 2008 elections and last year’s.you will see the difference,a veri big margin.yes pf didntoverly win in western province but they reduced the gap by far.

    • vote

      Mwana Umusuma, it’s not the difference in the results of 2011 and 2008 that matters, Western Province voted for RB, HH and MCS in that order. They did not bring Sata into State House but rather the powerhouse provinces of Lusaka and the Copperbelt did. So Western Province should not try to pretend that Sata owes them anything as they failed to give him their vote.

  2. 0
    -1
    vote

    so what would be the right thing to do exactly cut off western province and let them try and make a country with a foolish dream of finding oil? lets even assume they is oil how much of it is there how long would it last what would you do with the land before the province becomes one of the poorest countries on the planet lets not forget most lozi people are in lusaka so even if they were to become free would they go back to western province? will every lozi person become a foriegner in zambia will we have to chase them back to western province? just wondering what you really want to happen here cause this whole thing might end badly are you people asking for development or freedom?

  3. vote

    Foolishness at its best. Why not leave history in the past and forge ahead like one nation with different tribes. Instead, all we see is such stupidity by an unknown author. This article does nothing but provokes people from all sectors. Very stupid, we do not need such id10ts in our country.

  4. vote

    We can give these people Independence. But It will ONLY be for Mongu, Kalabo and Shangombo ONLY. The rest they do not want. The Nkoya’s and others do not want the Barotse thing and a few LOZIs should NOT force anybody to JOIN the secession call.

  5. vote

    Fufu, very good indeed. I give you A+ and you have graduated with distinction. Now go and get a beer and rest over it.

  6. vote

    Why not just give these people their land? Unless Zambia has got a hell lot to lose(apart from the beautiful lozi woman, who will still be available on passport travel to Zambia)

  7. vote

    Gentlemen this is my last comment on this issue. I have stated before that akasalu kakutintana kalalepuka. Give them Barotseland and see how they will come back running. Why have they opted to remain in other provinces instead of them going back to their so called land? Only a few greedy Lozis are talking about the issue. My advice to the Lozis is: Just demand for DEVELOPMENT that is all. Thankyou.

  8. vote

    It is my feeling that only a few selfish and disgruntled individuals want the Barotse agreement restored.Most of them being failed politicians.

  9. vote

    nkoya are loz,i their dominant area is in kalabo.kaoma is mbunda dominated.no one will come out as nkoya without interconnections.refugees pretending to be nkoyas will be taken back in to the refugee camp in luampa.we are nkoya and barotseland our home.we are proud as united barotse people.Mr namulambe should actually have deported the bemba speaking people from the CB,they evEn shout more louder than the lamba people themselves who own CB.They are even on top of their voices in lusaka the soli land.this bemba thing is disgusting.

    • vote

      Blackbulls, please stop Bullsh–ting!! If YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE REALITY OF TODAY, take a hike, NO ONE WILL BE LEAVING LUSAKA NOR THE COPPERBELT becoz some nincompoop feels that those from the northern aspects of our country don’t belong.
      E.g. you might find that your family was displaced from the area covered by Lake Kariba, which would mean YOU DON’T BELONG TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW SETTLED, would you want to relocate INTO Lake Kariba, & become either a fish, or croc or hippo to settle into your new enviroment???

  10. vote

    BAROTSE WILL NEVER BE RESTORED! The borders of Barotse went into Namibia and Bostwana so how do you hope to address this? A few disgruntled individuals are just bent on formenting trouble especially that Sata is willing to talk; but not to be ‘cowed’. Watch this space!

  11. vote

    This article is dillusional, not factual and misleading. The BSAC gave up its concession in 1923 when the colonial office tookover. Dream-on

  12. vote

    This Barotse issue has to be brought to a conclusion. It would be nice if the Litunga came out of his cacoon and issued a joint statement with the President. Some comments by so called experts are confusing. Is it development ( which every part of Zambia needs ) or an independent state on current boundaries ( how sustainable would such a state be? ).

  13. vote

    this article is incomplete as the writte did not do a profound research,the litunga,portuguese and the french signed treaties also,the reason was to protect the white colonies ie ,portuguse -angola,french -congo dr.british-rhodesia/barlosiland. the treaty was signed in italy.the main reason why the litunga signed this treaty was he feared his kingdom would be overthrown by the luba lunda /mwatayamvu kingdom which was spreading like wild fire.but the lozi history is a unique from the rest of zambian tribes in the sense that it was a well high rankly organise from time immomerial,but to think of that set up and the power which the litunga had at that time to be vested in him today is dogmatic thinking.but my question is why is the litunga quite on this issue?is he the one behind it?i ned ans

    • vote

      Planzo, stop displaying IGNORANCE of the highest order!! “Well high rankly organised from time immemorial”, what ever that means!! The fact is, Lozi’s are offshoots of one the tribes that fled Shaka Zulu, SO THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN THERE FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL!!!

  14. vote

    #14 Blackbulls – Every Zambian is free to live wherever they like – that is why you are not in Barotseland. Why do you single out Bembas? You sound like a very bitter person. Get a life mate.

  15. vote

    Lozis are just difficult people. Let us just continue laying their women, married or single. This is the only area they are successful.

  16. vote

    LET’S BE TRUTHFUL MY PEOPLE. THEY WANT INDEPENDENCE BECAUSE OF CERTAIN ‘FUEL’ RESERVES FOUND THERE AFTER A SECRET EXPLORATION BUT THE INFORMATION CAME OUT AND PEOPLE DON’T LIKE SHARING. FAIR ENOUGH, IT’S YOUR LAND, YOUR WEALTH AND IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE A PART OF ZAMBIA THEN SO BE IT BUT UNDERSTAND THIS, THERE ARE HOSTILE COUNTRIES THAT WILL COME AND HOLD YOUR PEOPLE TO RANSOM FOR WHAT’S IN THE GROUND SO WHATEVER RELATIONSHIP YOU FORM WITH WHATEVER COUNTRY, NEIGHBORING PREFERABLY, THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO STAND WITH YOU AGAINST THOSE VULTURES. LOOK AT DRC, ANGOLA, UGANDA AND ANY OTHER COUNTRY WITH MINERAL WEALTH AND SHOW ME ONE ‘LOCAL’ PERSON WHO OWNS IT. THINK BEFORE YOU ACT, BE CAREFUL AND I WISH YOU THE VERY BEST IN FULFILLING WHAT YOU HEARTS DESIRE

  17. vote

    Barbed Wire if you mother can’t having sex with a lozi,it’s not reason enough to insult all lozis even those silent. It was her fault either she wanted or your father need help.

  18. vote

    Blackbull you sound so bitter and frustrated indeed.leave us the bemba’s along.and shut up if you don’t have anything to comment about.x(

  19. vote

    It will be a great year the moment we shall get our peace of land. We have suffered a lot, by all hostile governments. Ths is the time, we don’t care wheather we suffer or not.

  20. vote

    #12 REAL MAN, well said. Lozis need to start investing in their own Western Province in preparation for their return to what they claim their “homeland”. The next step they need to embark on is to quietly start resigning from their jobs in Zambia and return to their province. This will help reduce congestion and hassles once the government finally grants them their wish. If Lozi people believe they can develop their province, they must all return to Barotseland and pool their energies together to develop what may be a pipe dream. No one hates Lozis but they are themselves so hateful of Bemba people. Lozis should stop hating Bembas and focus all their might to develop their area. My advice to the Lozi people is, please leave Zambia and go back to your “silicon” valley.

  21. vote

    Berbed wire, you have a problem with the Lozis. My friend, this tribe that you are insulting has contributed much in the face Zambia as u c it today. They are not stupid, go into history my friend. It is a great tribe. Y are u shaking, this shows that u really fear them.

    1. Lozis are hospitable

    2. They love their culture and tribe.

    3. they are not easily blown.

    4. They have respect

  22. vote

    Jafy, i doubt if you are more than 15 yrs, your language is so childish. Y hating the Bembas, tell me what do you have. I might be wrong, it might be the other way round, u guys hating banaa ba Poho Yensu. Jafy it cost you nothing to be objective in some of the things.

  23. vote

    I agree entirely with Ishee, those insulting Lozis are displaying their ignorance about the history of an honest, dignified and self respecting people who accomodated others with faith and optimism. However, Lozis are not naive, and though extremely patient cannot forget nor deny themselves as the heritage of their forefathers. So your hatred is like those who hate Jews because they are Jews. Anti-Semitism is now also against Lozis, for what – for their being a self respecting people? Those who denounce us and call us names cannot explain their hatred, just like those who hate Jews so much cannot. But so what/ Jews shall remain in the Land of Israel, just like we shall remain in our land forever.

  24. vote

    @28, Jafy,
    Its amazing how certain tribes hate Bembas as if Nothern Province is near to their province. You just failed to convince your colonial masters that you can form a gvt,so they had to combine you with Zambia. The other point is Barotse land has been divided,part of it is in Angola, Namibia etc. why cant you start with Angola or Namibia. For your own info,should u move away from Zambia, you will be a very lonely poor country. Be assured that Angola will have nothing to do with u coz of fear that u may claim part of that country as well, so is Namibia.So, the only route for ur imports is Zambia from TZ through Bemba land.

  25. vote

    An Agreement replacing a Treaty? Never heard of that. Anyway, it seems very clear to me now that I have heard both sides of the argument that it is the British that screwed Lewanika. First of all in 1890 and second in 1963. Kaunda realised after independence that this Agreement was not legally binding and that is why he just ignored it. The BRE should have insisted on a TREATY and not a ‘gentleman’s’ Agreement. No wonder the Lozis have never gone to court!

    • vote

      I agree…Lewanika was screwed by the british…for sure. The lozi people should not take it out on the nation of Zambia that their leader at the time made a poor decision. We have been as one Nation for over forty years…lets just work together for the continued good and development of all Zambians…regardless of what tribe they belong to.

  26. vote

    Lozis are very good people. Stop insulting us. Just visit our website & see our plans on barotseland.com , stop being funny. Ths article is pure facts & history

  27. vote

    Why have Lozis failed to integrate with the rest of the nation? As far as I can remember these guys have had same priviledges as Zambians, with the same opportunities. The fact that they do not want to think of themselves as Zambians is their fault. Why should they get special treatment because of their tribe? In todays world, any one can achieve anything if they work hard enough. It is unfair to ask for special priveleges. If you look back, the people of North Western province were the most marginalised tribe in Zambia and the province was poor. You do not hear them talking of succession. Instead they are asking govt for a fair share of the resources from NW province. Please Lozis, it time you stepped down from that pedestal and joined the other Zambians as EQUALS.

  28. vote

    Godwin Kaluwe, stop telling lies thru you teeth and LT editorial team must check facts before u publish. If u go to Page 87 of the elections result on the ECZ website http://www.elections.org.zm/media/28092011_public_notice_-_2011_presidential_election_results.pdf, you will find that the results show that BANDA Rupiah B 53,176 (28.21% ) followed by HICHILEMA Hakainde 43,579 votes (23.12%) then SATA Micheal C 21,640 (11.48% ), etc. 

    So where is all this crap about Lozis voted for Sata based on his promises? Maybe the ones who voted for him are teachers and policemen from other parts of the country. 

    Please be factual and advance verifiable arguments and not fabrications to support your position which u r free to take

  29. vote

    Is this about “kingdom shall rise against kingdom and nation agains nation” or what?. Are we there(last days) people?

  30. vote

    KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis KOLWESTANIANS HATE LOZIS kolwestanians hate lozis

  31. vote

    Yet another issue where people have to insult one another. Most of the fools advocating for this secession rubbish are not even lozis, its all for political reasons. You pigs, stop making lozis look bad.

  32. vote

    U never voted the PF. If the PF promised to honor ur BA64 it was jst a political strategy to win a few votes frm u ppl. So jst advocate for development and not secession. Zambia needs ur beautiful women.

  33. vote

    U never voted the PF. If the PF promised to honor ur BA64 it was jst a political strategy to win a few votes frm u ppl. So jst advocate for development and not secession. Bembas still need beautiful women.

  34. vote

    On “Mr. Wina said the treaties provided that the Lozi King Lewanika had been granted protectorate status by Britain through the Lochner Concession of June 1890, in return for giving Cecil Rhodes’ BSAC monopoly over mining and commercial rights in his territory”. Unfortunately, as Sata rightly said, Lewanika gave rights to the BSAC in areas which were not part of Barotseland. That’s why Sata rightly said the Litunga gave away land illegally. Zambia took over the mineral rights not after discussing with the Litunga but after the mining companies, upon being challenged by the Zambian government soon after independence, failed to defend those rights knowing how Cecil Rhodes cheated the Litunga at the Lochner Concession.

  35. vote

    It is shocking to see some people bringing in the issue of tribalism at every opportunity. If it is the issue of development let us just concentrate on that. But again when you look at the other provinces, I do not see which ones are more developed than the other. Lusaka and Copperbelt are developed comparatively for obvious reasons and North Western Province will follow suit soon. Please let us avoid being tribal, the benefits are ZERO.

  36. vote

    All of the posturing about ‘stronger together’, ‘One Zambia One Nation, ‘treason’, is nothing more than an admission that there’s nothing really there; the King “Zed” really doesn’t have any clothes, he’s stack naked. If there was a positive argument for ‘One Zambia One Nation’, I am sure that it would have been made by now. Independence for Barotseland is inevitable!

  37. vote

    Y do we pipo have 2 on blogs insult each other for nothing. Only Love, Peace and Respect for each other will help aide the process for resolving this impasse of BA64 and not insults. Yes it’s now more than 47 years since Zambia became independent, but development in Barotseland is still a dream not yet fulfilled and people of Barotseland have long bin waiting for the promise of development to come? But plz lets not employ insults as mean to resolve the issue..

  38. vote

    At the time of independence in Ghana, the eastern part of Ghana was called British Togoland. The people of British Togoland voted to be part of Ghana and not part of present day Togo which was ruled by the French, since then there has been no issues of former British Togoland asking to leave and join Togo or Togo claiming the former British Togoland.
    Is there something that we can learn from our collegues from West Africa?

    There is another thing that we should learn from trends in Africa. Africa has had very powerful Kingdoms, yet at the moment there are only three countries run kings, Swaziland, lesotho and Morocco. Every one is advocating for some form of democracy, we in Zambia should be thing of re-introducing monarchy!

  39. vote

    I think this Barotseland agreement was a booby trap by the british. After all they had benefited from barotesland/northen rhodeshia…it was too expensive for them to grant baroteseland their own independence? BTW I am not Lozi but the mistake the litunga made was to even go with this agreement in the first place. He should have never withdrawn from any of Barotseland territory and maintained them and they should have persisted for their own independence. But this agreement was setting Zambia up for potential strife and conflict. Let us not play into their trap.

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