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Thursday, February 27, 2020

50 +1 years legacy of trickery,mockery and treachery -Breaking the vicious circle

Columns 50 +1 years legacy of trickery,mockery and treachery -Breaking the vicious circle

By Mukunyandela wa Nyandi

As the ‘wind of change’ was blowing across Africa, frantic efforts were being made to hammer out an agreement that would bring independence to Northern Rhodesia to ensure that Barotseland does not remain dependent on the British Crown in accordance with the treaties between the British Crown on one hand and the Barotse Monarchy on the other. Late on 18th May, 1964, ‘The Barotseland Agreement 1964’ was signed. The opening paragraph of the preamble of The Barotseland Agreement 1964 stated,

Following talks in London between the British Government, the Government of Northern Rhodesia and the Litunga of Barotseland, an Agreement was concluded at the Commonwealth Relations Office on 18th May, 1964. It is entitled ‘The Barotseland Agreement 1964. It was signed by Dr. K. D. Kaunda, Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, by Sir Mwanawina Lewanika III K.B.E., Litunga of Barotseland and by the Right Honourable Duncan Sandys M.P., Secretary for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies, signifying the approval of her Majesty’s Government.

The preamble further stated,

“The Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia undertook on behalf of his Government that the Agreement would be reaffirmed by the Government of Northern Rhodesia at Independence.”

It is an open historic secret and fact that this undertaking was not fulfilled and remains unfulfilled today, fifty plus one years, since it was made. This is the genesis of a legacy of trickery, mockery and treachery that has prevailed since the still birth of the Unitary State called Republic of Zambia.

President Kaunda

Three months later, in a very flowery speech delivered in the Kashandi at the headquarters of the Barotse Government in Lealui on Thursday 6th August 1964, Mr Kenneth David Kaunda said among other things,

“… I can assure you, Sir Mwanawina, and all members of the Barotse Royal Family and of the Barotse Government, that the Government has no wish to interfere with the day to day running of the internal affairs of Barotseland.”

Again, the truth on the ground supported by documentary evidence and history is that the Kaunda regime made it its prime responsibility to interfere in the day-to-day affairs of Barotseland. This was done by destabilizing the Katengo Legislative Council soon after Zambia’s independence in 1965 when he replaced it by District Councils that were answerable to the Minister of Local Government and not the Litunga anymore. They went as far as looting the Barotse National Treasury in order to cripple the operations of the Barotse
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Government. On 6th August 1964, Kaunda in a speech to the nation, nicknamed Barotseland Government as Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and robbed it capacity to stand on its feet until it was barely crawling on its belly, such that, the first popularly elected Ngambela, The Right Hon. Hastings Ndangwa Nooyo, had to abdicate for lack of capacity to sustain his day to day needs.
The syndrome of trickery, mockery and treachery continued as the Kaunda regime enacted legislation after legislation mutilating the Barotseland Agreement 1964, contrary to its own provisions. This started with the enactment of the Local Government Act 69 of 1965. The last nail in the coffin was the enactment of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment No. 5) Act 33 of 1969 which completely abrogated and literally threw into the refuse bin The Barotseland Agreement 1964. Noteworthy, is the fact that all this was done without the consent of the people of Barotseland, the other party to the Agreement.

Twenty-one years down the line Mr. Kaunda realized that his castle-empire built over 27 years was crumbling down and tried to use his last trick in the bag to save himself from the eminent collapse by using flowery language to the Barotse people. He promised to re-think The Barotseland Agreement 1964. He went as far as promising the BRE the best legal representation at the expense of GRZ. Of course even that turned out to be too little, too late as the Kaunda days were numbered and his empire was found wanting and lost the 1991 elections.

President Chiluba

The Movement for Multiparty Democracy whirlwind which led to the tumbling of the Kaunda regime was principally founded and spearheaded by some fine Barotse brains such as Mr. Akashambatwa Mbikusita and it promised to redress all the ills of the Kaunda regime, which was draconian by the time it tumbled from power. Among the serious ills that were to be redressed was the trampling underfoot of The Barotseland Agreement 1964. At the eleventh hour, the MMD’s march to take over government was hijacked by a self-confessed political engineer and trickster, Fredrick Jacob Titus Mpundu Chiluba, who dribbled everyone else to position himself for the top job (MHSRIP). Consequently, much to the frustration and disillusionment of many within the rank and file he abandoned the fine tenets of the founding members’ dream. The Chiluba regime declared The Barotseland Agreement 1964 ‘statutory stale’, the Litunga was threatened with arrest and it took the Barotse people to literally protect their King as human shields. Senior Chief Inyambo was thrown behind bars and the ‘divide and rule’ tactic was entrenched into the trickery, mockery and treachery legacy by inciting the Nkoya people against their own brothers, gazetting chiefs contrary to Barotse norms and traditions as well as the Zambian Constitution, and refusing to gazette rightly enthroned Senior Chief Amukena II.

Mr. Kaunda tried to play the BA ’64 card again in 1996 but was outwitted by the political engineer through a constitutional amendment that appeared to bar him from contesting presidential elections.

President Mwanawasa

This prompted an election boycott by UNIP, which delivered an easy victory to the trickster and master dribbler late Mr. Chiluba. Mr. Chiluba was succeeded by his chosen successor Mr. Levy Mwanawasa SC who tried to appease the Barotse with a balanced development agenda and equitable distribution of the national cake. He referred to the territory by its rightful name of Barotseland, which was treason under both the Kaunda and the Chiluba regimes by the bare mention of the name. This softened stance ??resulted into the bouncing back of popularity of the MMD in Barotseland in 2006.

Riding on the same wave of popularity Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda, won the Barotse vote during the election after Mr. Mwanawasa’s demise in 2008 (MHSRIP).
Mr. Banda quickly took on the garment of his old mentor and brother in-law, Mr. Kaunda embraced the same legacy of trickery, mockery and treachery. First and foremost he insulted the Barotse by saying he never asked for their vote. It was under Mr. Banda that the Barotse anger against this legacy of trickery, mockery and treachery almost reached a crescendo and was met with brutality and iron fists. For this reason we shall not forget the January 14th 2011 massacre of unarmed and peaceful people of Barotseland butchered in cold blood. May their souls rest in peace.

President Sata

Mr. Michael Chilufya Mwango Felix Katongo Sata (MHSRIP), the King Cobra, on the other hand took full advantage of the situation and true to his nature as a snake in the grass played to the gallery and declared himself Linyungandambo member and that the BA ’64 was an honourable and sensible Agreement which was still alive. He promised to restore it within 90 days if elected into power. The sweet tongue of the serpent played the trick and earning himself a reasonal number of votes from Barotseland to him a marginal edge over his principle rival, Mr. Banda, to win him the Zambia presidency and two parliamentary seats in Barotseland. The only reward Barotseland got was the release of Barotse detainees, a window dressing meeting at State House with some Barotse activists and scorning the Litunga as well as establishing a commission of inquiry to investigate the 14th January 2011 massacre of innocent Barotseland nationals, whose report and recommendations have never seen the light of day, and the publication of the BA ’64 in the three main newspapers. Further, the King Cobra arrested more Barotse nationals, increased state sponsored brutality, more venomous threats, more divide and rule, more trickery, mockery and treachery as well as declaring war on an unarmed and peaceful people of Barotseland.
The 20th January, 2015 presidential elections demonstrated the national significance of the BA ’64 as presidential aspirants tried to outwit one another by making this or that statement over the Agreement. We ended up having a catalogue of the most balanced and sane positions on the issue as well as the most absurd and irrational ones.

President Lungu

Perhaps what is not publicly known is the fact that among other things the candidate who emerged victorious, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, actually made sweeping promises over the issue to a group of Barotse youth activists. Among the promises he made was that he would allow the people of Barotseland to determine their destiny and would immediately engage all the stakeholders to that effect. Further, he would release the Rodger Chongwe Commission Report and he would immediately change the nickname of Western Province back to Barotseland as well as release all persons incarcerated on Barotseland related allegations.

Information in the public domain is that within 24hrs of his swearing in as Zambia’s 6th Republican president, Mr. Lungu was in receipt of a letter from the BNFA Chairman General Mr. Clement Wainyae Sinyinda challenging him to among other things:
“… immediately engage the people of Barotseland and Barotse civil society organizations for the sole purpose of working out transitional arrangements towards self determination and self rule for Barotseland.”
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What is also common knowledge is that the President of Zambia communicated his desire to engage the Barotse Authorities and activists through the BNFA Chairperson General. He further announced the same to the international community while in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the AU Heads of State summit, to be undertaken upon his return to Zambia.
It has been more than three months since the AU heads of state summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Mr. Lungu has remained mute on this matter. This has prompted the BNFA Executive Committee to submit to him a ‘Position Statement’ on the matter of the Actualization of Barotseland Statehood on Thursday, 23rd April 2015, which is indeed the Position Statement of the people of Barotseland as a whole. The president’s ‘very audible’ silence on this crucial matter especially after the buoyancy with which he approached it at the onset of his presidency reeks of the legacy of trickery, mockery and treachery that have dogged and bedevilled the matter over the past fifty plus one years.

It remains to be seen whether indeed as per suspicion the current president will be just like the rest of his predecessors or he will break and depart from the tradition of his predecessors by demonstrating political will to ensure that the matter of the actualization of Barotseland statehood receives the due attention it deserves from the Zambian government, including subjecting it to international interventions because the Barotse people believe they are not making any strange or unreasonable demands but only what is rightfully their RIGHT, falling within the perimeters of logic and legality in accordance with universally accepted international norms. It remains to be seen whether Mr Lungu, who prides himself as being a seasoned lawyer, will make good his earlier commitment in line with his campaign promise that he will be a listening President.

Yet when all is said and done, the responsibility to break this vicious circle of trickery, mockery and treachery by successive Zambian regimes lies squarely in the hands of the Barotse themselves. It is up to all the Barotse to stand up and be counted and say enough is enough, we are fed up of this legacy and put it to an end once and for all. It is called a revolution. A revolution in the past meant ‘blood and iron’ but in this day and age it doesn’t need to be. That is why there is talk of the velvet revolution also referred to as the Arab spring. The Barotse revolution does not even need to get to that level of hostilities. It is a peaceful revolution of a people refusing to be trampled upon, tricked, mocked, and treated with disdain and in a treacherous manner. Refusing to remain silent, cognisant of the fact that, in Martin Luther King Jnr’s words,

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”
Believing the words of Nelson Mandela,

“No people are perpetually too weak as to fail to stand up for their rights”
Tukuongote shaa! Wa mwana Nongolo kapa wa mwana Muka, if need be, until freedom reigns from the highest mountain top to the lowest valley!
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18 COMMENTS

  1. Is it breaking the vicious circle or vicious cycle? Am just saying… NaChizungu siuziba, you should have written in LOZI.

    • The tone of the article is so bitter…you claim it is based on documentary evidence, but you fail to tell us how you analysed that data to reach this bitter end.
      where is the self reflexivity in the article??

    • My Barotse brothers are obviously pissed and feel unfairly treated.This issue needs to be addressed.Its not going to go away.In all fairness the British are the ones who caused this mess in the first place.It wasn’t Kaunda. Let them start investing in Western province and improve the living standards of the people. I think Western province,northwestern province and copperbelt should get a lions share of the copper exports.Lusaka province and its politicians have been getting the lions share for far too long leaving the rest of Zambia impoverished.

    • Only when Inonge Wina becomes president of the Republic of Zambia, as hinted by Edgar Lungu recently (pray for a presidential by-election), will the Barotse Agreement be recognised and implemented.

  2. Honestly how in this world do you expect yourself to seat on an agreement table with such better, calling people names like snakes and so forth. Have some sense of humanity in you. Which country can you lead with so much bitterness. Consider another approch my brother. Your bitterness needs a remedy.

  3. The better approach for me is to negotiate for preferential treatment when it comes to the sharing of the national cake than advocating for succession.

    The other demand could be to be given certain number of seats in parliament to represent the province with certain veto power.

    This can go along way in recouping the succession cry.

  4. The article is well written and educative.Why Dr.Kaunda removed this part of history from out syllabi in civics and history is disappointing.I took time to do a research on this topic by collecting newspaper articles on the same from 1962 to 1973 and I found out that politicians should never be trusted.Alot of lies have been told on this issue but the truth is that lozis have been badly treated

  5. Stupid article. Please such article should not be allowed to be published as they are meant to create confusion and hate.

  6. Form an army to wedge war with Zambia. If you win you will get you barotse land if you lose continue living with us. Maybe that’s what you want.
    Instead of focusing on living under one Zambia one nation you still want to go separate ways after living with you for a good 50 years.
    Just come to terms and accept the fact that you are zambians. There are so many examples to refer to right here in Africa regarding the route you want to take. Moreover you are decendants of mzilikazi of south Africa.

  7. The Barotse issue a dead wood because if it is not, it would have been resolved by the colonialists. Its too late for a Zambian President to do anything. We are all Zambians, sorry North Rhodesians.

  8. Lozi’s should just come terms that they are part of a unitary state of Zambia. all they need to do is fight for a fair share of the cake. to demand separation is completely unreasonable. What happens to the many Lozi’s who have invested heavily in other parts of the country? What happens to kids born between Lozis and other tribes from the parts that are not part of the Barotseland? Lets us just live together as brothers and sisters! if the issue is getting to the top job am sure very soon you will be there its just a matter of time as there can only be one president at a time! in fact people of Barotseland should embress HE Edgar Chagwa Lungu for singing the song of unity and acting it by appointing people from all areas unlike Sata who only appointed Bembas and Easterner

  9. We lack intellectual discourse because of laziness.Instead of saying this article is useless,get interested and findout more through research.Never base your conclusion on an issue based on what you hear,take time and get the truth.

  10. Its too shallow to think the Lozi want a Lozi president. After all Kaunda came from Chinsali but that place is still a ‘village”. The same goes for FTJ’s, Levy’s, Rupiah’s & MCS’s ‘homelands’. What they need (like all Zambians) is to be able to determine their own future. This idea that Lusaka should think for us has failed. Every region should have enough power & autonomy to decide how they want to develop (in all aspects of human development). Only when we acknowledge our diversity & start thinking freely for ourselves shall we truly & proudly say we are One Zambia, One Nation.

  11. This is a thorn in the neck for us all Zambians. To try to ingnore is playing to the gallery. We need a very couragous leader and governnment to hold the bull by the horns otherwise, we are all cheating ourselves. Zambia is made up of two states just like Tanzania is made up of Tanganyika and Zazibar. It only takes a very reasonable mind to say YES we are two countries and then start working on moderlities how we can move ahead in unison. Why should we live in denail? It is only folly of every Zambian to think things are well when we are all endagering our future generations. It is only wise to do what is right now and have our children’s children live in peace in the near future. All the Barotseland people need is the aknowledgement that Zambia is truly two states, then discussions will…

  12. Typical of what a Mr. Vaughan-Jones at the MacDonnell Commission of Inquiry aptly called the Barotse habit of “wilfully confusing the issue” Balovale Commission of 1938.

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