THE Litunga of Western Province has backed President Edgar Lungu’s stance that the issue of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 should be left to the Government and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to deal with.
President Lungu, who is in Mongu on a two-day visit to check on various development programmes, held a private meeting with the Litunga at his palace in Limulunga yesterday, where the matter of the Barotseland Agreement was raised.
According to State House Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda, the Litunga advised that all other splinter groups concerning the issue should stay away from further debates and allow the BRE and Government to resolve it.
Mr Chanda said the talks were fruitful, with the Litunga thanking President Lungu for visiting, especially to check on the progress of various development projects being implemented in the province.
“His Majesty the Litunga has thanked the President for visiting his palace and thanked him for a number of projects, including the Mongu-Kalabo Road and Sioma Bridge projects,” Mr Chanda said.
He said in an interview after the meeting that President Lungu was committed to the existence of the agreement, but that the modalities on how to settle the matter should be left to the Government and the BRE, hence the talks to find an amicable end to the long-standing debate.
Earlier in the morning when the President arrived in Mongu, he said those who wanted to suppress the authority of the Government and the Litunga had no room to do so because the country needed to continue existing in harmony.
Mr Lungu said the Barotseland Agreement was a sensitive issue and, as such, there was a channel that required to be followed to address it.
“Today (yesterday), I want to say something about an issue that has been burning for the past years, which is the Barotseland Agreement.
“The last time I spoke about the issue was in 2015 at a regional meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but as from that time, I deliberately kept quiet, but I have been engaging with some people from Western Province,” he said.
He said he and the Litunga were now entitled to take responsibility over the matter.
“So whoever wants to talk to me over the issue can come through the Litunga and the BRE. Most of you have issues to raise on the matter, bring them through the BRE and the Litunga,” President Lungu said.
Provincial Minister Poniso Njeulu said the people of Western Province were happy with President Lungu’s leadership, especially considering the immense development taking place in the area.
The President’s entourage included Defence Minister Richwell Siamunene, Works and Supply Minister Yamfwa Mukanga, Local Government Minister Emerine Kabanshi, Higher Education Minister Michael Kaingu and other senior Government officials.