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Alba Iulia
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Government Halts Campaign to have the Barotse Plains listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site

General News Government Halts Campaign to have the Barotse Plains listed as a UNESCO...

Government has with immediate effect halted the campaign to have the Barotse Plains listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in order to allow for further consultations among stakeholders.

Tourism Minister Rodney Sikumba says Government would like the nation to know that studies and consultations to have the Barotse Plains listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site began in 2007 when permission to do was sought and granted by the Barotse Royal Establishment. Consultations have been on-going since then.

He said in the last two years, the campaign to sensitise the public was intensified through radio, television and community meetings across the plains.

This was coupled with a fund-raising campaign in Lusaka and Livingstone to save Makono Village from the corrosive action of the Zambezi River which traverses the Barotse Plains.

The Minister said Makono village has great traditional significance to the Kingship of the Litunga in Western Province and must be protected and preserved at all cost.

He said the Ministry through the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) and the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) had until now spearheaded a campaign dubbed, “From Barotse to the World” aimed at bringing international recognition to the unique landscape, culture and traditions of the Barotse Plains.

“Such a recognition will be essential to attract tourists from all over the world to the benefit of the local people and the country’s economy through tourism,” he said.

Hon. Sikumba said Government would like to assure the nation that listing the Barotse Plains as a UNESCO World Heritage Site has nothing to do with the sale of land in the Barotse Plains, or the dispossession of the people of their heritage in any form.

He said countries around the world compete to have their unique places, sites, buildings or cultures listed as a world heritage for humanity in order that such places, sites , buildings and cultures enjoy the protection and preservation by the global community through enhanced heritage and tourism status.

Zambia became a party to the World Heritage Convention in 1984 and had the Victoria Falls declared a World Heritage site in 1989. The Makishi and Gule wa Mkulu (the Nyau dance) also enjoy the World Heritage status under the World Cultural Intangible Heritage Convention.

Government would, therefore, like to encourage all stakeholders who feel left out in the consultations to use his period to engage the BRE and the National Heritage Conservation Commission to discuss their fears and concerns.

Government will not proceed to submit the nomination of the Barotse Plains as a UNESCO World Heritage Site next year until all concerns are addressed.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Very confusing… the process started a long time ago with the consent of critical stakeholders. What more consultations can we expect and by or from who?

  2. flag Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee)

    The minister is in order on this and very, very good by the HH government (which has been under pressure recently). As usual LT bloggers just rushing to condemn without either reading the story or understanding the background.
    There’s been a lot of misinformation and unfounded fears among the locals of Barotseland that the plains that have been their source of their livelihoods were about to be sold, thus shutting them off from fishing and grazing their cattle.
    The govt needs to consult; engage and sensitive the local villagers and not just few BRE who have access to cars and information. BRE is not the people of Barotseland; they are merely representatives and custodians who have lost touch with the grassroots.

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  3. flag Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee)

    Listing the Barotse plains as the World Heritage site is good for the plains and the people. However, the locals want assurances that they won’t be prevented from subsistence fishing and grazing. Case in point, the locals were unhappy when Fisheries introduced the ban of fishing during the breeding season and it took a while for them to understand and appreciate what that actually meant. Please don’t enforce this on them; educate them and ensure they are key stakeholders in the process. Tell them their land isn’t being sold to a highest bidder and that UN and World Heritage is not for profit.

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  4. What hasn’t been listed are the benefits that will come with that listing and the consequences, if any. All advocates just say it’ll be beneficial, can they give the list of benefits? What people suspect is that UNESCO will be releasing funds to the BRE for the maintenance of the plains and in return people’s activities will be restricted. So tell the people the truth instead of making empty assurances

  5. flag Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee)

    Agree @Ayatollah, usually when a place is listed by UNESCO as World Heritage, it means it is protected and no human activity is allowed… i.e. no modifications; fishing; agriculture; mining or grazing of animals are allowed. This is good when you are protecting places like a forest or Victoria Falls or a game park because it means natural habitat is not affected and the landscape is preserved for the betterment of the future.
    Barotseland is unique as the place has a symbiotic relationship with the locals… they fish; they graze their animals; they use the river for transport; they swim; they farm and they celebrate cultural heritage. It holds a special place to a Lozi. While listing it as a Word Heritage will protect the place from external forces and intervention (like future…

  6. flag Jigga Kayama Simangulungwa (formerly Corruption scandals: 48 Houses Social Security Cash Luxury Presidential Jet Ambulances Fire Trucks Mukula Trees Ndola-Lusaka Rd Malawi Maizegate Fuelgate Swaziland landgate Zesco Loans Honeybee)

    . ..While listing it as a Word Heritage will protect the place from external forces and intervention (like future mining), the question is what does this mean to the people of Barotseland? Will they be blocked from benefiting as they have done so for generations?
    And if, say, oil, gas, gold or diamonds are discovered, will the heritage status prevent locals from benefiting?
    So yes lots of questions that need to be answered and explained to the locals in black and white.

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