By SIBETA MUNDIA
To establish post-colonial Zambia, two laws were enacted: the Northern Rhodesia Independence Act of 1964 and the Zambia Independence Act of 1964. These laws stipulated that two separate territories, i.e. the Protectorate of Barotseland and the Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia, signed The Barotseland Agreement of 1964 to become one independent sovereign republic. This agreement was the basis for the unitary nature of Zambia, and not the mere presence of 72 tribes or their intermarriage as is often deceitfully parroted by some State officials.
Although the two separate territories agreed to become one sovereign state under the above treaty, the Northern Rhodesia Independence Order 1964 and the Zambia Independence Act 1964 ensured Barotseland’s autonomous existence within the republic was preserved and promoted in line with the principles of the 1964 Barotseland Agreement. Barotseland was neither dismantled nor obliterated by Zambia’s independence.
The principle of oneness enshrined in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Preamble to the 1964 Barotseland Agreement was reflected in Article 125 (1) of the Northern Rhodesia Independence Order 1964, which promulgated the Independence Constitution, and Section 1 of the Zambian Independence Act of 1964.
This is a brief introduction to the constitution and history of the post-colonial state of Zambia, created through an agreement between two separate British protectorates, Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia! Anything to the contrary is mere conjecture!
If Barotseland did not vanish when the two separate territories agreed to exist as one sovereign republic, where is Barotseland and what are its borders?
Barotseland and its boundaries as defined in the Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Council Order of 1953, signed by the British Crown at Windsor Castle Court on 30th April that year, exist even today.
Although the Order in Council of 1953 granted Barotseland a separate British protectorate status, the British Crown maintained its administration with Northern Rhodesia, making Barotseland a protectorate within another protectorate. The Order in Council also determined the parameters of the boundaries of this Barotseland Protectorate. So, anything outside the 1953 Barotseland Protectorate boundary is either fictitious or at best aspirational and must be claimed under other circumstances.
Therefore, the current borders of Barotseland should exclude all areas in present-day Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and Angola. Similarly, the 1953 delineation of Barotseland does not include the Copperbelt, North-Western, Central, and Southern Provinces of Zambia.
The territory that signed the 1964 Barotseland Agreement to join Zambia is the 1953 Barotseland Protectorate. Zambia has no legal CLAIM to any of this territory without the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
Since Barotseland’s current claim is based on the 1964 Barotseland Agreement and its purported repeal, only the Barotseland that signed the 1964 Barotseland Agreement could revert to its pre-agreement status if the 1964 agreement is indeed dead.
Any other territory outside the 1953 Barotseland, must be CLAIMED or reclaimed under separate circumstances different from those related to the Barotseland Agreement 1964.
Some people have tried to undermine the 1953 designation of Barotseland as a protectorate. However, as with all Northern Rhodesian Orders in Council signed between 1924 and 1951, due process was taken in signing it. Therefore, invalidating it would consequently invalidate all other Orders before it, and Zambia would simply not exist.
“Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by virtue and in exercise of the powers in that behalf by the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, 1890, or otherwise in her Majesty vested, is pleased, by and with the advice of Her Privy Council, to order, and it is hereby ordered as follows:
“1. (1) This order may be cited as the Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council, 1953, and shall be read as one with the Northern Rhodesia Orders in Council, 1924 to 1951,
(2) this order shall come into operation on the second day of May 1953, and shall be published in the Gazette,
“2. That part of Northern Rhodesia the bounds of which are set out in the schedule to this order and which is known as Barotseland is hereby declared to be, and shall from the commencement of this order be styled, The Barotseland Protectorate.
“3. The Barotseland protectorate shall continue to be part of Northern Rhodesia and nothing in this order shall affect the operation of the Northern Rhodesia Orders in council, 1924 to 1951, or any other law.” – Ends the extract from the Northern Rhodesia (Barotseland) Order in Council, 1953.
With its new protectorate status, Barotseland required a British Resident Commissioner. In 1958, Gervas Clay, then the Provincial Commissioner for Southern Province in Livingstone, was appointed as Her Majesty’s Resident Commissioner of the Barotseland Protectorate.
Although evidence exists to show that Barotseland already enjoyed the special treatment of a British protectorate, it was only formally styled so in 1953.
In 1969, the Zambian state repealed the Zambian Independence Act of 1964 through the Constitution (Amendment) (Act. 5) Act, 1969. They specifically removed all sections of the constitution that guaranteed Barotseland’s autonomous existence within the Republic of Zambia and added that the Barotseland Agreement 1964 ceases to exist with all its rights and obligations.
Notwithstanding, CLAUSE 8 of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 prohibits the Zambian Government from enacting laws that contravene the agreement, cautioning further that all future national laws, must never conflict with the 1964 Barotseland Agreement.
Consequently, The Barotseland Agreement 1964 was ANNULLED unilaterally, with all rights vested to Barotseland under the 1964 agreement purportedly TERMINATED!
Legally, if Barotseland’s voluntary membership to Zambia’s sovereignty was terminated by the cited 1969 Act, Barotseland should immediately attain independence as the termination of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 would free Barotseland from the AGREEMENT to be a part of Zambia.
Instead, the Zambian government implemented policies that forced Barotseland (now renamed Western Province) to become an integral part of Zambia without consent or agreement. Therefore, whether one agrees or not, Barotseland is now part of Zambia, under the mere slogan of “One Zambia, One Nation”, as all laws relating to Barotseland’s autonomous existence have been abolished since the repeal of the Zambia Independence Act 1964.
Legal and administrative assimilation is defined as imposing one’s own legal and administrative system on a foreign territory, eg a colony or an occupied territory, and this is what Zambia has done to Barotseland. It is an infringement of Barotseland’s human rights, among them the right to self-determination.
However, this Zambian state policy on Barotseland is not only a travesty of justice but also amounts to forced assimilation, as any person of Barotse descent who disagrees with or peacefully protests what the state did in 1969 is now considered a secessionist deserving arrest, jail, or silencing by any means necessary, including extrajudicial killing.
The State impunity in Barotseland has only succeeded because they possess military guns and presently control the courts and all military and security wings.
Unsurprisingly, only disgraced lawyers like Winter Kabimba can publicly align themselves with this repressive Zambian policy on Barotseland in the manner he has so far done, and as he is likely to promulgate this Sunday, 4th February 2024, on national television to be broadcast by ZNBC, if the attached advertisement by the national broadcaster is anything to go by.