Editor General, Barotseland Post
Having looked at the background of the Barotseland Agreement and the origin of Zambia as a unitary state in the last article, we will now look at the thorny issue of the boundary of Barotseland and whether there is need for a referendum.
We will also sample some quotations from the man who created the problem before us, Kenneth David Kaunda.
The boundary of Barotseland proper has always been maintained by the Barotse though the boundaries of Barotseland North-Western Rhodesia kept changing through the numerous Orders-In-Council.
The boundary currently under claim is that of Barotseland proper as it was from 1900 to 1947 without taking areas that were regarded as her subject or dependent territories into consideration. (See Th Barotseland Boundary Case of 1903-1906 [Britain Vs Portugal] under the arbitration of Italy here: http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/The-Barotseland-Boundary-Case.pdf) or on the United Nations website: http://legal.un.org/riaa/cases/vol_XI/59-69.pdf
The eastern boundaries stretch from Itezhi-Tezhi to the confluence of the river Chiababi with the Zambezi (Longitude26 degrees East) (East of Livingstone) and northern boundaries shall stretch from the confluence of Lufupa river with the Kafue river, westward, to the Lungwebungu river (Longitude 22 degrees East) The boundary on the west shall stretch from Lungwebungu river (latitude 13 degrees 28 minutes south) then southward to the Cuando river, down to the confluence of the Cuando with the Luena river extending to the Katima Mulilo rapids, running along the Zambezi, eastward to its confluence with river Chiababi (Longitude 26 degrees east.)
This boundary is roughly the current Western Province but with the entire Kazungula, Livingstone and the Kafue National Park west of the Kafue river falling within Barotseland and small areas of North Western Province bordering the current Western Province.
The boundary between Barotseland and Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe remains the same as it is currently with Zambia.
Before we consider the implications on Southern, North Western and part of Central provinces, we shall first look at the issue of holding a referendum.
Holding a referendum on the lines of the one recently held by Scotland does not apply to Barotseland because there is currently no treaty in force between Barotseland and Zambia as the agreement or treaty was abrogated by Zambia and Barotseland accepted the abrogation on 27th March 2012 at the Barotseland National Council.
A referendum only applies were a treaty is in force like in the case of Scotland or Tanganyika and Zanzibar in the union of Tanzania but one of the parties wants to pull out.
Barotseland does not need a referendum to withdraw from the unitary state of Zambia because it does not exist. Both Zambia and Barotseland have no treaty obligations because of the 1969 abrogation.
Southern, Parts of Central and North Western Provinces
The dependent areas that fell within the control of Barotseland, (Trust and reserve Land) for which Barotseland was being paid by the British for taking care of them, include Southern Province, parts of Central and North western provinces.
These areas fall outside Barotseland proper but have the right to hold a referendum to choose where they want to belong whether to remain with Zambia or pull out.
Barotseland and Zambia should now commence the disengagement process which will see the exchange of defense forces and civil servants willing to relocate.
The sharing of government assets, repaying the &78.5 million pounds that Zambia looted from the Barotseland treasury,(with interest from 1965) loss of revenue from the mines, reparations and other damages will be handled by the International Court of Justice since Zambia has so far refused to cooperate.
But what will happen to those who have intermarried?
Marriage does not affect someone’s citizenship in any way; Zambians who are married to people from Rwanda or Zimbabwe still remain Zambians.
But I have properties in Zambia, what happens?
You can belong to any country without affecting your property. There are so many people with properties in Zambia like the many Chinese nationals in Zambia yet they are not Zambians but continue running businesses.
What about the Nkoyas?
The Zambian government has for a long time been using the divide and rule formula by sponsoring a few Nkoya brothers to create division.
The 1964 treaty however was signed between two countries and not tribes. It was signed between the government of Northern Rhodesia, the government of Barotseland and the British government as witnesses.
Kenneth Kaunda however later dissolved the Barotse government and renamed it as Barotse Royal Establishment and later changed the name of Barotseland through degree at a rally in Matero and named it Western Province and changed what was then called Western Province to Copper belt.
Kenneth Kaunda said the following on 26th August 1969 at Matero in a speech dubbed ‘I wish to inform the nation.’
‘Barotse Province is now to become Western Province. The present Western Province, which bears no relationship to the direction, will become Copper belt Province. Logically, Barotse Province should have been Western Province in view of the geographical location of North Western Province.’
Even before the change of name to Western Province , Kaunda defied his own Attorney General’s legal advice, the most respected legal adviser, Mr James John Skinner who, when delivering a Ministerial statement in Parliament on 18th September 1965,had advised that:
‘The legal name of Barotseland was Barotseland and not Barotse Province.’
Kenneth Kaunda had made the following assurance when he addressed the Litunga and Barotse government at Lealui on 6th August 1964:
‘I am glad that the basis of the agreement is that Barotseland is an integral part of Zambia and I can assure you, Sir Mwanawina and all members of the Barotse Royal Family and of the Barotse government, that 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 to give the Barotse government maximum assistance and cooperation.’
In one of Kaunda’s earlier visits to Barotseland to beg the Barotse government to proceed to independence as one with Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) Kaunda knelt down and cried before the Litunga and it was out of this action that the line ‘One land and one nation is our cry’ was picked and crafted in the Zambia national anthem.
Kenneth Kaunda has however elected to remain mute on the problem he created through his love for power
POSITION STATEMENT OF LINYUNGANDAMBO REGARDING THE STATEMENT MADE BY THE ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT MR EDGAR LUNGU
It has been reported on both ZNBC and social media (Zambian Watchdog) that the President of Zambia will be visiting BAROTSELAND (Not Western Province), to chart the way forward on the proposed Secession of Barotseland from Zambia. He hopes to solve it once and for all. He further indicated that he will consider a referendum to see if all tribes in the whole territorial boundary of Barotseland agree to the proposed secession. As Linyungandambo, we would like to give our response as follows:
The Republic of Zambia was formed by an agreement between two states – Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia. The formation of Zambia was not intended to cause the extinction of Barotseland. The president of Zambia was supposed to exercise his powers on Barotseland based on an agreement between the two former states. In the absence of this agreement, the president of the Republic of Zambia as well as Zambia itself ceases to be or to exercise any powers or authority in Barotseland.
This agreement was unilaterally abrogated by the President of Zambia in 1969. This means that Barotseland ceased being part of Zambia on the same date; the President of Zambia’s jurisdiction over Barotseland was terminated on the same date. In fact, in the absence of this agreement, Zambia and its President are exercising powers in Barotseland illegally. So to claim to have authority over Barotseland is claiming that the agreement is still in force. Therefore, Barotseland then still enjoys her autonomy and needs to be compensated with all her resources.
To say that Zambia and her president have authority over Barotseland and yet Barotseland’s autonomy was nullified in the abrogated agreement means that we will only honor the agreements long as it favors us. But, as far as it pertains to Barotseland, it is nullified. This behavior of Zambia shows a contract made in bad faith.
ENFORCING THE EXPIRED CONTRACT
- The Barotseland agreement of 1964 is the one that gives you any authority in Barotseland. Saying that you will constitute a referendum it shows that
- You are still exercising power from the Agreement which you unilaterally abrogated.
- How then could the BA 1964 be applicable only when you want authority over Barotseland, but when it is time for Barotseland to have its share i.e. being a state or a Zambian protectorate, BA 1964 is not a valid document?
- Your bias in the application of the BA 1964 implies you got into an agreement in bad faith. Such a contract is null and void.
- It shall be an ultra-vias action (acting beyond your limits) for you to tell us of a referendum as you are not one of our citizens, but just a President of a neighboring country.
- For your own information, Barotseland already conducted a referendum in the form of BNC of March 2012 and the resolution has not been reversed.
- You should also remember that your predecessor Michael Chilufya Sata conducted another one in the form of the Rodger Chongwe commission of enquiry. It was clear even then that we have accepted the position taken by Zambia to reject us. Since 1969 we have forced ourselves on Zambia which never wanted us. Now that we accepted the position taken by Zambia, you want to negotiate. Such negotiations are done in bad faith.
- Claiming that you don't know the position of the Barotzish on this matter is denying facts which are in your hands. If you cannot tell the truth in this matter, how could we even trust what you are trying to do now?
- We would advise you not to waste your country's resources on inquiring whether some of the Barotzish would like to be in their mother land; refer to the Barotseland Emancipation Order Act of 2012, Article 1.2; or not because,
(1) International law provides for minority rights. If any will feel they don’t want to remain part of Barotseland, they can still exercise their self determination
(2)They should peruse it themselves and not you Sir to start asking who want and who does not, want to be a Barotzish.
Further still we know our boundary. It is not for you to teach us or inquire of it for us. We will let all our neighbors, including you, of our intention to conduct a boundary check. At the moment we need the nation and then the boundaries later.
- For you to go round in Barotseland and destabilize its citizens will be considered sabotage.
- We do not need you to consider any territorial boundaries except for that which pertains to your nation.
- As for the issue of secession or not, it must be argued in the international court of justice and so, you can only talk to our lawyers already known to you.
- Your state of panic to talk about this issue manifests your usual notion of avoiding the court, already coming under way. Sorry, if you had listened to us, the court case would not be there. But the more we tried to reason with you, the more you killed, wounded, imprisoned and, closed the history of some of us. How then can we trust you now?
- Your government has arrested a number of people in connection with the Barotseland issue. This means that you need to release them with immediate effect before you arrive in Barotseland because:
1. When they were arrested you claimed they were the Barotseland activists. So for you to come here living them behind will mean that you charged them wrongly for they are not the activists but, someone else here in Barotseland whom you would like to talk to. Therefore, release them and arrest that one, or
2. They are the activists and therefore, you need to release them before you come here so they can prepare for your visit as you come to chart the way forward.
- You cannot chart the way forward with us when you have condemned some of us and held them in your custody.
- This means that such an act is intended to compromise our response to you. This entails you are again taking another negotiation in bad faith. Why would you keep doing this? Or
- You want to infringe on our freedom of expression or intimidate us by keeping them in prison
- The issue you are coming for is political in nature and, so you need the political part of Barotseland and not to trouble His Majesty King Lubosi Imwiko II and his Privy Council.
- By the way, why is it that when Sata, Sondashi, and Nevers Mumba speak in favor of Barotseland, they are not arrested?
- But when a Barotzish talks about it, they are arrested and sometimes even reach the extent of being killed.
- 50 years is a long time to learn and know the character of all Zambians. You are the same, and you thrive in persecuting others.
Therefore, due to all these reasons listed above, we strengthen our resolution for self-determination unless the court will rule otherwise.
God Bless His Majesty King Lubosi Imwiko II and his Privy Council, God Bless His Excellence Rt. Hon. Afumba Mombotwa and his Government, God Bless our lawyers and
God Bless Linyungandambo and all the people of the Royal Barotseland Kingdom.
Tukongote wa mwana nongolo, litunga ni lyetu!
Mr. Sikopo Mataa
United States of America (USA)
The Royal Barotseland Government has engaged the legal services of Three international firms; Madandume Attorneys, Chambers of Dambe and Chadwick Anderson & Partners; the two being Batswana and the other one being a British firm respectively. These legal experts are skilled in Constitutional law, Commercial law and Criminal law respectively; these lawyers have been engaged with the purpose of providing legal representation in the case between Barotseland Kingdom Vs. Zambia and are a source of advice on any matter regarding the case and dialogue with Zambia if any.
These lawyers shall provide legal services to the Royal Barotseland Government, the Monarchy (BRE) and the people of Barotseland Kingdom as a whole.
As such, such the lawyers have officialy written and delivered the letter of intent to sue Zambia, dated 29th January 2015. The letter is here below published for public records only:
Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu
President of the Republic of Zambia
Delivered through the High Commission of the Republic of Zambia in Gaborone, Botswana
Cc The Attorney General of the Republic of Zambia – by courier
The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, Government of the United Kingdom – Delivered through British High Commission, Gaborone, Botswana
The Secretary General, United Nations Organisation, New York, USA
The Secretary General, African Union, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The Secretary General, Commonwealth of Nations, London, England
The Secretary General, Southern African Development Coordination Conference, Gaborone, Botswana
To His Majesty King Lubosi Imwiko II, the Head of State of Royal Barotseland Kingdom and his Privy Council.
The Administrator General and His Royal Barotseland Government.
The General Secretary of the (UNPO) Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization.
Botswana, 29th January 2015
RE: REFERENCE OF THE SITUATION OF THE KINGDOM AND PEOPLE OF BAROTSELAND TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
1. We are writing this letter on behalf of the Royal Barotseland Government, which has instructed our firm to represent it in all aspects of the current situation of the Kingdom and people of Barotseland following on from the abrogation and ultimate express and complete repudiation by the Zambian Government of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, to which agreement we shall shortly return. The Government in turn acts on appointment of the Barotseland National Council 2012 which, in consultation with the King, is the supreme source of authority in Barotseland.
2. In essence the historical situation is that the Barotse people had occupied an area including that which is now being administered as the western part of Zambia, under the unwanted and disputed title of Western Province, since the 13th century. The history from that early period is unwritten but suffice it to say that it is certain that by the 17th century the Kingdom of Barotseland was firmly established as an independent and unitary kingdom under the governance of a King (“Litunga”) and his Privy Council, whose membership linked downward, through the subsidiary regional and district chieftancies, to the village headman and each individual member of his community. It is this supreme council, whose decisions are binding upon all in Barotseland including the Litunga himself, which is today known - in English – as the Barotseland National Council.
3. It is appropriate to mention that during its centuries of existence the Barotse kingdom boundaries varied and extended well beyond what is at present known as the Western Province. At its height the territory of the Litunga extended to some 370 000 square kilometres. For the avoidance of doubt therefore we record that, for all present purposes at least, the Royal Barotseland Government is content to confine its entitlements and intentions within the boundaries of 1900 to 1947 as indicated in the Barotseland Emancipation Order Act of 2012 Article 1.2.
4. From the 17th century until 1964, which brought the Barotseland Agreement, Barotseland retained its own indepent and self-governing existence under its Litunga and his Privy Council, and was never subject to any other country, power or people. Towards the end of the nineteenth century the British South Africa Company obtained concessions from the Litunga to operate within the territory and in 1898, pursuant to an earlier application of the Litunga, Barotseland became a British Protectorate. Thus it remained until 1964.
5. Northern Rhodesia was a much more recent concept – a creation basically of the BSAC in the late nineteenth century. It too became a British Protectorate until 1964 when, after signing the Barotseland Agreement, it attained its independence from the United Kingdom as the Republic of Zambia, of which, subject to the Agreement, Barotseland now formed a part.
6. It is our client’s position that the undisputed legal basis for the creation of modern Zambia, formed by Barotseland and the rest of Northern Rhodesia, was this same Barotseland Agreement of 18th May, 1964, which was signed by Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, the Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, on behalf of the Government of Northern Rhodesia, by Sir Mwanawina Lewanika III, the Litunga of Barotseland, on behalf of himself, his Council and the Chiefs and People of Barotseland, and by the Rt. Hon. Duncan Sandys, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies, on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom, expressly signifying the approval of the last mentioned Government.
THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT 1964
7. The Barotseland Agreement consists of just 5 pages, including an Annex, and for convenience we attach a copy. The Initial Recitals, all commencing with the standard word “Whereas”, set the tone and intention of the Agreement, viz.
(i) Northern Rhodesia shall become an independent sovereign Republic, the Republic of Zambia;
(ii) it is the wish of Northern Rhodesia and of Barotseland that Northern Rhodesia shall proceed to independence as one country and all its peoples shall be one nation;
(iii) as there are a number of treaties and other agreements between the United Kingdom and the Litunga of Barotseland which will terminate on independence and any responsibility of the United Kingdom for the government of Northern Rhodesia including Barotseland, shall thereupon cease, Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland wish to enter into arrangements concerning the position of Barotseland as part of the Republic of Zambia to take the place of those treaties and other agreements.
8. The scene having thus been set, the Agreement in its body goes on to make various specific provisions for Barotseland as part of the Republic of Zambia. The most important of these are:
a) The Litunga is recognised as the principal local authority for .the government and administration of Barotseland;
b) The Litunga is empowered to make laws in respect of a wide range of issues including matters relating to the local government, land, fishing, local taxation and matters relating thereto, control of hunting, game preservation and the Treasury, which was then called the Barotse Native Treasury;
c) The Litunga and his Council shall continue to have the powers previously enjoyed by them in respect of land matters under customary law and practice. The then called Barotse Native Courts shall have exclusive original jurisdiction in respect of land matters in Barotseland to the extent that they are covered by Barotse customary law and no appeal shall lie to the High Court of Zambia from any decision on such a matter except with the consent of the court then known as Saa-Siikalo Kuta;
d) The Government of Zambia is entrusted with the obligation to provide financial support for the administration and economic development of Barotseland and ensure that Barotseland is treated fairly and equitably in relation to the rest of Zambia.
e) The Government of Zambia is placed under obligation to take the necessary steps to ensure that the laws of Zambia are consistent with the Agreement;
f) It is also worthy of note that clause 2 of the Agreement provides that the Constitution of Zambia shall include the provisions agreed upon at the recent Constitutional Conference in relation to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the individual, the judiciary and the public service and those provisions (emphasis supplied) shall have full force and effect in Barotseland, clearly suggesting that other such provisions may not have such force and effect. However, nothing in this letter actually turns directly on this conclusion;
g) Finally in the Annex to the Agreement there is provision for the marrying of the customary powers and jurisdiction in land matters of the Litunga and his establishment with the adminitrative and documentary procedures of the Zambia public service.
9. The Barotseland Agreement was presented by the Rt. Hon. Secretary of State, Sandys, to the United Kingdom Parliament within a day or two of its signature and was approved by both Houses. The presentation noted an undertaking by the Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia that the Agreement would be reaffirmed by the Government of Northern Rhodesia at Independence.
10. Looking at the Barotseland Agreement as a whole it is clear that it brings into effect an arrangement whereby two entities which had not previously had a great deal in common with one another apart from mere propinquity were required, and indeed, seemingly at least from the conduct of all three sides at the time, were willing to come together and co-exist. The basis for this co-existence was the terms of the Agreement itself. The duties of protector previously falling on the United Kingdom under the Protectorate were essentially assumed by the Government of Zambia.
BREACHES, ABROGATION AND REPUDIATION OF THE AGREEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBIA
11. Reading the Barotseland Agreement within its appropriate historical context, one gets the impression that it was concluded in the best of spirits and with the intention of a harmonious and and mutually beneficial coexistence. If it was carried forward with that particular spirit the present situation would almost certainly not exist. However it quickly became clear that the Government of Zambia had no intention of honouring its promises to the Barotse or the British.
12. Regrettably, from the very outset, the Government of Zambia embarked on a systematic path to defeat the agreement and to render it not even worth the paper it was written on.
13. First of all, the Agreement was never ratified by the Government of Zambia, whether at Independence as intended or at all, as Dr Kaunda had promised the other parties in London it would be. Then, in 1965, by the Local Government Act and in obvious defiance of the express terms of the Agreement the Kaunda regime purported to repeal the Barotse Native Authority Ordinance and indeed to abolish the National Council in all but a ceremonial role. Had this ruse had legal effect it would have divested the Litunga of Barotseland of the power he had as the local authority for the government and administration of Barotseland and left him and his Royal Establishment as ceremonial figures to the people of Barotseland.
14. In 1969 through Constitution (Amendment) No.5 the Kaunda Government enacted that “The Barotseland Agreement 1964 shall cease to have effect and all rights (whether vested or otherwise) and liabilities thereunder shall lapse”. Although the provision was, upon analysis and for reasons which will shortly appear, devoid of any legal effect, its enactment was obviously a deliberate and calculated move in that it indicated a death blow to the Agreement from the side of the Government of Zambia just five years after it was executed. One can only conclude that even at the time the Government of Zambia entered into the agreement they had no intention to honour it and signed it probably only to appease the British Government, and, of course, to get their hands on Barotseland and its approximately 3 ½ million people.
16. In 1969 also, the Government passed the Mines and Minerals Act which purported to divest the Litunga of the Mineral Rights previously reserved to him and his people. The Barotseland Agreement had been silent on the subject of mines and minerals. However, the Litunga’s rights in this regard were the subject of the original agreements with the British South Africa Company of the 1880s and 1890s. From the BSAC the entitlement to mining and minerals, which at all times were held at the will of the Litunga, passed to the United Kingdom as the protecting power. From there there was no legitimate way that these mining and mineral rights could have found their way into the pockets of the Government of Zambia, but that for the present at least is what has in fact happened. The purported removal of these rights was a further instance of the Kaunda administration’s determination to undermine the separate existence and self-governance of Barotseland.
17. A year later in 1970, the Government passed the Constitutional (Amendment) Act which empowered the President to compulsorily acquire property for the purposes of his Administration. In the exercise of these new purported – insofar as they related to Barotseland – powers, the President of the Republic of Zambia compulsorily and shamelessly pirated assets from Barotseland including the entire contents of Seventy Eight Million Five Hundred Thousands Sterling Pounds (£78,500,000.00) in the Barotse Native Treasury, plundered by the Kaunda Administration whilst the powers that were intended to be, within Barotseland, could only stand haplessly by. It hardly needs to be added that the Barotseland Agreement had expressly reserved control and administration of the Barotse Native Treasury to the Litunga of Barotseland and his establishment.
18. In its continued efforts apparently to obliterate the very existence of Barotseland, in 1970 the Government of Zambia unilaterally and unlawfully changed the name of “Barotseland” to Western Province. This was quite literally done through a speech of Dr Kaunda, as President, in a speech titled “I wish to Inform the Nation”. It is indeed a final indication of the unfeeling contempt with which that the Kaunda Government treated the Barotseland Agreement and indeed Barotseland and its people.
19. Prior to the Barotseland Agreement and its aftermath, the people of Barotseland had, as a matter of fact, never been colonised. Through the acts by the Government of Zambia described above. The Lozi people find themselves as pariahs on their own land, no investment, no support, no hope. This is a grave injustice perpetuated by the very Government from whom they expected, and indeed had been assured of, brotherhood and peaceful co-existence. It amounts to neo-colonialism, in Africa, from black on to black.
LEGAL POSITION OF BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT IN THE LIGHT OF BREACHES, ABROGATION AND REPUDIATION THEREOF
In International Law
20. There is one matter of absolute legal clarity about the Barotseland Agreement. Every facet of it - the parties, the subject matter, the circumstances in which it was made, the intention, and the detailed content - cry out that its designation in law is that of an International Treaty. No other view is remotely tenable.
21. As a treaty, it was required by the dictates of international comity and custom and of international law that the parties duly perform their duties under it. They could not just, as the Zambian Government purported to do, act as if the Agreement simply did not exist. The international element and requirements take it beyond the scope of purely domestic or municipal law.
22. We have seen it suggested, in the only efforts there have been to state a Zambian response to the position set out in this letter, that because all the breaches of the Agreement were being made by statutes promulgated under the legal requirements for such in Zambia. However, that argument founders completely on the fundamental principle of International Law that a party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law to justify its failure to perform a treaty. Obviously international comity and custom and thus international law would be in danger of failing altogether if a state was allowed to enter into a treaty with another state or states requiring it to act in a particular manner and then defeat that treaty by passing a domestic law purporting to forbid it so to act, or, as was the Kaunda administration’s ruse in the present case, purporting to declare that the treaty “shall cease to have effect”. International comity and custom realised this profound truth at the early stages and thus the principle became a fundamental one of international law. It may well be – we do not know, so we can neither admit nor deny – that all the offending enactments in themselves complied with the internal laws of Zambia. However, since we are dealing with an international treaty, and a particularly shameless way of attempting unilaterally to render it nugatory, any such compliance constitutes domestic law of Zambia and is completely immaterial.
23. We have without difficulty been able to identify the legal flaws in the Government of Zambia’s behaviour as set out above. However since Kaunda was “calling all the shots” with regard to the situation in Zambia in those days, these considerations did not count. The Barotse could not argue. They just had to endure their lot as best they could. And their country lay fallow – achingly beautiful - but criminally neglected. That is what one sees visiting Barotseland today.
24. The principle that a party may not invoke the provisions of its internal law to justify its failure to perform a treaty has been given Conventional force in Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. This Convention was enacted on 23rd May 1969 and signed on behalf of Zambia by one Lishomwa Muukwa the same day.
25. Probably the most crucially decisive and offensive of all the purported Zambian legislative provisions in this case, namely that the Barotselan Agreement shall cease to have effect – Constitution Amendment No. 5, 1969 – was purportedly enacted in October 1969, that is to say 5 months after Zambia had signed the International Convention expressly forbidding such enactments.
Under the Law of Contract
26. Having dealt with the Barotseland Agreement in terms of International Law, we may now view it as a simple contract between its three parties. However, you cannot terminate the contract agreement and at the same time continue to enjoy the privilleges and rights contained in a contract agreement you terminated.
27. The Agreement having been reached the failure to ratify it constituted a material breach of it by the Government of Zambia, so did the purported enactment of the Local Government Act, 1965, so did the Mines and Mineral Act 1969, so did the taking of the contents of the Barotse Treasury, so did the failure to provide financial support and to ensure that the laws of Zambia were not inconsistent with the Agreement. The list can go on. Above all, of course, the Constitution (Amendment) No. 5 Act of 1969 constituted an express and outright unlawful repudiation of the Agreement by the Government of Zambia.
28. Now where there is a material breach or unlawful repudiation of an agreement the guilty party cannot rely upon or force his breach to terminate the agreement. Rather the situation is that the innocent party, faced with the material breach or repudiation, may either decide to accept the breach or repudiation as an abrogation of the agreement having the effect of terminating it and rely on his legal remedies arising from the fact, or he may not accept but still recover the loss he suffered in consequence of the other party’s breach. If the abrogation is accepted by the innocent party then, of course, the agreement ceases, the other party is also released from any obligations under it and the status quo ante prevails, subject to the wronged party’s entitlement to recover his losses as damages. If however the innocent party does not elect to treat the material breach or repudiation as terminating the contract then it and its obligations continue to govern the parties’ relationship.
29. In the present case we know that the Barotse Government only accepted the Government of Zambia’s abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement in March 2012. Prior to that the Agreement continued in force and the Government of Zambia continued to clock up breaches of it.
30. Finally in March 2012 the Barotseland National Council elected to accept the abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement. The Agreement thereupon ceased to have any effect in law. Above all therefore, Zambia lost all right to exercise any authority in Barotseland and Zambia’s actual occupation of Barotseland became unlawful.
31. International Law in fact follows the law of Contract closely in the above. Article 60 (3) of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, it is provided, restating a long-standing binding principle of International Law, that a material breach or a violation by a party of a provision essential to the object or purpose of the treaty is a repudiation of the treaty, which entitles the other party or parties to invoke the breach as a ground for terminating it.
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION LEADING UP TO BAROTSELAND NATIONAL COUNCIL OF MARCH 26TH – 27TH 2012
33. Despite the eventual departure from power of Doctor Kaunda and the advent of other regimes since 1991, there has been no significant change in the situation of Barotseland or its people. On the contrary, the Government of Zambia has resorted to regrettable tactics of arresting and brutally harassing the people of Barotseland who seek to advocate for self determination.
34. On January 14, 2011 in Mongu, 19 people died, two of them from injuries inflicted during police torture in prison, and 5 are missing believed dead, while 15 suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds, after the Zambia Police set on the people in a peaceful gathering in support of self determination for Barotseland. Of this outrage the Zambia Government report was that there were only two fatalities.
35. There have been well over 100 arrests of supporters of Barotse separation in recent years who were then charged with treason. These charges are left to lie for some time during which the individuals are kept in prison and liable to ill treatment or even torture and then withdrawn on nolle prosequi issued by the Attorney General. No such case can ever be allowed by the Attorney General actually to come to trial, because, apart from the absence of legitimate authority in Zambia over Barotseland as explored in this letter, it is clear from the Constitution of Zambia that Barotse people do not come within the definition of “citizen” as therein contained. So the treason charges are not genuine but just an excuse to lock up Lozi separatists for a few months with the purpose of intimidating them. Embarrassingly, even schoolchildren have also fallen victims to these charges of treason.
36. In August, 2013 no less than 84 people were charged with treason in this same way. They included a former Ngambela (usually translated as “Prime Minister” but more like a Lord Chancellor in the modern Royal Barotseland Kingdom). Also amongst them were a number of leading members of the hierarchy of Barotse separatism (freedom seekers). In Court the “accused” challenged the State to prove they were “Zambians”. No such effort was made and the nolle prosequi were duly issued for all 84 after they had been held in custody for three months and two weeks.
37. Even as we write the Administrator General of our clients, Mr Afumba Mombotwa, Mr Likando Pelekelo, Sylvestor Nambao Kalima and Paul Masiye Masiyaleti, are still being held in prison under another of these charges of treason. Others also in Zambian jailes are Mr. Mubita Waluka, Mr Boris Muziba, Mr Nayoto Mwenda and Mr Sikwibele Wasilota on frivolus charges related to Barotseland with the purpose to punish innocent people.
38. All of the above is a clear manifestation of a tendency in the Government of Zambia to suppress the attempts to assert self determination by the people of Barotseland.
39. Of course the human rights abuses committed by the Zambian Government and its representatives have been the subject of a Petition to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, the processing of which is already quite well advanced. No doubt that esteemed body would in the circumstances be the appropriate one to proceed to the substantive conclusions in relation to that aspect of our client’s complaints.
40. Unfortunately, the Zambia Government has not, to the best of our knowledge, put in an answer yet before the Commission to the evidential submission entered on behalf of Barotseland, somewhat in accordance with the Government of Zambia’s usual habit of procrastination and non-commitment whenever the Barotseland question comes up in circumstances where it cannot simply be put down
BAROTSELAND NATIONAL COUNCIL MEETING OF MARCH 26TH – 27TH 2012
41. The supreme source of authority in Barotseland since time immemorial, the Barotse National Council, met on 26th and 27th March 2012 at Limulunga expressly to consider the situation and future of Barotseland having regard to the abrogation by Zambia of the Barotseland Agreement.
42. The meeting was summoned and regularly held in strict accordance with custom. It was preceded by similar meetings at village, district and regional level to discuss the same questions and appoint delegates to accompany the village headmen, district and regional chiefs to the national meeting. When the National Council met there were in excess of 80, 000 delegates present and every member of the population had had his or her opportunity to express their views.
43. Chief amongst the Resolutions passed were the following:-
a) We now inform Zambia and the international community that we finally accept the unilateral nullification and the abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 by the Zambian government, which action has freed Barotseland from being part of Zambia.
b) In line with the post liminium doctrine we can no longer be obliged to honour an International Agreement that the other party has nullified and abrogated, which has reverted us to our original status.
c) We the people of Barotseland declare that Barotseland is now free, to pursue its own self-determination and destiny.
d) We are committed to a peaceful disengagement with the Zambian government in the same manner that we attempted integration as a state within Zambia.
e) The Zambian government to immediately refrain from committing actions of violence and intimidation against the people of Barotseland.
f) The Barotse Government should immediately formalise the DECLARATION OF DISPUTE with the Zambian Government on the basis that the Zambian Government has violated and unilaterally abrogated the Unity Treaty whose purpose was to bind the two territories of Barotseland and the rest of Zambia, and also notify the SADC, AU, Commonwealth and United Nations of that fact.
g) The people of Barotseland shall exercise their right to revert Barotseland to its original status as a sovereign nation, so that the people of Barotseland shall determine their political, cultural, social and economic development”.
REFERENCE TO THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE
43. The real substantive concerns of our client are therefore as follows:
a) that the Barotseland Agreement has been terminated in law and is no longer of any effect;
b) that in the absence of the Barotseland Agreement the Government of Zambia has no legal basis for its continued occupation of Barotseland;
c) that that occupation is accordingly illegal and must cease forthwith;
d) that Barotseland is accordingly at liberty to revert to its former status as an independent and self-governing nation state;
e) that the declaration of dispute with Zambia referred to under clause 42 (f) as well as the notification of the bodies mandated thereunder proceed forthwith;
f) that the Zambian Government refrain from harrassment, violence or discrimination against Barotse people.
44. As already indicated, there has been a Petition presented to the African Commission in connection with the human rights violations reflected under 43 (f) above and we and our clients are entirely content to await the evaluation of that Commission on the substantive merits of the allegations of human rights violations thereby referred.
45. However the Commission does not have the powers to make interrim orders to restrain abuse which the International Court of Justice has and such restraining relief as a matter of urgency would be an inevitable part of the proceedings we are instructed to lodge on our client’s behalf with the ICJ, without otherwise interfering with the deliberations of the Commission.
46. For the remaining concerns referred to above and also for the huge claims for reparations to which the Kingdom of Barotseland is undoubtedly entitled to against Zambia we have advised our client that the ICJ is the appropriate tribunal in which to commence proceedings to address and redress all of the above. The suggestion in the Resolutions of the National Council that the process could be affected under just the auspices of the United Nations was, with respect, unduly optimistic. Very few decisions can safely be made without the binding authority of a court of law to make findings of fact and orders – in either case interim or final - in support or furtherance thereof.
RELIEF TO BE SOUGHT FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COURT
47. The detailed relief to be sought from the ICJ is something which can only be finalised at the conclusion of the preparation of the detailed submissions to the ICJ. This preparation is now the natural next step for ourselves, being the legal team of the Royal Barotseland Government.
48. Nonetheless it is fair and reasonable that we summarise for your information the classes and nature of relief that we will be seeking from the Court.
49. The relief will be in four categories, namely Declaratory, Consequential, Financial and Interrim or urgent relief, as follows:
a) Declaratory relief.
The Court will be asked to declare:
(i) that the only basis for Barotseland becoming part of Zambia was the Barotseland Agreement of 1964;
(ii) that that Agreement has ceased to have effect, having been abrogated by the Government of Zambia which abrogation has been accepted by the Barotseland National Council;
(iii) that the situation has reverted to that which applied immediately before the Agreement was signed and Barotseland is a free and self-governing nation state entitled to run its own affairs according to the will of its people and institutions;
(iv) that any continued governance, exercise of authority or occupation of Barotseland or any part thereof by Zambia is unlawful and must cease.
b) Consequential relief
The Court will be asked to give directions for the assumption of responsibility for and control of Barotseland, its territory and institutions by the Barotseland Government and the Barotseland National Council and the withdrawal of the Government of Zambia therefrom and for a peaceful and efficient hand-over between the two.
c) Financial relief
Zambia shall be Ordered to make financial reparations to Barotseland:
(i) for the unlawful taking of the contents of its Treasury by repaying the sum at which the said Treasury stood at the time of its siezure plus interest thereon at the bank borrowing rate as fixed from time to time by the Bank of England for sterling from the date of siezure to the date of payment;
(ii) for the loss of mine and mineral revenue consequent upon the unlawful siezure of the same in an amount to be calculated and fixed;
(iii) for the loss due to the failure of the Zambian Government to provide financial support to Barotseland or to treat it fairly and equitably as against the remaining parts of Zambia in an amount to be calculated and fixed;
(iv) for the violation of the human rights of citizens of Barotseland in an amount to be calculated and fixed.
d) Interim Relief on Application
This relief which would be made on urgent Application, either before or after the substantive case is commenced depending on necessity would be to prevent Zambia from discriminating against or acting to the detriment of any persons whether inside or outside Barotseland for espousing or promoting the cause of Barotseland in any manner, provided that the means used were peaceful. It would also be designed to secure safe and secure passage to the Barotseland legal team to travel to, within and from Barotseland and Zambia for the purposes of preparation and conduct of the case.
POSITION OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
50. As the United Kingdom was a signatory to the original Agreement and indeed was almost certainly the instigator of it, this letter is copied to Her Majesty’s Government. It will be necessary that the country be joined as a party to the ICJ proceedings. However, no substantive relief is being sought in respect of the United Kingdom.
51. Your Excellency, you have very recently been elected to your High and Honourable office and are hardly to be blamed, we are sure, for the Barotseland question and its pressing nature today. Fate and timing have it that as the new President of Zambia it falls to you to receive this letter.
52. The purpose of the letter is firstly to do your Excellency and by copy your Attorney General the courtesy of informing you of the intended proceedings and secondly to declare the dispute and notify the institutions mentioned in
53. It may be that the tenor of the Resolutions passed by the BNC in 2012 and the strength of feeling from the Barotseland side leave little scope for negotiation in the circumstances, but we are proceeding to prepare the submissions to the ICJ which process must take some little time. Whilst it is ongoing of course our ears and eyes are always open to anything that may be forthcoming from the Zambian side.
54. We also have to mention the sad fact that during the times of your more distant predecessors all – 100 % - of the lawyers who have espoused this case have died in not altogether convincing circumstances. They, with deference to their memory, were all in Zambia. It is thus that our clients have felt obliged to come beyond the borders for representation. We the new Royal Barotseland Government legal team are all either Batswana or British. We respect our client’s case. We would like to be able to move freely in Barotseland and Zambia to conduct it.
55. Finally, we assure your Excellency of our due respect for you and for your high office.
Legal Advisor/ Royal Barotseland Government
Letter here published for public records only.
3rd February, 2015
Royal Barotseland Kingdom
RE: POSITION STATEMENT
My Lord, we are compelled as a Government of the Royal Barotseland Kingdom to give our position statement, in response to the remarks made by the Zambian President Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu recently in Ethiopia!
However, here is our understanding:
1. In the first place, My Lord, I want to assure you that, Barotseland Kingdom is a sovereign and independent state just like Zambia or any other. To your knowledge, Mr. Afumba and his team (Royal Barotseland Government) were implementing the BNC Resolutions, which affirms that, any relationship between Barotseland and Zambia is now cancelled as of 27th March, 2012, and that any attempts to re-integrate would end up in ultimate failure.
2. The Royal Barotseland Government has engaged the legal services of Madandume Attorneys, Chambers of Dambe and Chadwick Anderson & Partners; the two being Batswana and the other one being a British respectively. These legal experts are skilled in Constitutional law, Commercial law and Criminal law respectively; these lawyers have been engaged with the purpose of providing legal representation in the case between Barotseland Kingdom Vs. Zambia and are a source of advice on any matter regarding the case and dialogue with Zambia if any. These lawyers shall provide legal services to the Royal Barotseland Government, the Monarchy (BRE) and the people of Barotseland Kingdom as a whole.
3. Our Lawyers had come to visit Barotseland on a familiarization tour on 29th and 30th January 2015, to meet the people as well as the Royal Barotseland Government Officials, and have a look of the physical state of the nation how it was neglected by the successive Zambian Governments.
4. Our lawyers are making significant progress on the case, and we shall not accept any negotiation between Zambia and Barotseland outside the court; if by any chance, that opportunity prevails, then, our lawyers must be present, Britain as a witness must also be there, because Zambians are very cunning and crooked, they only pull in the direction that favors them. They have a record of disrespecting their own laws from their parliament, and now they have gone further to disregard international agreements like the Barotseland Agreement.
5. It must be clear that, President Edgar Lungu of Zambia when coming to Barotseland, we must accord him respect accorded to a visiting head of state, because, the Head of State of Barotseland is His Majesty King Lubosi Imwiko II.
6. The Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) as Zambia calls it, is a weak vessel, and in most cases they do not represent well the people of Barotseland, and if it is seen to be in the fore-front misrepresenting them, then it is going to invite trouble to itself; some Induna like Amukuteile (Lubinda Nchindo – Mubeteki kwa Muleneñi wa Mwandi/ other chiefdoms) and others are known to be making money for themselves on this case by betraying others. Hence, BRE cannot be that effective because of that weakness.
7. No one in Barotseland is above the Barotse National Council, and anyone, Movement or BRE which engages in dialogue with Zambia is suffering from a high degree of disrespectfulness on the people of Barotseland, and any conclusion they may reach is not valid and not binding upon Barotseland.
8. The Barotseland Agreement 1964 is now a dead issue, having been cancelled by both parties formally, and hence we do not encourage any reference to it in any negotiations; we have heard that some quarters in Zambia are referring to the same BA 1964 saying that “it did not provide for separation” then if so neither did it provide for termination by one party. Under the Zambian law, it is a seditious document which can get you a treason charge. You cannot terminate a contract, and at the same time continue enjoying the privileges and rights contained in a contract that you terminated.
9. Those arrested on charges related to the Barotseland Agreement 1964 must firstly be released unconditionally, because they make an integral part of the negotiating team if the opportunity of dialoguing comes up in the auspices of the international community.
10. All negotiations related to Barotseland must be held within Barotseland or outside and not in Zambia.
11. If one says that, Barotseland should be subjected for a referendum, then that person is insulting the people of Barotseland and is intending to undermine the sovereignty of Barotseland; the Roger Chongwe Commission of Inquiry of 2011 and the Barotse National Council of 2012 are samples of the same referendum; we do not claim people, but we claim the territory. Those who do not want to be in Barotseland must shift to the nation where they feel appreciated and comfortable.
12. It is too late for us to hold a referendum today, when we have already declared our territory independent from Zambia; all Zambia must do is to respond to all the letters wrote to them which they did not respond to, including the declaration of dispute which was sent to them just after the BNC 2012.
13. The territorial integrity of Barotseland must be respected especially by Zambia as a signatory to some of the UN conventions.
14. Zambia has a pile of violations committed against the people of Barotseland, and hence, any Movement, Political Party or Organization in Barotseland which intends to help Zambia commit more violations or celebrates the statement by President Lungu, then those people, manifests their dis-respectfulness on the process already committed to, and they do not represent the people of Barotseland; they do that for their selfish interests and love of money coupled with lack of understanding.
My Lord, the Afumba led Government has the expertise to bring glory to Barotseland and turn around the events and situation for the betterment of Barotseland which we all crave for, and we would like to assure you that, we are very committed to do so.
Yours in National Service!
Rt. Hon. Matengu Situmbeko
Acting Administrator General
Royal Barotseland Government
TODAY, 3RD FEBRUARY 2015 witnesses the 110th anniversary of the birth of Mbikusita Lewanika, the Founding President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress and King of Barotseland. And, by the way, he was an unsurpassed Barotse African traditional paddler, drummer and dancer, before kingship inhibited him.
MBIKUSITA LEWANIKA was a Prince, by occurrence of birth at Lealui, on 3 February 1905. He was enthroned as King of Barotseland at Lealui, according to centuries-old tradition at Lealui, on 15 December 1968. He had died at Lewanika General Hospital of Mongu-Lealui, on 7 February 1977. He was buried as per tradition for a Barotse King, on 11 February 1977. However, contrary to uninformed perceptions and popular presumption, the royalty factor in his life has been more often a spear thrusting into his flesh. His distinguishing life service factor is that he lived and worked with this spear eternally injuring his every service endeavour and constantly obstructing every step paving people’s way forward. His life was a stipple jump race over spikes of hindrances at every turn, rather than being born with a silver spoon in his mouth, as some imagine of Royalty. The events and circumstances of Mbikusita Lewanika’s royal birth and kingship is not of substantive concern. The unremarkable factor of being a prince or being enthroned and buried as a king is not a distinction. History records are full of unworthy princes and kings and full of worthy persons of regal associations.
THE LIFE SERVICE OF MBIKUISTA LEWANIKA IS OF NOTE, in the context that an earlier generation of Western educated African natives, born around the turn of the 20th century, founded African freedom movements, thus sowing the seeds of independence. They had intensive upbringing in, and life time unbroken linkages to, African traditional leadership, to whose values, culture and governance they were positively predisposed at pre-colonial formation level. They made effort to acquire and understand what they could from Western education, Christianity, modernisation and governance systems at conglomerate colony level. They embraced this duality comfortably, but with determination to retain and recover traditional Africa and its lost autonomy, while steadily mastering and taking charge of new skills, operations and institutions of European colonialism. They strived to reach a happy medium outcome combining the best of European modernity and even democracy, while preserving what is anchoring and pleasing from traditional Africa, where possible and positive. Members of this generation were pathfinders, long distance runners and cautious petitioners for African sovereignty. Of these, John Langalibelele Dube (11 February 1871 - 11 February 1946) of South Africa and the Zulu Kingdom and Dr. Joseph Kwame Kyeretwie Boakye Danquah (December 1895 – 4 February 1965) of the Gold Coast and the Ashate Kingdom, among others, correspond to Mbikusita Lewanika (3 February 1905 – 7 February 1977) of Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland, all of them deserve full and positive recognition as planter of Africa’s trees of independence.
MBIKUSITA LEWANIKA’s life start with the distinction of having overcome the perils of being tossed about as an infant and out growing mal-adjustment in early school years at Luatile School. Thereafter, it is distinguished further as he became a good academic performer at the Barotse National School and, through his own stubborn insistence, he managed to get a South African Lovedale College education. He followed this by taking an independent minded path leading to becoming Founder Secretary of the Livingstone African Welfare Association in 1929, at the age of 24.
In the 1930s, in his youth, he was a principal participant at the Kafue first attempt to found an African National Congress north of the Zambezi, served as Private Secretary of the King of Barotseland, wrote the first full length English language book by a native in his part of Africa and embarked on translation of the Bible into SiLozi and the classic Pilgrim’s Progress.
In the 1940’s, he refused to be destroyed or incapacitated by the astounding shock banishment from the summit of the capital of Barotseland on bogus and malevolent charges. He marshaled the strength of mind to move on to another world and different life at Nkana-Kitwe, which did not depend on royalty. From a prince, he became a proletariat, owning no functional means of production but selling his services to capitalist for wages. He labored, for twenty years, as Senior African Clerk, Senior Welfare Officer, Personnel and Public Relations officer for an Anglo-American Corporation copper mine. At the same time, he became a leader of his fellow African proletariats, and served in a voluntary capacity as Founder President of the Kitwe African Society, proposer of the formation of the Northern Rhodesia Federation of African Welfare Association, pioneer promoter of trade unionism and Founder President-General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress. Not only this, he also took wrote several other books and publishing newspaper and magazine articles, in Africa and overseas, in addition to man voluntary civic services for Africans, when there were few people available to do so.
In the 1950, in one of his many firsts, as President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress, he met Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and consummated what has become the Indo-Zambia bilateral relationship at state and people levels. He initiate programmes for sending young future leaders for overseas higher education, at least three of who were to be in the first post colonial Cabinet of Ministers. He followed this by becoming the first and only African from Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland (and even Zambia since) to address a meeting attended by Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, at Westminster, in London – he spoke against the proposal to establish the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. He also corresponded with Kwame Nkrumah, in the run up to, and after his appointment as Prime Minister of the Gold Coast (Ghana) and met with leading African nationalist leaders in Kenya, including Mbiyu Koinange and Jomo Kenyatta, hence, pioneering cross border consultation and cooperation among leaders of the African freedom movement.
During the rest of the 1950’s he was Founder President of the Mines African Staff Association, a student at the University College of Wales at Swansea, a Member of Parliament of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and a facilitator for domestic and foreign higher education for hundred of Zambians and Barotse individuals, both men and women. In the 1960’s, he as a Parliamentary Secretary in Ministry of External Affair of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland; undertook a couple of years post retirement job in the personnel department of Wankie (Hwange) Collieries; and engaged in some Limulunga village and Wusakile Township retail trading business to finance his children’s education and make an independent living, in an unfriendly post-colonial environment. As if to complete the circle and bring closure to his life, three decades after expulsion from the capital of Barotseland, he has resurface and returned to be enthroned as King of Barotseland, in December 1968.
Despite all this, Mbikusita Lewanika is a victim of a cultivated campaign of history denial, which is motivated by three intentions. The first is the urge to justify the propaganda that architects and heroes of African independence are only those who inherited the button on the last stretch of the relay race to new African nation-statehood, who are actually harvesters and not planters of independence. The second is to avoid any challenge to the established denigrated portrayal and, sometimes, double standard condemnation, of the earlier generation of political leaders representing a different approach to independence and governance. The third is justify the decolonisation dispensation that retained both the colonial geographical and governance legacy, while effectively preventing the return power to the African governments and peoples from whom European colonialism took it. In effect, it obstructs minds and actions of Africans from reviewing and reconstituting the independence dispensation. This is unacceptable, because independence has failed to liberate Africa and Africans from vestiges of European colonialism and to set it unto the path of truly independent, effective sovereignty and human dignity. This lack of factual and well digested history hides and causes problems.
Distorting history poses problems for the present and is a fundamental stumbling block for Africa’s future. It erases and misrepresents contributions of those who planted African independence. It negates opportunities of establishing internal inclusiveness and consensus in the formation of the externally designed new African nation-states. It discourages consideration of optional paths towards overcoming impediments to political advancement, economic development and social liberation. Furthermore, it blind leaders and citizens from seeing whatever wisdom and positive guidance that may be in the legacies of the fore-runners of post-colonial leaders. In short, it creates and endorses an incorrect history that misinform and handicap people’s enlightened freedom for the self-determination and sovereignty that is the promise of independence.
In the case of Zambia, it is portrayed as if the freedom movement begins and ends during the last five years before Independence, under the sole leadership of UNIP and its office holders, which is a distortion of history. It like doctoring the Bible by rewriting the Exodus story, with all credit to Joshua and none to Moses! This topic is being raised now, in the light of unfolding anniversary cerebrations highlight and ignore selected parts of history with consistent partiality. The year 2017 marks the 40th Anniversary of the passing away of Mbikusita Lewanika. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the demise of his father, King Lewanika the First of Barotseland. 2015 shall witness the 110th anniversary of his birth, while 2014 witnesses the 50th joint-anniversary of his labours’ fruits, which are Zambia’s Independence and the Barotseland Agreement 1964, which provided for Barotseland to be an integral part of Zambia after independence.
In reflecting upon these anniversaries, it is instructive that the subject personality is Mbikusita Lewanika is founding President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress from 1948 to 1951. He reigned as the last son of King Lewanika the First to seat on the throne of Barotseland, from 1968 to 1977. His place in history has been denied and distorted, for personal, partisan and sectarian reasons. He has a record of outstanding broad, varied and pioneering public service, from 1929 to 1977. The history and essence of the establishment and independence of Zambia is incomplete, unbalanced and unintelligible, in fact unacceptable, without appreciation and taking positive account of the life service of maligned figures, such as Mbikusita Lewanika. This is part of Zambia’s undoing through personal, partisan and sectarian history denial and distortion. It may be too late to say it, now - BUT THE WRITING HAS BEEN IGNORED ON THE WALL FOR FIFTY YEARS!
This is a comment on the reported Zambian President’s agreement to “grant referendum” to the people of Barotseland in order to resolve the “thorny Barotseland Agreement issue” and that such a referendum “will be a vote to decide either to secede or remain with other provinces in Zambia” (Zambian Watchdog, January 30, 2015).
I assume that the President was correctly reported, and wish to comment as follows:
1.0 The fact that these reported remarks were made in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, shows that Zambia’s incessant violations of the rights and privileges of the people of Barotseland, as enshrined in the Barotseland Agreement 1964 (BA’64), are now in the international public domain – and the matter can no longer be swept under the Zambian government’s blood-stained rug. I am pleased about this and know that, after being vilified for many years, those of us who have been educating the public about this scandalous injustice will soon be vindicated.
2.0 It is both disappointing and embarrassing that the Zambian President, as a supposed learned lawyer, does not understand that by terminating the BA’64, by way of the Constitution Amendment Act No 5 of 1969, the status of the Republic of Zambia as a Unitary State was also simultaneously terminated – with the consequent result that, as from the effective date of this amendment, the two constituent parts of the unitary state as consummated in 1964 (i.e. Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia, respectively) legally became free of each other. Zambia’s interpretation that the termination of the BA’64 meant that they could now govern and administer Barotseland, whether she liked it or not, is fallacious and a show of complete disrespect for the people of Barotseland. This is why the people of Barotseland have petitioned the Zambian government to appear before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague to argue their case in holding on to this interpretation and occupying Barotseland militarily and otherwise. We have interpreted the Zambian government’s refusal to appear before the PCA, as an admission of guilt. So, the people of Barotseland do not want to expend further energy and time going on a tangent trying to solve the wrong problem. The correct problems that need urgent attention are contained in the official letter of dispute written to the Zambian government on May 14, 2012 (reproduced below), and not taking us back to 1969 and asking us whether or not Barotseland should “secede or remain with other provinces in Zambia”. This matter was decided unilaterally by the Zambian government through the Constitution Amendment Act No 5 of 1969, as already explained – so, the question of a referendum, today, is totally irrelevant, too-little-too-late, ill-informed and mischievous. We have no interest going back to 1969 to correct the mistake which the Zambian government made, and which has since left us as Zambia’s slaves. We even wonder who requested the President for a referendum on the matter, for him to “grant” it; certainly, that could only have been someone who is equally ignorant about, or is in complete denial of, the current correct status of Barotseland as a free nation which has only been prevented from actualising her self-rule by the unwelcome enslavement and continued military occupation of the territory by Zambia. Could there be a sinister motive for the President’s wishful thinking about a referendum – such as a proclivity (i.e. an appetite) to rigging it? Thank goodness, a referendum is irrelevant in the circumstances!
3.0 Zambia’s brand new President should also be advised to refrain from referring to Barotseland as a Province. Barotseland did not enter into the union with Northern Rhodesia as a Province; she entered into that union as an equal partner to Northern Rhodesia – with a Head of State – the Litunga, whose signature on the BA’64 was equal in weight and essence to that of Mr. Kenneth Kaunda. We challenge the Zambian President to produce documents that show that the people of Barotseland ever agreed to the status of Barotseland being downgraded to that of a Province. Without such evidence, we wish to advise that when the Zambian President travels to Barotseland, as he has promised, he should do so knowing full well that he is going to meet with another Head of State, like himself. One of the reasons why successive Zambian governments have not made progress on the matter of the BA’64 is precisely this. They think that because they unilaterally introduced legislation in their parliament to devalue and diminish the status of the Litunga, as well as name Barotseland a Province, that things actually changed on the ground. On the contrary, all these clandestine machinations meant nothing to the status of the Litunga; neither did they affect the relationship between the Litunga and his people, or our conception of what Barotseland really is. We still revere the Litunga as our Head of State, first and foremost – and we know Barotseland to be a nation state. So, please, don’t travel to Barotseland with the attitude and mentality that you’re simply visiting a province of this imaginary, make-believe unitary state called Zambia (which actually died in 1969). The Litunga is a Head of State – and you ignore this fact at your own peril because if you do not follow the right procedures you may not even see him. The President is further advised to go to Mungu by road so that he can experience first-hand the potholes and craters on the road in that part of the country they love most – i.e. the Nkoya country.
4.0 The newly inaugurated Zambian President also needs to know that Barotseland has never been a unitary state made up of numerous independent tribal entities, as he seems to think from his reference to certain “tribes”, as if they were independent of Barotseland. Barotseland has always been a monolithic nation state, the main characteristic of which is that it is indivisible. So, the President should refrain from introducing tribalism in Barotseland.
5.0 I am also disappointed that the President has chosen to ignore the fact that on May 14, 2012, the Zambian government received an official letter concerning Barotseland’s disengagement from Zambia. (The letter can be found here: http://barotsepost.com/images/important_barotse_documents/bre_letter_of_dispute_with_zambia.pdf)
Thus, if Zambia’s new President wishes to have the Barotseland issue resolved permanently, he should work with the people of Barotseland (not unilaterally) and set up a “Working Group” to address issues pertaining to Barotseland’s total disengagement from Zambia. This is where the people of Barotseland are with this matter – not at the point of being subjected to a meaningless referendum.
6.0 I trust that these comments and free advice will assist the Zambian President take appropriate actions and undertake meaningful consultations on this matter, going forward. Democracy requires that leaders respect the wishes of the people. The above letter to the Zambian government expresses the wishes of the people of Barotseland. The process that led to the Barotse National Council resolutions referred to in the Ngambela’s letter was more democratic than a referendum. Let us not move in circles, the people have spoken.