It is not true that Constitution Amendment Bill 10 Restores the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964

07 December 2019
Author  Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
Edgar Chagwa Lungu has presided over one of the worst Zambian Regimes against Barotseland - CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

The Litunga (King of Barotseland) and the President of Zambia cannot possibly broker a deal to restore the Barotseland Agreement 1964 alone without constitutional amendments. Therefore, reports by some sections of Barotse media that THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019 - Bill 10, will restore the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 after the two leaders allegedly brokered a deal earlier in the week are either misguided or misinformed. If the reports are true that some sort of deal was made by the two, then His Majesty is once again being played for a fool because constitution-making is a transparent affair which must require consensus from both the Barotse and Zambian nationals.

Further, it is not true that Bill 10 has included clauses to restore the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964. Therefore, it would be a great mistake for the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to support this fundamentally flawed Zambian constitutional amendment bill based on such misrepresentation of facts.

Factually, there is currently no proposal in Bill 10 to restore the defunct 1964 pre-independence agreement. However, the truth is that the Barotse Royal Establishment did submit something concerning the defunct 1964 agreement to the Parliamentary Select Committee, chaired by Raphael Nakachinda, whose terms of reference was to scrutinize the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, N.A.B. No. 10 of 2019.

In doing so, the select committee did invite submissions from stakeholders and witnesses and compiled a report which the committee must submit to the speaker of the national assembly as mere recommendations. These recommendations are not binding on the executive arm of government who were the drafters of Bill 10.

Incidentally, the Parliamentary Select Committee’s Report has largely rejected Bill 10 as it was presented to parliament before its deferment to February next year.

The Parliamentary Select Committee has, however, agreed with many stakeholders that Bill 10 is a fundamentally bad bill which must not be made into law in its current form.

Now, let’s consider what the BRE submitted concerning the Barotseland Agreement 1964 and what was eventually adopted in the Parliamentary Select Committee Report.

In their report, on page 15, the Raphael Nakachinda chaired Parliamentary Select Committee noted on Clause 4 – AMENDMENT OF ARTICLE 4: REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, that most stakeholders supported the amendment to Article 4 (3) to replace the word “multi-religious” with the word “Christian” because this would clearly identify the nation as a Christian nation, following the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation in 1996 and the inclusion of that declaration in the Preamble of the Constitution.

The committee reported, however, that ONE STAKEHOLDER, NAMELY THE BAROTSE ROYAL ESTABLISHMENT, WAS OF THE VIEW THAT THE WORD ‘INDIVISIBLE’ IN CLAUSE 4 (3) DEFEATED THE SPIRIT AND PURPOSE OF A UNITARY STATE.

The BRE additionally submitted that there was a need for the amendment to acknowledge the fact that Zambia was a creation of two nations that agreed to unite into one nation under the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

The BRE recommended that the clause be amended to remove the word ‘indivisible’.

While, the committee adopted most stakeholder submissions recommending that the word “multi-religious” in Article 4 be replaced with the word “Christian” to reaffirm the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation, it would appear, however, that the BRE recommendations were overruled or ignored because the Nakachinda committee only adopted that the word “multi-religious” in Article 4 should be replaced with the word “Christian” . (The adopted recommendations are regularly italicised in the text of the report).

Thus, the Committee did not even adopt this BRE recommendation. They merely acknowledged having received this particular submission from one stakeholder namely the Barotse Royal Establishment.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This submission by the BRE is nothing new as the Barotse Royal Establishment has always made the same or similar submission in every Zambian constitutional review process since the purported 1969 abrogation of the pre-independence agreement. These multiple BRE submissions have always been rejected or ignored by the Zambian State.

Therefore, to say that the calls for the restoration of the defunct 1964 agreement have now been included in Bill 10 based on this mere submission by the BRE to the parliamentary select committee is a misrepresentation of facts.

Simply put, this is a deceitful and cheap lie meant to hoodwink unsuspecting Barotse people because, as earlier observed, the proposition by the BRE was, in fact, not even adopted by the Nakachinda Report. It was merely acknowledged.

Further, the BRE should know better by now that the government of the Republic of Zambia has always rejected the many previous BRE submissions on the need to restore and fully implement the 1964 agreement in all the successive constitution review processes since 1969.

More importantly, however, it must also be stated that the Raphael Nakachinda report to the Speaker of the National Assembly is not Bill 10. Neither is it an addition or correction of the bill.

The two are different, and the mere fact that Raphael Nakachinda and his team made some progressive recommendations to the speaker is not a guarantee that Bill 10 will be edited to incorporate any or all of the Nakachinda recommendations.

We must emphasize, without any fear of contradiction, that the 2019 constitutional amendment bill (Bill 10) is a very bad bill that the Zambian people have largely rejected - including the Raphael Nakachinda led Parliamentary Select Committee which has made contradictory recommendations to most of the clauses in Bill 10.

Therefore, the Barotse Royal Establishment and the people of Barotseland should not be hoodwinked in supporting this bad bill on the lies that it now includes clauses for the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964.

No Clause in Bill 10 or the Raphael Nakachinda Parliamentary Select Committee Report proposes the restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964.

The fact that Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa, MP, and a prominent Lozi elite, was part of the Nakachinda select committee is also not a guarantee that the 1964 agreement will be restored. Not even the fact that other prominent Lozis such as Republican Vice President, Inonge Wina, Minister of Justice, Given Lubinda and Attorney General, Likando Kalaluka, are important members of the current government of Zambia under the leadership of the Patriotic Front (PF) led by Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

The PF and President Lungu must always be judged based on their past and current actions on Barotseland rather than on the sweet empty assurances they reportedly keep giving His Majesty Imwiko II and the BRE concerning this very important matter of Barotseland.

Amidst reports of all these sweet nothings the President allegedly continues to say in private when with the King at State House or Limulunga Palace, the Zambian State’s actions through its various courts, police, military, prisons and public civil service continue to betray, suppress and oppress the people of Barotseland, denying them basic human rights such as equitable distribution of economic development, civil and public service jobs, free expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of conscience and self-determination among others.

It is their brutal rule against Barotseland that has given rise to the forced retirements from the civil service in so-called national interest, mass arbitrary arrests, lengthy wrongful incarcerations without trial or compensation and lengthy imprisonment of Barotse people, including Afumba Mombotwa, Inambao Kalima and Likando Pelekelo who are today serving 15-year jail sentences with hard labour over political matters that can be resolved politically.

Here below are some additional points on TWO other recommendations of the Raphael Nakachinda Report which may be important to Barotseland:

CLAUSE 51 - Repeal and Replacement of ARTICLE 149: Provinces, Districts and Wards (Page 25)

Some stakeholders were concerned that the amendment, which removed the requirement for the President to obtain the approval of the National Assembly to create, merge or divide provinces, took away the National Assembly’s oversight role on the creation, merger or division of provinces.

They submitted that this had the potential to result in the power being abused for political gain.

The stakeholders, therefore, recommended that the President’s power to create or divide a province or merge provinces should continue to be exercised subject to the approval of the National Assembly.

CLAUSE 57 – Repeal and Replacement of Article 165 Institution of Chieftaincy and Traditional Institutions (Pages 25, 26)

Some stakeholders, including the House of Chiefs, welcomed clause 57, which enables Parliament to enact legislation for the recognition or withdrawal of recognition of chiefs.

The stakeholders also appreciated the amendment, which gives the House of Chiefs power to resolve a dispute relating to the appointment or election of a chief, where the concerned parties have failed to resolve the dispute on the basis of custom, culture and tradition.

A few, 26 stakeholders, expressed concern that the amendment gave the House of Chiefs original and final jurisdiction to resolve a chieftaincy dispute.

They, in this regard, submitted that provision should be made for a party aggrieved by a decision of the House of Chiefs to appeal to another authority.

Other stakeholders were, however, opposed to the resolution of succession disputes by the House of Chiefs. They argued that the Judiciary was competent enough to preside over disputes concerning chiefdoms and did not see why this function should be transferred to the House of Chiefs.

The stakeholders recommended that Parliament should enact legislation for the recognition and withdrawal of recognition of chiefs.

They further recommended that all disputes relating to chiefs should be heard and determined by the courts of law.

REFERENCES:

THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019 - BIIL 10 http://www.parliament.gov.zm/sites/default/files/documents/bills/The%20Constitution%20of%20Zambia%20%28Ameement%29%20Bill%202019.pdf

REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE APPOINTED TO SCRUTINISE THE CONSTITUTION OF ZAMBIA (AMENDMENT) BILL, N.A.B. NO. 10 OF 2019

http://www.parliament.gov.zm/sites/default/files/documents/articles/Report%20on%20the%20Select%20Committee%20to%20Scrutinise%20N.A.B.%20NO.%2010%20of%202019.pdf

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  • Accra Kwalela Accra Kwalela Saturday, 07 December 2019

    It is clear that to restore the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 they has to be an amendment to the Zambia constitution, when the BA was abrogated in 1969, Barotse institutions were abolished, to revive these institutions it will take more than an agreement between the President of Zambia and the King of Barotseland, it's either we have a constitutional amendment or stick to the 2012 resolution.

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.