It will be tragic if the Barotse Agreement of 1964 will not be included in the new constitution former Senanga MP William Harrington has cautioned.
Far from being the genesis of secession, the Agreement was the glue that bound Barotseland to the rest of Zambia and its exclusion would deal a mortal blow to this spirit and letter of the unitary state.
And people of Western Province were expectant of the Agreement, and leaving it out would lead to a ‘collision course.’
Mr Harrington observed that the Agreement had reached a critical stage that needed a sustainable solution.
The technical committee drafting the Constitution is reported to have resolved that the BA of 1964 should not be recognised in the Constitution.
Mr Harrington called upon the constitution committee to critically re-evaluate the issue, because trashing it now would not be in the best interest of the country, considering the sensitivity of the matter.
He urged the Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba and the technical committee drafting the national Constitution to clear the situation now, because leaving it out of the new Constitution was yet another broken promise that might result into a problem.
Exclusion, he said was tantamount to divorce because Barotseland had always enjoyed self governing protectorate status even before independence, adding that trashing the Agreement in the new Constitution was wrong, especially that the people of Western Province were still expectant of its restoration, as promised by President Sata during the run up to the 2011 elections. “This issue of Barotse Agreement of 1964 must be handled with caution because it is sensitive otherwise everything will be messed up. If the PF government is not careful on how to go about it, I predict that it will not bring any peace. This was a promise, Mr Sata promised to honor and letting it go like this will without doubt give birth to anarchy,” he cautioned.
He explained that the Lozis had been patient with the matter, and advised government to respect the BA of 1964 because Mr Sata personally promised that he will honour once in power, that gave hope to people.
“Mr Sata publicly announced that he will restore the Agreement, it was not a secret. And it is not too late for the PF government to come up with the position that can bring an issue to an end, because what the people thought was that it will be resolved through the new Constitution, a promise is a promise,” he said.