Barotse settlement

The Barotse quagmire will not be resolved by legal means. The solution lies in a holistic political settlement and the sooner all parties realize this fact the better.

The current debate will not yield any positive returns due the serious lack of clarity on a number of contentious issues. These include the fundamentals of content, space and legal delimitation of the Barotse agreement which the debate is all about.

The emotional and often highly charged demands from the Barotse separatists are short on specifics but very high on symbolism. This makes it difficult to create parameters on which a debate and subsequent resolution can be arrived at.

The first and most daunting task is the delimitation of what constitutes Barotseland. This is a vexatious issue which pits several interest groups that are not mutually inclusive. If indeed the separatists or secessionists were to succeed in achieving their national sovereignty what would include their territory?

It is not good enough to suggest that Barotseland is synonymous with the Lozi language. The two are not the same. Barotseland is far more expansive than the language. It incorporates a huge geographical area that includes many tribal groups over and beyond the Lozi linguistic area.

The two must be clearly defined before anybody can lay any claim to any territory. Similarly it is difficult to hold anybody accountable for separatist intentions when the land involved is not clearly demarcated. It becomes even more difficult when the perpetrators of secession do not indicate the manner in which the territory will be forcibly acquired.

Added to this conundrum is the fact that the Barotse Royal Establishment which should be championing the cause of secession has maintained a studious distance from the fray, leaving it to a few activists who have been supported by external funders.

In the breach, have fallen a few overenthusiastic individuals who have no clue what a secession is all about and that it is even criminal to consider, let alone take any steps to realize  such an eventuality. They are the people who are prepared to manifest their support and allegiance to a nonexistent territory with a fervor that bordered on the absurd.

The Government should not be seen to be victimizing fanatics who have little understanding of law and intricacies of territorial integrity. It must instead engage with the traditional and informal leaders that have influence over the people either agitating or blindly supporting the case for secession.

As we have said before, it is wrong for the Government to create martyrs.  If anything happens to one of the detainees a cause will have been created for martyrdom even where this is not deserved.

If anything the Government has a duty to explain to the people of Barotseland the meaning of the promise made to restore the Barotseland agreement. It is beyond question that the promise was made and that it is partly because of this that the current agitation has arisen.

That is why the law will not do in resolving the problem. Recourse must be made to politics, where the problem originated from.


Categorized | Editorial

4 Responses to “Barotse settlement”

  1. Ngombala Muhapi wa Mafatsi says:

    It has been said numerous times before that what constitutes Barotseland is the boundaries as they stand today. It is also foolish for the writer to claim that there are many other tribes besides Barotse living in Barotseland today. Barotse is the general term used to refer to people of Barotseland who speak the southern Sotho language as we know it today. Be it the Kwangwa, Subiya, Nyengo etc, they all form one people called Lozi. Have you never wondered why only none Lozis claim there are so called “many other tribes living in Barotseland?”.

  2. Seba Yeta says:

    This is the mistake Zambia is making, assuming that the Barotse people are ignorant both at law and politics and that they don’t know what they are demanding. To the contrary the Barotse people have researched and have answers to all these questions raised.
    For reference let me refer you to a summary of what the Barotse people have submitted to the international community as their demands:

    In fact the ones exhibiting ignorance is Zambia and they will only wake up when they will be confronted with Barotseland as a neighboring country. The rest of the major and clever world are already preparing to live with Barotseland as a sovereign country because remember the history of Barotseland is well documented it is not a matter of emotionalism but a historical fact that cannot be wished away. The Germans, British, Portuguese, French, Italians, Belgians, etc. have the geographical maps and know the entire history. In SADC, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, South Africa, Angola, Lesotho and Zimbabwe have historically interacted with Barotseland as a separate entity from Zambia (Northern Rhodesia). So the sooner Zambia wakes up to this reality, the better for all. Zambia ignored the call for dialogue for close to 48 years now and now the only dialogue left is for peaceful disengagement

    Zambians should ‘read’ to acquaint themselves with this issue. Pity Kaunda thought by ‘Burying’ this BA64, then it would vanish away. That is why Zambians are so ignorant over it, and yet the rest of the civilized world know more about it. In fact they have more records than the Zambian government, and these records and facts are now in the custody of the Barotse people including the ones assumed to be ignorant, un-educated Lozis. An ordinary Lozi right now know more about Barotseland quest for self-determination than an average Zambian university graduate because enlightenment has reached them. The so called separatists have educated their ‘poor’ masses enough for them to understand what the issue really is, while Zambia still thinks they will solve the issue by promising more stadia, roads, development, etc. or arresting and killing the Lozis (nation and not tribe as there is no tribe called Lozi, which exists only in Kaunda’s head). The Barotse people know that this so called development is donor funded and that the donors will still be able to deal with an indigenous Barotse government. The BRE are quite because they know that the issue is now beyond them as the call for independence was decided by the Barotse National Council (BNC) of 26th – 28th March 2012 and no single leader, including the Litungaship, has power to change and overrule a BNC resolution. So sit with BRE or the Litunga all you like, and they will tell you that in Barotse governance system ‘The tail wags the head and not the other way around’

  3. DVZ says:

    The Editorial on Barotseland Disagreement makes sense but problem is that the PF Govt eroded its own credibility to solve this political malaise once for all by its campaign lies…So even well meaning Lozis can not trust anyone in PF…I suggest that Distinguished Senior citizens like Amusa Mwanamwambwa,Vernon Mwaanga,Mkhondo Lungu,Grey Zulu and others,institutions like house of chiefs,LAZ, etc must be commissioned to settle this matter with the Barotse Royal Establishment once for all, without active govt involvement in the initial stage…

  4. imute says:

    The editorial is not palatable even to a Lozi villager, it is one sided. It has left Kaunda who signed the BA agreement on his behalf. Remember that King Mwanawina of then Barotseland was forced to sign but on behalf of himself, the Kuta, the Barotse chiefs and most importantly the people of Barotseland. This entails that the Northern Rhodesian (Zambian) government cannot only dialogue with the BRE because the agreement covered also the people of Barotseland. To educate the editorial, that is the reason why the BNC was held because it catered democratically, for the Litunga himself, the Mulonga (Kuta),the chiefs in Barotseland and the people’s representative organizations – this is how governance in Barotseland was and is even today. The source of the issue is Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda and today Sata who kept on saying that the Agrrement was dead and kept on arresting Lozis for many years today. Barotseland history is richer than Zambian coxed history. I still blame Kaunda for not honoring the glue between Rhodesia and Barotseland. If the whole Party President says that the Barotseland agreement is real and that only a crooks and a dishonest person will say so. Now people are making follow ups to such statements. Who should be blamed? Who is not trusted here? I am sad that you young Rhodesians have been deprived to learn the real history of this unitary country. If it is a unitary country, common sense is that it was formed from more than one country. The question you should ask Professors is what are the names of the countries that formed Zambia. You should know that for two things to unite there must be a bond between them for them to be unitary. the bond that was used to bind those countries together was the BA. Now if you say the BA is dead what you mean scientifically is that the bond between the countries has now no powers to hold the countries together. common sense is that the counties in that unitary state will crumble and attain their original states as separate entities. Please only people without common sense, as President Sata said, will fail to actualize the issue of Barotseland. The question is are you one of them? It is sad that for 48 years all your Presidents lacked common sense and all had been crooks, Sata said. So are you also a crook for not understanding the issue?


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