THE Nkoya Royal Council has welcomed President Edgar Lungu’s decision to subject the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 to discussions.
And Nkoya Royal Establishment representative David Tamboka said the Government must first meet the Nkoyas before they proceed to meet the Barotse activits.
Council regional chairman Shimunika Shamatunga accused the Government of listening to a section of the people of Western Province, instead of getting views from all the people.
He said the Barotseland Agreement controversy was not for the Lozis alone, but that all the ethnic groups in Western Province should be engaged so that all the views were heard.
Mr Shamatunga said since President Lungu had promised to visit Western Province soon to get first-hand information about the Barotseland Agreement, it would only be fair for him to engage the Nkoyas as well.
The Nkoyas accused the Government of siding with the Barotse Royal Establishment.
Mr Shamatunga alleged that Government had deliberately given a deaf ear to grievances from the Nkoyas due to the Barotse influence.
“We as Nkoyas are aware that our Government had deliberately given a deaf ear to our grievances due to the Barotse influence in Government masquerading as remnant of colonialism, whose continued presence is to ferment and perpetrate anarchy and exploitation of tribe over another at the expense of our hard won independence,” he said.
Mr Shamatunga said the Government should not in this day and age continue to sit by the fence and watch its people being abused and oppressed using state machinery like the colonialists did in the colonial era.
He said the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was an oppressive legislation that continued to threaten and contradict the supreme law of the land. Mr Shamatunga said the people of Western Province had mixed feelings about the agreement and therefore the relevant authorities must handle the matter with caution.
“Actually, we as Nkoyas are opposed to the decision regarding the agreement because it appears to be in favour of one group, and we have been abused, which is not fair,” he said. While in Egypt for the African Union summit, President Edgar Lungu announced that he would meet Barotseland activists to find a better way of resolving and settling the issues of the Barotseland Agreement.
He said he would soon travel to Western Province to get first-hand information about the Barotseland Agreement, saying he would ask the Barotse activists to show him where the boundaries were so that he could know who was involved and possibly hold a referendum on the issue in the area.
President Lungu said his Government was keen to engage concerned people and parties in dialogue so as to reach a consensus on contentious issues.
And Mr Tamboka said the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was overtaken by event because only those who were close to the Litunga were benefiting at the expense of other groupings in the area.
“We are appealing to the Government to consider meeting us before they meet the Barotse activists because they are the same who want to take over everything at the expense of other ethnic groups,” he said.
Mr Tamboka explained that the issue was becoming boring because no one appeared to be willing to address the matter to satisfy all the affected parties.