PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has said the people of Western Province are part of Zambia and has warned that he will not entertain groupings led by Barotse activists to go to State House to discuss the 1964 Barotse Agreement.
He said the matter was a sensitive one that could not be handled carelessly.
Speaking in Mongu yesterday on his first visit to the region since becoming President in January, 2015, President Lungu vowed that he would only discuss the Barotse Agreement with the Barotse Royal Establishment through the Litunga because the BRE was the only legally mandated institution to discuss the matter with the State.
President Lungu said he was aware that some activist groupings had been formed and were pushing him to discuss the Barotse Agreement but he had kept quiet because of the sensitivity of the matter.
He said he had engaged people in Western Province and would not entertain individual groupings pushing for the recognition of the Barotse Agreement.
President Lungu said the 1964 Barotse
Agreement was signed between first republican President Kenneth Kaunda and Sir Mwanawina Lewanika, who was the Litunga at the time. The British government was merely a witness to the agreement.
He said having been elected the sixth President, he had assumed all the liabilities of Dr Kaunda under the law and that he would only be willing to discuss the matter with the current Litunga, Lubosi Imwiko 11.
President Lungu said the Litunga and the BRE were the only recognised institutions that would be allowed to engage him over the matter. He added that any other grouping would not be tolerated.
“I wish to talk about the Barotse Agreement and I will be very brief because I do not want to prejudice what is going to happen in the future. I have deliberately kept quiet because of the sensitivity of the matter.
‘‘The Barotse Agreement was signed between Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the President at the time, and Mwanawina, the Litunga at the time. As successor, I have assumed all the liabilities of Dr Kaunda,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State said he was a lawyer and clearly understood the sensitivity of the matter. He could not want to jeopardise what would happen in the future.
He warned that the groupings and individuals who would want to usurp the authority of the Litunga and the BRE should know that there would be no room in State House for such an agenda.
“This is a sensitive matter but I know that the people of Western Province want to remain part of Zambia under the motto ‘One Zambia, One Nation’,” President Lungu said.