By Namakando Nalikando Sinyama, B.Sc Forestry,BAHRM
Kindly allow me to express my views on a critical subject to the very survival of the entity called zambia.
I yearn for a time to come when Barotses every where will realise and agree that their destiny in all matters economic, political and general sense of being are to a great extent inextricably tied to The Barotseland Agreement 1964. This is the document that facilitated the ‘Marriage of Inconvenience’ between Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland to form Zambia. It is thus the only reason or basis for MaLozi to be called Zambians . As every international lawyer worth his gown knows, this is a legally binding international agreement that you will find at the International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands. This document my friends is not illegal or seditious to possess. I would like to state that who ever wants a copy can simply e-mail me and i will most gracious avail it to them. Most zambians comment on this agreement like they do on most other issues from points of utterly shocking and embarrassing ignorance. Most people have inherited a form of passed on hatred and dislike for Lozis and have resorted to calling them selfish without taking time to understand who we are as a people and a Nation. All this stems from the misinformation machinery oiled by the successive Zambian government politicians. This is truly food for thought for those organisations involved in Conflict Prevention or Resolution depending on which one ought to come first.
If The Agreement is abrogated like it has, Barotse proponents for its restoration are pursued, murdered in hotel rooms or mysteriously become rich, or The agreement is cunningly implemented and meticulously left out in explicit terms from constitution formulation processes, Barotses technically are non zambians on this basis. Its no wonder a lot of us do not feel, behave and think like zambians no matter how hard we try. It is indeed sad to note that, either by design or by accident zambians have not been told that without this document, zambia as you know it would not have been born especially with its current borders. What must be realised is that, as Barotseland, we have a National Anthem, a National Flag and a National Dress code what more claims to nationhood can one need. How long are you going to ignore it? The consequences of this strategy are too dire to even begin to imagine .
This is why it was a near shocker to see on the zambian television that a number of utility vehicles are now being donated to departments in Barotseland. Do not get me wrong, any well-meant and respectful donations are appreciated but not what I see happening. People should understand these donations in context. Why are they happening now? Do you know that the NCC is sitting to come up with a constitution and Barotseland has made countless submissions to various constitution review commissions on the Barotse Question. Most have ended up being impounded or labelled as being seditious material. For as long as the Barotseland Question is not conclusively attended to, it will always impose its haunting presence like the proverbial sword of Damocles and remember, ‘No regime can press over the lid of a hot boiling pot forever.’ We have made our demands and no amount of donations will blind Barotses you know us better than that. They have gone further to engage some ‘Tick-nocrats’ to even start literally campaigning on tours to Barotseland and in television documentaries that Barotseland needs development and the land there should be made available for development. We do not need any outsider to tell us we need development. I would like to make a profound statement here, “We are going to develop Barotseland but NEVER the Zambian way!” What we have been raised to understand is Land is power without it life has no worth. We are very wealthy right now because rural Barotselanders will be setting the terms for investing on their Land. When Barotse Think Tanks finalise their assignment on charting the Barotse National Development Plan (BNDP) then we will see the way to develop a nation.
Its is indeed gratifying to note that thanks to The Barotseland Agreement every Barotse, yes, even all those in the Diaspora and who ever has Barotse Blood coursing through their veins, where ever you may be, which ever corner of the globe you maybe applying yourself you have a legitimate claim to your ancestral piece of land in Barotseland, with your name tied to it, waiting for you to develop it as you please! As zambians sale off and give away their large stretches of land to so called investors for 25 or 99 years, ours is, thank God (Nyambe and Nasilele) will be safe for a long time to come. Who ever thought those beautiful and majestically imposing hills/mountains you appreciate when coming into Lusaka from the south would ever be privately owned and fenced off? Who would have ever imagined that Rural Zambians now could even be shot at for trespassing in a foreign owned land within the land of their birth? The Zimbabwe land crisis situation will never happen in Barotseland. We will forever applaud the wisdom of our fore fathers. The Litunga is the custodian of our land on behalf of the Barotse people and this will never ever change.
Lets me put this in a painfully crude way. You may starve us to death in Barotseland because of our current poverty levels but a least our children’s children are, for millennia to come, assured of having a portion of land to be buried on. Even with the existing subtle form of economic blockade imposed on Barotseland, what you must know and live with is that we shall never yield to corporate and institutionalised Land pillage and thuggery.
These matters are cardinal before we can even begin to debate 'Economic development’ as this occurs on the LAND!
Namakando Nalikando Sinyama
Barotseland, Central Africa
“I tell you a truth, liberty is the best of all things, my son, never live under a slavish bond.” – Sir William Wallace’s Uncle