Wednesday, September 22, 2010




Kusiyo Mbikusita Lewanika


Western Province (Barotseland) is one of the nine provinces of Zambia. The Barotse Kingdom was established as far back as 1600 when the first King Mboo settled in the Barotse Plain. The Kingdom has had thirty-one Queens and Kings since then . The paper will discuss the traditional socioeconomic systems for monitoring wetlands and wetland natural resources as based on the (a) Barotse system of government, (b) Barotse legal system, (c) land tenure, and (d) the social structure of the Lozi people. The paper will also give a brief historical background on Barotseland.


Historical Background

Western Province is one of the nine provinces of the Republic of Zambia. Before Zambia’s independence on 24th October 1964, it was called Barotseland Protectorate. The first known leader was a woman called Mwambwa who was later succeeded by her daughter Mbuyamwambwa. She was succeeded by her son the first Litunga (or King) Mboo Muyunda. The state expanded under his leadership by sending his brothers and other relations to the surrounding areas to establish Lozi rule.
On the advice of his counterpart King Khama of the Mangwato in Bechuanaland and Francois Coillard of the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society, King Lewanika I accepted the British rule so that he would be protected against the impending German and Portuguese invasion and periodic Ndebele raids. On 27th June 1890, King Lewanika I and the British South Africa Company signed the Frank Lochner Treaty. The signing of the Lochner Treaty marked the end of the Lozi autonomy as it now become a British protectorate.
On 18th May 1964, Sir Mwanawina III Litunga of Barotseland and Kenneth Kaunda Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia signed the "Barotseland Agreement 1964" which established Barotseland's position within Zambia in place of the earlier agreement between Barotseland and the British Government. The agreement was based on a long history of close social, economic and political interactions. The Barotseland Agreement granted Barotse authorities and people specified limited local self-governance rights and rights to be consulted on specified matters, including over land, natural resources and local government.

Western Province, present-day Barotsland, covers an area of 126,386 square kilometres. This is roughly 17% of the total area of Zambia, which is about 752,000 square kilometres. The Province is situated between longitudes 22º and the 25º 30’ East of Greenwich and 13º 45’ and 17º 45’ south of the Equator. It shares international boundaries with the Republic of Angola on the west and the Republic of Namibia to the south. Within the Republic of Zambia, the province shares boundaries with North Western Province in the north, Central Province to the northeast and Southern Province on the southeast.

Figure 1. Location of Barotseland
The topographic features of the Province are distinct from other parts of Zambia in that Kalahari Sand and the Zambezi flood plain, which is characterized by seasonal flooding, dominate it. This forces people to move to higher ground (upland) on the edge of the Barotse plain. The Barotse Plain on the upper Zambezi is about 160 kilometres long and 60 kilometres at its widest point and nearly 900 metres above the sea level. The province has altitudes ranging between 1,880 metres in the northeast and 814metres in the southeast.

The population for Western Province increased from 638,756 in 1990 to 782,509 in 2000. The average annual growthrate for the province is 2.1 percent, a decline from 2.8 percent in the previous intercensal period 1980 to 1990. This amounts to a 25 percent decline.

The Barotseland gained a special status under the British Colonial system as a British protectorate. Overall power over land was vested in the Litunga (King), through the Barotse Native Courts Ordinance Act (1939). This was later repealed after Zambia gained its independence bringing the province under the statutory law of the land. However customary laws are still firmly established in the province due to its special status, autonomous history and strongly centralized traditional laws and court system (Gils, 1988). The Barotse Royal Establishment is the custodian of the traditional laws and court system.

Barotse system of government is of five tiers or levels. Starting from the central government to the village level. The structure of the Barotse Government is shown in Figure 2.

The first tier of government is referred to as Namuso (literary the Mother Of Governments.) This is the central government of Barotseland. It has the Litunga as the Head of State and the Ngambela as Prime Minister. The Ngambela is the political, administrative and judicial head of the Barotseland. Second to the Ngambela is the Natamoyo. This title means “Master-of-Life” or “Redeemer”. He has the power of sanctuary or refuge in his person and house. The Ngambela works with other Indunas (Ministers) in-charge of specific sectors such as health, forests, canals, wildlife, etc.
The second tier of government is the regional government of the southern part of Barotseland, which is headed by the Litunga-La-Mboela, which means the Litunga of the South. She has the Sambi as the political, administrative and judicial head of the southern region of Barotseland. The government of Lwambi has it’s own Natamoyo and other Indunas

Barotseland is sub-divided into eleven (11) Chiefdoms each headed by a Chief. A Chief has a team of Indunas to assist him / her in governing the area. This is a tier of government. In each Chiefdom has an Induna as political, administrative and judicial head.

County Administrative Areas
In every Chiefdom there are County Administrative Areas referred as of Lilalo. The Silalo (singular) has an Induna who is its political, administrative and judicial head.

A Silalo has a number of villages (Minzi). Munzi (singular) has an Induna who is its political, administrative and judicial head.

Each level of government has a Kuta. The main responsibility of the Kuta is to carried out political, administrative and judicial functions of each tier of government.

(a) The Sikalu is the Kuta at Namuso. It consists of principal members are Manduna (Ministers), the Likombwa (Kings Aids) and Linabi (members of royal family). The Sikalo mainly deals with Legislation. The head of the Sikalo is the Ngambela. Selected Queen(s) (two or more) of the Litunga have the right to access to the Siikalo at certain times and had the right to discuss matters with the members of the Siikalo. They were to act as a check to any Law or Scheme that might detrimental to the interests of women.

(b) The Saa, like the Sikalu consists of members from the Manduna, Likombwa and Linabi. It also deals with Legislation. The head of the Saa is the Inete.

(c) Each Chiefdom has its own Kuta, which handles all political, administrative and judicial at a local level.

Kuta of Lwambi Sikalu Kuta Saa Kuta Kuta of Libonda

Chiefdom Level Kuta

Figure 2. Barotse Government Structure
Advisory Councils
The Katengo is composed of the Malume (Silalo and Village Indunas). It acts as a check to any proposed law that may be detrimental to the interests of the common people. The Katengo is also consulted when a law is proposed and gives its report to the head of the Saa who reports directly to the Ngambela.
A second advisory council, Anatambumu, is comprised entirely of women chosen by the Litunga and Sikalo from members of the royal family and other Barotse families. These have access to the Litunga at all times and can denounce to him anything that is against the interests of the people, and they can obtain views from the other women.

The main responsibilities of the Barotse Government can be summed up as follows:
• To conserve natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.
• To provide every subject with suitable land for building a home and farming.
• To allow every subject to utilise of the specific natural resources according to laws, rules and regulations pertaining to utilisation of the specific natural resource.
• To distribute previously unallocated land to subjects who are short of land and to newcomers.
• To repossess all land which has been abandoned or for which family heirs cannot be traced.
• To make laws, rules and regulations.
• To prosecute people found to be contravening laws, rules and regulations.
• To adjudicate land disputes and other related cases.

Monitoring of Wetlands and Wetlands Natural Resources
The Litunga in consultation with the Ngambela appoints an Induna to be in-charge of specific natural resources. The Induna would perform the functions. Broadly, these are to:
• advise the Litunga, Chiefs and the citizenry on all issues concerning to specific natural resource.

• perform all the administrative work pertaining to the specific natural resource.

• plan, control and monitor the utilization of the specific natural resource.

• plan, manage and control the cropping of natural resources in terms of place, duration, timing and number of participants.


An elaborate and enforceable Legal System buttressed the traditional social-economic system for natural resource. It was acknowledged by both legal experts and social scientists who have written extensively on it.

Basic Terminology
The Barotse Legal System is based on milao (laws), liswanelo (rights), litukelo (rights of particular position or social status), mikwa (methods or ways of doing things), and mulatu (an offence or wrongdoing). The five cornerstones of the Barotse Legal System have been existence since the beginning of the kingdom. However, most laws were institutionalised during the reign of King Mulambwa in the 18th century. This included laws pertaining to acquisition, use and disposal of natural resources.

• Milao: According to the Barotse Legal System, Milao are legislative rules that need to be followed. These rules touched all aspects of life in Barotseland including the use of natural resources.

• Liswanelo: A body of rights that one enjoys according to gender, age and other situations. This includes access to and utilisation of natural resources. They also include ones responsibilities.

• Litukelo: A body rights that one enjoys according to their position or social status. This includes access to and utilisation of natural resources. They also includes ones responsibilities.

• Mikwa: Accepted methods or ways of doing things. This includes acquisition, use and disposal of natural resources.

• Mulatu: To be found guilty of going against milao, liswanelo, litukelo, and mikwa.

Administration of the Judiciary
The administration of the judiciary in Barotseland is done through Kutas. Kuta is where Indunas and the public meet to look at all matters pertaining to Barotseland be it of administrative or judiciary nature. It is a parliament as well as a court of law. The main business of the Kuta consists mainly in the hearing and settlement of cases and promulgation of Laws and orders for Public Works. There is a Kuta at every level of government. Persons not satisfied with judgment at lower Kutas have the right to appeal to the Siikalo Kuta at Namuso.
• Sikalu Kuta (Supreme Court). At Namuso, the Ngambela, or one next to him in rank during his absence, acts as the Judge and submits judgment to the Litunga for approval. The rest of Indunas acts as assessors. An important member of the Sikalu is the Natamoyo. Natamoyo means “Mother-of-Life” or “Redeemer”. He has the power of sanctuary or refuge in his person and house. He must be a member of the Royal Family, but from a line of female descendants. He sits next to the Ngambela in the Kuta. He can release any offender who is sentenced to any punishment, fine or death if he sees that the sentence is rather heavy for the offence.

• Chiefdom Level Kuta. Every Chiefdom has a Kuta with less powers that the Kuta at Namuso. This Kuta at have powers to settle cases except ones the Kuta consider difficult that are referred to Sikalu. In the Kuta there must be someone to act as Natamoyo.

• Silalo Kuta. Every Silalo has a Kuta with less power than the Chiefdom Kuta. The Kuta at Silalo have powers to settle cases except ones the Silalo Kuta consider difficult which are referred Chiefdom.


Land in Zambia is of two categories: customary and state land. There are two land tenure systems; freehold which has unlimited duration and leasehold which is limited by number of years. The land tenure for customary land is freehold while for state land is leasehold which for 99 years (Hansungule, n.d).
Under leasehold, land is owned by the state while individuals merely rent or hold it as tenants. Secondly, the leaseholder is required by law to pay ground rent to the state for renting the soil or land. The leaseholder cannot sell, transfer or assign any land, before obtaining consent of the President. This is because all the land in Zambia in entrusted to the President on behalf of all Zambia (ibid, n.d).
In the case of freehold (customary land), individuals own the land and their heirs can inherit it. However they cannot sell, transfer or assign any land without the consent of the Kuta. This because all customary land is held in-trust by the Litunga.

Customary Land Management Systems
All the land and natural resources in Barotseland are entrusted to the Litunga. Land in Barotseland is acquired and given through the Litunga. It is for this reason that the Litunga is referred to as the owner of land and cattle (Minya-Mupu-Na-Ngombe ) and the King of the earth (Mbumu-Wa-litunga ). This does not mean that he is entitled to do as he pleases with every piece of land within the boundaries of Bulozi. He is the custodian of the customary land. His rights are clearly defined. Traditionally, Lozi people say that the King is the owner of Bulozi and its trees and his servants and the cattle, the Prime Minister is owner of the Lozi people (Mbumu to minyo Uluyi ni itondo na bika ni ngombe, Ngambela to minyo Aluyi). This saying emphasises the importance of the Litunga as the giver of material wealth and the importance of the Ngambela as the leader of the nation. Once the Litunga gives, the recipient has definite protected rights in what he has received.

Land Ownership Types
There are five basic land ownership types in Barotseland.
• Mubu-Wa-Ngweshi: This land belongs to the Litunga, and is inherited by each Litunga who ascends to the Throne. It is scattered all over Barotseland. Entrusted to the Litunga and /or Litunga’s representative (District Chiefs) for the people of Barotseland, it is from this land Litunga and Chiefs can give land to people who ask for land for it for homesites,, agriculture, or other kinds of development. The land and natural resources found on this land are managed on behalf of the Litunga by Indunas at various levels.

• Mubu-Wa-Luu: District Chiefs and certain Indunas and members of the Royal Family have access to land, which is attached to their positions within the Barotse Royal Establishment. The family members cannot inherit this land, when the current holder of the position dies, resigns or dismissed, the ownership is transferred to successor. The present owner is responsible for the management of this type of land and its natural resources.

• Mubu-Wa-Bana-Ba-Malenaz: Members of the Royal Family hold this land in trust. This is hereditary - passing from generation to generation in the same family membership. However, should be a situation such that there is no one to inherit the lands to the trusteeship reverts to the Litunga. Members of the Royal Family and their Indunas are responsible for the management of this and its natural resources.

• Mubu Wa Lusika: This land belongs to ordinary citizenry of Barotseland. This is hereditary - passing from generation to generation in the same family membership. This type of title is also referred to as Katongo-Ka-Shangwe. Family concerned responsible for the management of this and its natural resources

• Mulalambuwa: This is land that is far from any human settlement. No village or person has claim over it. Any person can acquire this land by following prescribed procedures through the Silalo Induna. The land and natural resources found on this is managed on behalf of the Litunga by Indunas at various levels.

Adjudication of Land Disputes
The main business of the Kuta consists mainly in the hearing and settlement of cases. Many of these cases concern land disputes. Identifying and agreeing on boundaries of the disputed land is a major part of the proceedings of the Kuta. Physical features such as lakes and foot paths mark boundaries.


The Lozi are usually referred to as the plains people. The plains people’s way of living has been greatly influenced by the flooding regime of the Zambezi River. The local people together with their livestock annually move from the wetlands of the Zambezi flood plain to higher upland. This movement is known as Kuomboka (to come out of water). The migration from the plain to high land releases pressure on consumption of natural resources. Periodically public announcements pertaining to cropping of natural resources in a specified area are made. There are three types of cropping: sitindi (fish) sitaka (birds) and lisulo (wild animal). The cropping of natural resources is a controlled activity in terms of place, duration, timing and number of participants.
• Sitindi: Organised public fishing using special spear in specified lagoons and lakes on a selected day.
• Sitaka: Periodically birds in a specified location will be cropped. Only adult birds were killed. It was not allowed to kill nursing birds or its chicks.
• Lisulo: Once in a long whilea hunting expedition will take place in a specified area. During the lisulo only specified animals would be killed. Nursing animals and their young ones were not killed.

From a traditional perspective natural resources in Barotseland were used for home consumption and for the common good of the community. Benefits accrued from natural resource were shared in such a way that the local community had a portion and people in authorities at all levels had their portions too. People in authority distributed part of their portions to the vulnerable that is namukuka (single women), widows and the elderly and contributed to homes, which had visitors. Hence the Siluyana saying, “Kwa lya mbumu kwa mu bika” which means people have a share from the King’s food plate. Some portions were stored for rainy days, needy areas and ceremonies.


The best method of natural resources monitoring is community-based whose main thrust is to ensure that benefits of conservation accrue to the people who are directly involved in the management of natural resources. The traditional systems of natural resources monitoring is such method. The erosion of power of traditional authority in the country and Barotseland in particular is the greatest challenge to traditional systems of natural resources monitoring.
Central government natural resource management systems are seen by local communities as the preserve of a team of civil servants from government ministries. Consequently, local communities became disoriented and abandoned their traditional responsibility which included ensuring that strict observation of the timing of burning of fields, protection of trees and wildlife without permission of traditional authorities, and fair distribution of the benefits of the community’s natural resources.


Barotse Native Government (1956) Orders and Rules

Central Statistical Office, Lusaka, Zambia (2001) Preliminary Report for the 2000 Census of Population and Housing

Gils, H. van et al (1988) Environmental Profiles Western Province, Zambia

IUCN Regional Office for Southern Africa (1995) Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Natural Resources Management in Western Province, Zambia.

Kusiyo Mbikusita Lewanika (2001) The Role of Traditional Rulers in the Management of Natural Resources in Barotseland a paper presented at the Community Workshop On Formation of Community By-Laws.

Manyando Mukela, The Ngambela (Prime Minister), Barotse Royal Establishment (2001) Practices of the Barotse Royal Establishment in the Management of Natural Resources a paper presented at the Community Workshop On Formation of Community By-Laws.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010



Post news Paper,
Rhodes Park,
P/ Bag E352, Lusaka

Dear Sir/Madam

Ref: Editorial Comment and Other Innuendoes Regarding the Barotse Royal Establishment

The Opinions expressed by the Post Newspaper this week regarding the position taken by the Ngambela, on behalf of the people of Barotseland, on the matter of Radio Liseli playing songs in languages other than those indigenous to Barotseland, make sad reading.

Certainly, in making these comment and innuendoes, the Post did not consider the following matters, all of which are already in the public domain:
1. That Barotseland was a sovereign and autonomous nation for centuries before the coming to Africa of Missionaries and later Colonialists;
2. That when the Missionaries and Colonialists arrived in Barotseland, the nation’s sovereignty was acknowledged, recognized and respected, leading to a number of Treaties – including the following:
• The Lochner Concession of June 1890
• The Lawley Concession (Concession A) of June 25, 1898
• The Barotseland – North Western Rhodesia Order-in-Council of 1899
• Concession B of 1900
• Concession Agreement of August 11, 1909
• The Northern Rhodesia Order-in-Council of 1911, which amalgamated North Eastern Rhodesia and Barotseland North-Western Rhodesia into Northern Rhodesia
• The Northern Rhodesia Order in Council of 1924
• The Barotse Fund Ordinance of 1925, in terms of which a special fund was established to finance the running of the Barotseland Government
• The Barotse Native Authority Ordinance and the Barotse Native Courts Ordinance, both of 1936
• A Special Order in Council of 1953
• Sections 57 and 80 of the Northern Rhodesia Order in Council of 1962; and sections 59 and 112 of the Self-Governing Constitution of 1963, which both affirmed and recognized Barotseland as a separate State within Northern Rhodesia; and
• The Zambia Independence Act and the Zambia Independence Order of 1964, which gave recognition to the Barotseland Agreement 1964.

Of particular importance is the point that The Litunga protected himself in all these treaties and agreements by way of the clause that “nothing written in these agreements shall otherwise affect my Constitutional power or authority as Chief of the said Barotse nation.”
1. That the last treaty, i.e. the Barotseland Agreement 1964, was not respected by KK’s government, thereby leaving a legacy, to-date, for subsequent Zambian governments also not to respect it. As such, as everyone knows, the Barotseland issue has been a sensitive matter which has been simmering since the first Republican President (KK) betrayed the people of Barotseland by, in his way of thinking, introducing both new legislation and undertaking constitutional amendments, to revoke the Barotseland Agreement 1964 - thereby preventing the people of Barotseland from continuing with their right to govern themselves, within a unitary Zambia. The legality of what he did cannot stand in an impartial court of law. A Treaty or International Agreement, such as the Barotseland Agreement 1964, is not a matter for one of the signatories to abrogate because the same power that KK had to sign on behalf of the Northern Rhodesia Government was the same power that The Litunga had to sign for his nation - Barotseland. In essence, therefore, if it was legal for KK to abrogate the Agreement, it was also equally legal for The Litunga to abrogate it as well, with the attendant consequence that The Litunga-in-Council would have continued with their business of governing Barotseland as it had done for centuries before. That no Litunga has taken this step up to now is not only a miracle but also a credit to the discipline of the Lozi nation. There is really nothing that I can find to prevent The Litunga from proclaiming the internal self-determination and autonomy of Barotseland, as provided for in the Barotseland Agreement 1964, within a unitary Republic of Zambia.

One would like to emphasize that The Litunga-in-Council are not aware of any other Treaty, other than the Barotseland Agreement 1964, on which they have tendered their signatures, agreeing to how Barotseland is to be administered and governed. So, basically, it would be legally correct and true to say that Barotseland has been administered and governed illegally by the Zambian Government since 1964 (also see Post Bag, July 26, 1998) because there is no Treaty or legally-binding instrument, negotiated with, and dully signed by the legitimate representatives of the people of Barotseland, giving the Zambian government power to carry out day-to-day administrative and/or governance duties over Barotseland. So, basically, the Radio Liseli saga is just a tip of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 iceberg. It is also NOT a new case because starting from the time the Radio station began to broadcast on a trial basis they received many complaints about the linguistic imperialism that they were promoting. I am a Catholic, but I want to pray and glorify God in my language. I am quite convinced that God understands Silozi.

For those that may not know, Silozi is the national language of Barotseland. Malozi are not of one tribe. Malozi are the people of Barotseland – constituted by 37 tribes ( amongst whom are Ma Mbowe, Ma Kwandi, Ma Kwangwa, Ma Subiya, Ma Kwamakoma, Ma Kwamwenyi, Manyengo, Mambukushu, Mayeyi, Mankoya, Maluvale, Mambunda, Machokwe, Maluchazi, Malunda, etc.). Silozi, as a language, together with other national symbols like the Barotseland national anthem, the Barotseland national flag, and others symbolized the sovereignty and autonomy of Barotseland.

1. The Post should also have been aware (because they have, themselves previously reported on these matters) that in order to keep Malozi quiet on the issue of their human, economic and political rights, as enshrined in the Barotseland Agreement 1964, successive Zambian governments have always used very heavy-hand tactics against anyone suspected to be sympathetic to, or having a soft heart for, the Barotseland Agreement 1964. Such heavy-hand tactics have included political detentions and victimization of Malozi (see Times of Zambia, January10, 1997; The Post: August 23, 1998; November 20, 1998; February 25, 1999; February 26, 1999; October 6, 1999; October 15, 1999; Sunday Times: October 24, 1999; Zambia Human Rights Reports of 1998 &1999; National Mirror, August 14-20, 1999; The Monitor: April 23-29, 1999; May 12-18, 2001; Sunday Mail, February 7, 1999 etc.). So basically, Malozi are now in a situation whereby they’re scared to say or do anything around the issue of their human, economic and political rights as enshrined in the Barotseland Agreement 1964. Is there an acceptable way in which they can call for the restoration of their right to internal self-determination, as provided for in the Barotseland Agreement 1964, without incurring the wrath of The Post Newspaper or the authorities? The negation of these rights has been a human catastrophe and a tragedy. We’re happy and proud to be called Zambians, but only if and when the legal instrument (the Barotseland Agreement 1964) which made this possible is also acknowledged, recognized and respected by our fellow Zambians. We, therefore, yearn for, and request not to be provoked because in the end when we react, those responsible for the provocation remain in their comfortable homes sipping tea while we get the shorter end of the stick and suffer serious consequences of intimidation, harassment and detentions (as the above references will bear me out). It is far better to leave us alone for the time-being while we ponder how to get out of this quagmire, than to keep on poking and poking. Alternatively, perhaps The Post is on our side, and is just creating that much needed spark to have us spring to action, together with them, such that we may begin to see the light at the end of this very long 43 year old tunnel. If this were to be so, then we should probably arrange to sit together around a square table and find each other on this matter.

Basically, since 1964, the fundamental issue in the minds of the honourable members of The Litunga-in-Council, has always been, and still is, who is in charge of the day-to-day administration and governance of Barotseland. This means that, unless, and until, the Barotseland Agreement 1964 issue is addressed to the satisfaction of all, some people, such as The Post, will continue to quibble with the symptoms of the bigger issue. As Malozi, we do not express hatred towards other Zambians by calling for the restoration of our human, political and economic rights; we’re just stating our case – by the way, unapologetically. It is not our fault that we’re Malozi - we were born so; it is not our fault that we have the Barotseland Agreement 1964, to safe-guard our human, economic and political rights. This was due to the valour, wisdom and foresight of our fore-bearers. If other Zambians have their own Agreements and Treaties which ought to be recognized and respected, they are also equally free to state their own case – and we shall respect them. But they do not have the right to stop us from stating our own case. Championing the Barotseland Agreement 1964 is not tantamount to instigating secession or to court treason, as many misguided people often resort to thinking. It is basically to acknowledge the human, political and economic rights negotiated by Malozi, at the point of joining other Zambians, before coming together as one country.

The irony of this whole fiasco is that whereas the colonial government acknowledged, recognized and respected the sovereignty and political autonomy of Barotseland, it is fellow Black people, i.e. the Zambian government, that has abrogated the rights and privileges of Malozi to internal self-determination. It appears it has become a curse of Barotseland to be colonized by fellow Black people, when one considers that from the 1830’s to the early 1860’s, Barotseland suffered the same fate at the hands of Masotho. So, basically, Barotseland never lost her sovereignty to the White people (because Barotseland always enjoyed her sovereignty even during colonial times), but has only done so to fellow Black people.

The other issue is that there is no such thing as a “Western Province Agreement or Treaty”. The use of the term “Western Province” to refer to Barotseland was an undemocratic imposition of the KK regime, in line with his other machinations which characterized his communist, brainwashing syndrome - to both distort the borders of Barotseland and to give effect to his treacherous abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement 1964, after he had signed it. So, the use of Western Province in reference to our land has remained a sore insult, which we have had to endure for so long.

Typically, before one reacts to a situation, such as this one, one needs to get to the bottom of the psyche of the person who has made such Opinions. This is not an easy task in a sensitive matter such as this one because most well-meaning Zambians are aware of the above unfortunate history. For over forty years, Barotseland has not been treated fairly by Zambia - culminating in presently being paraded as the poorest part of the Republic of Zambia, despite an abundance of human and natural resources. To run a national newspaper is to have a very powerful forum for communicating ideas. The Post, therefore, has a very powerful instrument of communication to influence the direction of thought in the country. When this is abused, serious consequences may result. Barotseland does not have such a powerful forum to counter their aggression and the pursuance of whatever agenda they want to champion. So, what reasonable forum can we expect to use when they come all out to attack the very foundation of our pride, glory, honour, integrity and our rallying point – the Barotse Royal Establishment and the Litunga-in-Council? Perhaps one needs to fight fire with fire, so we’re asking the same Post Newspaper to allow us space to express our feelings on what they have said. This is a self-defeatist approach, but what else can we do? We’re desperate and disempowered. SinceThe Post parades itself as a democratic, independent newspaper, we hope it can easily allow views opposed to its own to find space in its pages.

Our hope lies with the Mwanawasa Government because now, at very long last and with much tribulation, we have a government that prides itself in respecting the rule of law. It is our hope, therefore, that this government can start a genuine and meaningful process of reviewing the legality of this all-important matter of KK’s abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 – entailing genuine negotiations with the Barotse Royal Establishment and the people of Barotseland on a civilized way forward, instead of continuing to hold on to the cruel illegality and legacy left by KK’s large appetite for absolute power which left Malozi without their fundamental right to internal autonomy in the day-to-day governance of their affairs – as provided for in the Barotseland Agreement 1964, which KK himself signed willingly and with his eyes wide open. This has been a terrible atrocity against Malozi, and we hope our present Government of Laws (the Mwanawasa government) will not condone this human atrocity for much longer.

Prof. Sitwala Namwinji Imenda
Mobile: +27 82 888 3606

January 19, 2007.