Thursday, August 11, 2011
THE PARADOX OF BAROTSELAND AND RHODESIAN / ’ZAMBIAN’ ELECTORAL PROCESSES
By Namakando Nalikando-Sinyama
In any society which professes democratic ideals like most African countries do, elections as a process , are a sure manifestation of their desire to be part of an increasing body of nations if they are to commune with the civilised majority in the world.This so called universal suffrage is a means of arriving at their preferred set of leaders who they feel would best represent them and their interests at the highest levels of decision making in their land. The reason I feel some people continue to do this is that they have an unending hope that this exercise will ultimately result in their lot in life being bettered one day in one way or the other. After 47 years of so called independence and 9.4 general elections it can be said with some degree of confidence that indeed some parts of a country called Zambian may have experienced some semblance of development as a direct result of ushering into office of different political administrations.
By writing this piece, am well aware of the amount of stick and even recrimination awaiting me from many a ‘Barotse’ proponents of defeatist integration with Zambia. These as it happens are the very least of my concerns right now. I here write for and to those True Sons and Daughters of Barotseland who know exactly what it means to be a Mulozi and do have precious Barotse blood coursing through their veins. Those who have not succumbed and partaken of the tranquilising chalice of ‘one Zambia one nation’ balderdash! Those who are not too naive and are aware of the real causes of the current levels of poverty in Barotseland.Those who are familiar with the lost grandeur and history of our Brave Great Barotseland.Those who are not scared to address and confront the real underlying causes of our current situation of squalor as a Nation. Those who are ready to search for explanations of the issues at hand no matter how potentially divisive our discoveries and disclosures may be. Those who do not want to sit idly by and wish they could have visited the land of their ancestors to re-connect with their roots and take meaningful investment there. Not those who cannot even speak the Silozi language and have chosen not to make any real effort at reconnecting with their linguistic roots but think and are content with speaking other people’s languages because they reckon this is a status symbol,yes it actually is, of eroded self worth it is.I here speak to all those that are fed up with Barotseland being ridden on and its people being used only to win elections and yes i speak to all those who are pretty much sick and tired of their continued existence as a mere vestigial unwanted appendage clinging onto Zambia. It is to these that i wish to address the following questions.
It is not all together true that we are caught up in a dichotomy of a situation where we are damned if we do and damned if we do not take part in these elections. Ever since Barotseland became part of this entity called Zambia, what visible and tangible examples of development can we truly point to in its length and breadth as having directly come about due to the central government’s effort? Why then should Barotses continue to take part in an electoral process that scarcely ever positively influences them? Why are we 47 years none the wiser and choose to see nothing wrong with it? For how long are we going to be used to make up the numbers for parties to win elections?For how long are we going to find ourselves stuck in reverse gear as a Nation? It really baffles me why on earth would a Mulozi be stuck in meandering queues during this exercise in futility, shoving and pushing, inhaling the pungent body odours (De la Muntus) of the many hydrophobic denizens of this land, all this in the sweltering heat of the mid-day heat like they have nothing better to do? Why would they be so determined to stain their thumbs in permanganate of potassium just to put some inept government in office? Sorry i forgot It is merely their right to vote they are exercising. Agreed but Mohandas Gandhi condemned exactly this form of reckless disease of having rights without responsibility as being one of the 7 sins of the modern world. To what extent have we as Barotses held these people (Central Government and Bashemi baluna a.k.a BRE) responsible for our suffering? Are we living in a country where leader’s performance in office is checked by visible benchmarks of effectiveness and visionary leadership?
What really breaks my heart is that despite the foregoing scenario which is an antithesis of how things should be, many a mulozi still shamelessly takes part in these elections because for some reason they romanticise that development will one day come even to their Barotseland. Was it not that now infamous plagiarist of the theory of relativity Albert Einstein who is credited with this description of foolishness as, “the art of doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different outcome?” The perpetuation of structures of governance through an election should for all intent and purposes have a resultant sense of fulfilment in the people who make it possible for elected officials to exist and discharge their duties. When the societal fabric is held together and development is fostered then the process of elections becomes genuinely justified and must by all means be encouraged and urged onto the citizenry.
Granted,that I do entirely agree with the maxim that, ‘ Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and both for the same reason.’ ~Author Unknown however, I know i will most definitely be misunderstood from this short piece as one advocating for mass Barotse electoral apathy when it comes to Zambian elections. Here is another angle i have just thought about, some with runaway imaginations might even think me a government secret agent who has been engaged to discourage many malozi from participating in especially this year’s elections because they might contribute to the booting out of the current regime on account of their current acrimonious ill feelings towards the perpetrators of murderous crimes against them on Bloody Friday January 14 Th in the year of our Lord 2011. We as malozi are a smart lot and should never and will never be taken for a ride.
Granted ,that we are extremely upset by an evil regime that invaded the holy sanctuary that is the very heart of Barotseland, waged war on our people, slaughtered,maimed and brutalised our brothers and sisters in cold blood. We seriously want to see the backs of these uncaring sadistic people. But if you think for one minute that MCS, the venomous reptilian has all of a sudden developed a conscience and now genuinely has Barotse true interests at heart then you are seriously critically deranged. What exactly is he promising Malozi this time around vis a vis The Barotseland Agreement 1964? Has he vowed and put it in writing and signed a sworn promise in the presence of international lawyers that he is going to constitutionally and unconditionally restore the agreement in its entire original form without modification? If people watched the true opinions of MCS which he harbours on the Barotseland question and which he has disclosed in no uncertain terms during his tenure of office in the chiluba administration, then people would or should have a rethink. The Chiluba administration for the most part was responsible for plotting the worst form of legislative damage inflicted on Barotseland which was meant to weaken it even further and for a lot of other schemes against Barotseland. The issue of Kafue Province and the acrimonious relations thereafter and near all out Mankoya uprising of brother against brother in Kaoma is one example. For how long are we going to find ourselves stuck in reverse gear.
The seed of hatred for Barotseland was planted in the 1st republic watered and fertilised in the 2nd republic but in the 3rd republic we have witnessed the culmination systematic loathing for an ethnic group and its national ideals especially its collective quest for self determination. This administration has really sought to outdo all the others as they have gone further to even kill us in cold blood. May they always know that the National symbol of Barotseland is Loxodonta africanus spp (The African Elephant) and as such we will never ever forget what has been done to us not as long as we live. This brings to mind a musical piece on political social commentary by Brother Silumba when he aptly summed it all up by asserting that, “Anikoni ku ina ni batu ba ba sanilati” which directly translated means ‘i cannot live with people who do not like me.’
The few of you who maybe ardent followers of my online blog and social network site postings will recall that just a few weeks back i was praising an editorial comment i happen to have caught sight of in one of the daily tabloids for its candid and lucid manner the writer had finally addressed the issues of the Barotseland Agreement 1964. However, i will state here that am not in the least ashamed to mention that i read and do read the SUFZ(That is Stand Up For Zambia to the uninitiated ) weekly newspaper especially issue No.00013 of 29th july-4th August,2011and in it on page 10 was a verbatim extract or excerpt of the weekly post issue of December 11-17,1992 where this same person in rather stuck contrast to his recent views on the agreement launched a scathing attack on The Barotseland Agreement 1964 as being at variance with modern political order and called all its proponents as negative conservatists.
The Barotse National Council(By the way, do Zambians know that the Nation being referred to from where this council is constituted is The Nation of Barotseland?) presented our demands to the Zambian government but in a not so a strange or surprising show of intellectual deficiency they need more time to understand a mere three paged document! To do this they have to waste a lot of money and buy time by constituting a team of what they called senior experts to study the document. If the words attributed to His Royal Highness Chief Mwene Kandala were accurate then he is spot on when he says they are flip-flopping on The Barotseland Agreement 1964 without giving their clear position. We are hereby urging the Barotse National Council to go a step further and attach a Mulozi to this Zambian panel to help them understand certain aspects which maybe too legally and intellectually cryptic for them.
We are not in the least happy with our own Royal Establishment because of the half hearted and complicit manner they have chosen to handle matters. I am hereby stating in no uncertain terms that am unanimously behind the stance taken by my activist brothers and sisters in our freedom movement groups of MOREBA,LINYUNGA NDAMBO, BFM et al for constituting an independent commission of inquiry into the butchery and subsequent mysterious deaths of the martyrs of Barotseland during and after The January 14 debacle. Truly this is a date that shall linger in the annuls of infamy. The findings of this inquiry will be tabled by an international body and not Zambian courts, how so reassuring. The establishment literally hang us out to dry and threw us to the ravenous wolves because of their inaction and total lack of clarity on their official stance until it was too late. The joke am hearing doing the rounds is that we are allegedly going about our freedom struggle the wrong way.
For what it is worth, may it be known today that as things stand i have never voted in these Zambian elections and never will either. For as long as blood still flows in this my persecuted body I will never stoop so low as to defile my Barotse dignity and self-esteem by promoting the suppression of my people by a system i help bring into existence. Guess what? As twisted as it may sound am also exercising my right not to vote, is not that amazing? I happen to have better things to do with my time than throw a couple of hours of my life stuck in a queue to vote for Zambians who will never ever bring development to my home village. I could actually be better bending over in my backyard garden to heap up some soil into ridges and plant some sweet potatoes as these will feed my family at least for breakfast. This stance of rejecting the electoral process does not in any way reflect my radical background and conviction as a freemasonic Jehovah’s Witness. It is just me finally coming to grips with the reality of the severely skewed political landscape in Zambia.
What next, you ask, after the above scenario i have presented? May those that still have it in them to vote please be encouraged to go ahead as they probably see what some of us have failed to see in the many years of malozi taking part in Zambian elections. If my views seem to reject all the parties taking part in these elections what then am i offering as an alternative? This is just the point i always try to drum home about, a Mulozi can never have their opinion on any issue be formed by another person’s views. If you think i set out to try and make alot of people follow my stance you could not be far from the truth. We are independent thinkers as Malozi and it is my hope and trust that each one of you in life only does what their inner conviction tells them.
As for the development which Barotseland needs to have with greater urgency, it may have to be brought about by concerted efforts of us ordinary nationals of Barotseland. If we sit back and depend on the usual sources of leadership in matters of development in Barotseland we may waste more time than we already have lost because their so called leadership has ensured we are where we are right now seriously under developed. As Barotseland we seriously need a paradigm shift as we endeavour to analyse and address the perpetual migraine of under development we find ourselves afflicted with. It is gratifying to report that already there are initiatives on the ground that have set out to do just this. Malozi, we cannot fail at this and my humble advise is we must as much as possible try not to fragment and duplicate our efforts. Let us sit down with everyone who seems to have the same idea about how true progress can and should be brought to Barotseland. Only this way will we have a united streamlined front in attacking our common enemy which is gross under development in Barotseland.
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