Grant the Barotseland Agreement and stop fooling around
By Austin Mbozi
President Sata must just grant the 1964 Barotseland Agreement, otherwise Zambians and the international community must hold him responsible for any consequences that may result in failure to implement it.
When I warned that his creation of a Muchinga province would further inspire the Barotse activists and the Nkoya demands for a Kafue Province Sata’s minions called me all sorts of names. What is the result now? Sata is embroiledin the web of deceit which he knitted around himself, failing to get out. He could fool PF cadres to vote for him. But he will not fool the Barotse activists. As I said before, their promise to vote for him was strategic; it forced him to promise the Barotseland Agreement. And that promise has now weakened his strength against their demands.
Sata’s lied: Barotseland had special autonomy during the Federation.
The lie he made as quoted by The Post Newspaper (29/12/11) when he met the Barotseland leaders at State House was follows: ‘Seventy –four –year-old President Sata recalled that although Barotseland was a protectorate within a protectorate, , when the federal government was formed in 1953, the region was treated no differently from other provinces’.
Lie! Just months before the British House of Commons approved the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in March 1953, the British government policy was that all the four (not three) governments involved in this Federation must also approve its formation. These were (i), white dominated Northern Rhodesia Legislative Council , (ii), white dominated Nyasaland Legislative Council , (iii) Southern Rhodesia population through an all-white referendum and (iv) and emphasis is on this , the Barotse Native Government!
Since by this policy, the Federation would hardly proceed without the consent of the Barotse Government, Colonial Secretary Henry Hopkinson flew to Lealui to assure the Barotse National Council that their special status would be protected by the change of the name of Barotse Province to Barotseland Protectorate and the Provincial Commissioner becoming the Resident Commissioner. Of course, the Governor of Northern Rhodesia, Gilbert Rennie , was not happy with Lozi demands for special status. But he had no choice but to follow British colonial policy. He assured the Bulozi that their jurisdiction of the Nalolo and Lealui kuta would be extended and that the Litunga would not be interfered with by the federal government in appointing or dismissing his Indunas. In April 1953, he flew to Limulunga, addressed more assuring public meetings and conferred with the Litunga Mwanawina. Subsequently, in the 1953 British Government’s Order-In Council, the special status of Bulozi was once again recognized.
So as a policy, the Barotse Native Government had special status. It was not ‘just like any other province’ as Sata lied. If there was no special status for Bulozi why would the colonial Government seek Lewanika’s approval for federation and not the approval of any other Zambian chief like chief Monze or chief Chitimukulu ?
Those doubting my history should get any history book they wish and disapprove what I have just given. Even Sata must be specific; can he name any federal ruler who said Barotseland was like any other province? And in any case, the Federation rulers were not the legitimate colonial masters. Whatever their deeds had no international recognition!
Sata’s lie number two: the post- federation colonial masters did not treat Barotseland like any other province.
Let us quote Sata as quoted by The Post again: ‘ When they went to negotiate for independence, the negotiators from Barotse Royal Establishment wanted independence, (but) the British told them , ‘yes, if you want independence , how are you going to survive? You are just a province like all other provinces in Northern Rhodesia. Therefore, what we would like to plead is with the Northern Rhodesia Government or the new Zambian Government to give you the same autonomy’.
So what does the above quotation mean? The ‘Zambian Government to give you the same autonomy’ as whom? As Eastern Province? Then why was there no Agreement like the Barotseland one in the other provinces if all were to enjoy the same autonomy? And why did Sata promise to fulfill the Barotseland Agreement which gives special status to the region if at all he thought there is nothing special about Barotseland? Just what does the man we have in statehouse believe in, if anything at all? Even if you want to deceive can’t you do it more intelligently? His utterances are annoyed the activists further. If Sata thinks modern presidencies are as enjoyed as Kaunda’s for whom he organized market women to dance for, he is in for a rude shock. Modern presidencies are for the most addicted readers and thinkers, not those who open their mouths and just talking ‘chi talking talking’.
As I keep saying Sata must delegate administrative responsibility to Given Lubinda or Guy Scott and simply enjoy the comfort of State House before he confuses everybody in the country.
Sata refuses to compensate Barotse activists: another act of deception
We quote Sata from The Post again: ‘ Some of you (pardoned activists) are saying we want compensation. To be compensated for what? And if you want to be compensated ask Roger Chongwe who was your lawyer to prepare a case for compensation. (But) I will also ask you to compensate me (government) for what you damaged…’
Now analyze for yourself the above quotation. ‘ To be compensated for what’ (Sata meant: I refuse to compensate you)….’Ask Roger Chongwe who was your lawyer to prepare a case for compensation’ (Sata meant: follow the right legal procedure for the claims) …. ‘But I will also ask you to compensate me’ (Sata then means: its 50-50. If you force me to pay you using the correct legal channel you will refund me the same amount by paying me what you destroyed. Ultimately, you won’t go to Mongu with any cash!).
Now, you have seen where he began knitting the web of deceit which he can’t come out from? Four days after elections, he wanted to appear to be a hero, a man of action. Yet his actions appeared thoughtless ones. Without proper planning or consulting the legal advisors available to him through our taxes, he went about releasing the Barotse detainees using wrong legal terminology, pardon. In legal sense, you cannot pardon a suspect who has not been convicted. That is interference into the judicial process. If presidents were to be allowed to pardon at that stage they would pardon any suspected thief who happens to be their cadres, relatives or friends. If the State and the public felt that the Barotse activists were arrested for wrong reasons, the state was better off releasing them by any of the two options. Entering a clever nolle prosequi ( suspend the case unless further evidence if found) would have been more clever, because anytime the Barotse activists demanded compensation the state would argue that the case is not closed and it might be brought back to court anytime. This would have gone on till they forget about it! Another option would be to discontinue that case, but this can mean compensating them.
The Barotse activists are no fools. They have interpreted Sata’s ‘pardon’ before conviction to mean ‘discontinue’ the case, hence their demand for compensation! And am I not vindicated now? I said in the first article that Sata was wasting funds while witch-hunting to find out which police officer’s bullet hit the Barotse activists. He and his minions thought it would directly implicate Rupiah Banda. To date nothing. I personally think Rupiah Banda should have allowed that Mongu meeting to go ahead. But to suggest that he personally ordered the shooting when he actually showed remorse for the shooting and advised police officers not to use live bullets in future is foolish. Sata should just have compensated the activists whom he released using the same money which he was wasting to feed Rodger Chongwe (around K2.6 million per sitting) to go not only to Mongu but to Livingstone and Lusaka to find out who told the police officers to shoot protestors. Then a Commission, headed by somebody else not their lawyer Chongwe, should have gone there to collect views on the implementation of the Barotseland Agreement. But as things stand, another Commission might be required to find out how to implement the Barotseland Agreement! More funds wasted!
President Sata must really be embarrassing his lawyers? So what record is appearing at the DPP’s office? Was the DPP’s office forced to amend his use of the word ‘pardon’ to mean a nolle prosequi? Recall I warned that Dr Malama’s good professional background would be spoiled by a failed colonial police constable, Sata? Look at how he ridiculed him in public and then force him to send cops to Western Province without being clear who to arrest and for what?
The DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions), as the ‘complainant’ on behalf of the state, should have been the one to work out modalities of releasing those detainees, not Sata. Article 56 (3), (a) of the republican constitution reads that the DPP shall have power” to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court … .’. and then sub-section (3) , (c) gives him power ‘ to discontinue, at any stage before judgment is delivered, any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by himself or any other person or authority’. Then sub-section (7) prevents people like Sata from interfering with the work of the DPP. It reads ‘In the exercise of the powers conferred on him by this Article, the Director of Public Prosecutions shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority’ (It will be definitely interesting to watch how the new DPP Mutembo Nchito will keep at bay the King Cobra Sata who has a tendency to ignore laws.)
Kafue Province? Sata Promises to listen to the Nkoya
Sata’s promise in the same meeting, that he will listen to the Nkoya is vague and a time-wasting statement. He should have listened to the grievance before declaring that he would grant the Barotse Agreement within 90 days. The Nkoya demands are clear. Some Nkoya and/or Kaoma district residents want to be part of the Barotseland Agreement. Another group vows not be part of the Barotseland Agreement and demand a Kafue Province (After all as seen for Muchinga ‘only a Michael’ showed us provinces are made within a matter of weeks!) . I will later write a detailed account of the Nkoya-Lozi source of conflict. For now the NKoya already respect that there are differences among them. So they propose that the only way to tell what the majority of Nkoyas want is to conduct a referendum involving only the Nkoya. And then Nkoya as a whole would be bound by the majority decision. So if Sata does not agree with the referendum idea he should propose alternatives, not making meanwhile statements like ‘we shall continue to dialogue’…, ‘this (State House) is your home’. Dialogue what when you already promised the Agreement? And Come one! The Lozi never stood for the Zambian Republican Presidency. So they don’t want Sata’s State House to be their home! They want the Limulunga palace to be there home!
From the look of things, the activists must watch their lawyer Roger Chongwe carefully. If he appears to be frustrating their cause to appease Sata, they should ‘fire’ him and find another lawyer. Rodger’s flirting with Sata is not impressive. He openly campaigned for Sata through the media during the elections, and then agrees to head a Commission of Inquiry on Barotse shootings instead of refusing as an interested party. Now he is also being appointed by the same Sata to sit on the questionable ‘Constitutional Experts’ group! Can this man stand against the government of Sata on behalf of the Barotse activists?
Click 1,2, 3,4 under editor’s note to read old articles