Finally, the much awaited historic 24th October is finally here this week. Allow me space in your wonderful paper to celebrate in a unique way with the readers this very important day.
Since 1964 when Zambia was pronounced independent from the British colonial rule the day has been recurrent yearly, just like any other important anniversary. However, this year the recurrence brings along with it the much thought after Golden Jubilee Celebrations of independence in the minds of most Zambians. Ironically, it connotes the climax of the paradoxical union between Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland dubbed as Zambia on 1964. This union is what I would like to term or phrase as “Freedom of Independence against Freedom of Dependence”. This day this week is very important to both Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland for reasons discussed in this article, much so this time around, in our dear history.
PART I: SABA-SABA PARENTAGE OF INDEPENDENCE
A Reflection on Mbikusita Lewanika, Founding President General of the Northern Rhodesia African Congress and King of Barotseland
Unsung Founding Father
Zambia’s independence history needs to be reviewed to appreciate that it was achieved by ideas and efforts of more than one person, generation and organization. The current situation may be likened to doctoring the Biblical Exodus story by giving all credit to Joshua and none to Moses! This distortion of history is a caustic disservice to honestly well intended nation building. It has done fatal damage to the Zambia project.
Barotseland was the only region of Zambia that had a clear right to establish a regional government and “this right preceded the birth of the Republic of Zambia and is, therefore, not bestowed on Barotseland by Zambia.”
Barotseland had its own challenges prior to the signing of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 (BA64); One group including the Litunga opposed the uniting of the soon-to-be independent country, Zambia, while an elite group of Lozis based in the mining towns of Western province (Present day Copper-belt Province) the hub of the independence struggle who had portfolios in Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP liberation movement, backed their territory’s unity with Northern Rhodesia to form Zambia. This was the genesis of all the problems we have today, the Kuta is no longer organized as it were before. The Zambian government has had a well planned approach to wipe Barotseland from the face of Africa. We thank God that Sir Mwanawina the third was a wise Litunga who could see in the future, today he has been vindicated. The political lapses we have had in Barotseland is not with our Monarch but elite Barotzish close to the Barotse Authority who approached the Litunga with selfish motives to meet their personal gain. I think this time around we will not tolerate persons with selfish egos to mislead the Barotse populace and the Litunga.
My brothers and sisters, in as much as we all seem to have very good ideas aimed at bringing much needed political independence to our beloved Barotseland, we must realize that as long as we keep avoiding facing the reality that we need the civil Barotseland government in place other than the Kuta (traditional government under BRE setup), there will be lack of patriotism and the sense of belonging in our independence struggle. Why do we continue to pretend? Let's face the real reason for the delay in actualizing our independence and do something about it. The BRE is the very institution that would have been leading the independence struggle of Barotseland but for 48 years failed to stand the brutality nature of Zambia until the ordinary people of Barotseland took it upon themselves and pushed for historic BNC in 2012.
I am prompted to express my views and understanding of political philosophy on declaration of independence theory and how the will of the people is cardinal, which wishes, the BRE as an institution frustrated six Months after receiving people’s mandate to implement the 2012 BNC resolutions. These views follow some published suggestions by a group calling itself Bulozi Naha yaluna whose mission statement is not very well known.
Declaring of independence and attaining it however, are quite different.
Sometimes, a state wishing to achieve independence from a dominating power will issue a declaration of independence; the earliest surviving example is Scotland's Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. Barotseland issued her own independence declaration on 27th March, 2012 at the Barotseland National Council, the highest policy making body and was mandated by the Litunga, King and ruler of Barotseland territory.