By KASUBA MULENGA
VETERAN politician Sikota Wina has cautioned the people of Western Province not to be cheated by some politicians promising that they will review the Barotseland Agreement if they assume power.
Mr Wina said at a media briefing at his Mimosa farm house in Lusaka on Friday that such politicians are merely attempting to hoodwink the people of Western Province because there is no mention of secession or provision for separate development in the agreement. He said it is unfortunate that most of the people who talk about the agreement have never even read it in its entirety to understand the meaning of its content. “Those championing the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement have no case. I have studied the entire document and I don’t think this country is prepared to start a fresh debate to review it,” he said.
And Mr Wina said he and his wife, Princess Nakatindi, decided to call for a press conference to clear the misunderstanding over the Barotseland Agreement which may threaten national security and retard development if left unchecked. Mr Wina said Government shall ensure that in the discharge of its financial responsibility, Barotseland is treated fairly and equitably in relation to other sections of the country.
“Now it can be noted that in the entire document, there is the continuous reference to Barotseland as an integral part of the Republic of Zambia. There is no mention of secession or provision for separate development,” he said.
Mr Wina said equitable sharing of the national cake has always created divisions even in developed countries but that although Western Province is badly hit by lack of investment, it still receives a fair share of national resources as evidenced by President Banda’s recent commissioning of the multi-billion dollar Mongu-Kalabo and Senanga-Sesheke roads.
He wondered why some disgruntled politicians have continued attacking President Banda when he is working hard to take development to Western Province, just like any other part of the country. Mr Wina said there is no doubt that Patriotic Front president Michael Sata appointed Inonge Wina as his national chairperson in an attempt to ride on the popularity of the Wina name in Western Province.
“This should not hoodwink the Lozi people. As the eldest living son of the late Ngambela Wina (former Prime Minister of Barotseland), I will not allow my father’s name to be abused politically and for dubious purposes,” he said.
And Princess Nakatindi appealed to all peace-loving Zambians not to judge political leaders by their tribes but by the quality of leadership they are offering to the country. “Are they a unifying factor or are they out there just for the sake of power only? Next year, this country is headed for emotional but sober judgement of our leaders,” she said.
She said when President Mwanawasa died, President Banda led the country through a peaceful transition. Princess Nakatindi said when he became President, Mr Banda embarked on an ambitious infrastructure development programme countrywide. “That is your man for the leadership of this country during these trying times when even developed countries such as Britain, America and Greece are faced with serious recessions and job losses,” she said.
The Barotseland Agreement was signed on May 8, 1964 in London between then Northern Rhodesia Prime Minister Kenneth Kaunda and Sir Wina Lewanika III, the Litunga of Barotseland and the British Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, Duncan Sandys. “Whereas it is the wish of the Government of Northern Rhodesia and of the Litunga of Barotseland, his council and the chiefs and people of Barotseland that Northern Rhodesia should proceed to independence as one country and that all its people should be one nation.
“And having regard to the fact that all treaties and other agreements subsisting, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom and the Litunga of Barotseland will terminate when Northern Rhodesia becomes an independent sovereign republic and Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom will thereupon cease to have any responsibility for the Government of Northern Rhodesia and of the Litunga of Barotseland to enter into arrangements concerning the position of Barotseland as part of the Republic of Zambia, to take the place of the treaties and other agreements hitherto subsisting between the Queen and the Litunga of Barotseland,” part of the preamble of the agreement reads.
Mr Wina said the treaties provided that the Lozi King Lewanika had been granted protectorate status by Britain through the Lochner Concession of June 1890, in return for giving Cecil Rhodes’ BSAC monopoly over mining and commercial rights in his territory. He said this monopoly could have been earning BSAC fat royalties up to 1986.
Mr Wina said as Zambia’s independence approached, UNIP, under Dr Kaunda, refused to be troubled by the treaties which were said to cover over 200,000 square miles of territory, extending up to present day Copperbelt Province. He said the Zambian constitution of 1964 had a strong Bill of Rights which provided protection of private ownership and no clause could be changed, except by national referendum which provided for a two-thirds majority of votes cast.
“In the view of the UNIP leadership at the time, we regarded this clause in the constitution as having been enshrined in the constitution to safeguard the mineral royalties the BSA Company had obtained from King Lewanika through the 1890 treaties which could remain in effect until 1986,” he said.
Mr Wina said shortly after independence, a referendum was held on June 17, 1969 which cleared the matter by granting the powers to change the constitution through Parliament. He said this development helped to resolve the issue of mineral royalties and closed the chapter over BSAC, accompanied by the withdrawal of the Litunga’s rights to grant processing licenses and mining leases. And Mr Wina said the Zambian constitution included provisions relating to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of individuals, the judiciary and the public service.
He said all the provisions were meant to have full force and effect in Barotseland and the Zambian Government would accord recognition of the Litunga under customary law of Barotseland.
“The Litunga of Barotseland, acting after consultation with his council, shall be principal local authority for Government and administration of Barotseland,” he said, interpreting the agreement. Mr Wina said under this arrangement, the Litunga was empowered to enact laws for Barotseland in relation to the Litungaship, Barotse Native Authority (Likuta ze Inyani), Barotse native traditional courts, traditional land and customary matters relating to Barotseland.
“Over land, the Litunga shall have the powers hitherto enjoyed by them in respect of land matters under customary law and practice and Barotse native courts jurisdiction over land matters governed by customary law of Barotseland and powers of the Saa-Sikalao Kuta,” he said.
On financial responsibilities, Mr Wina said Government shall have the same general responsibility of providing financial support to Barotseland administration as it does to other parts of the country.
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