BY THE ANALYST
Finally what started as a whisper has come to fruition (that is if President Michael Sata) allows it. Barotseland secession if allowed has grave consequences. Firstly, I will establish one fact that Western Province is not the same as Barotseland.
Many proponents of this fairy tale concept seem to confuse the two using Barotseland and Western province synonymously. The secessionists are so blinded by their selfish and highly tribal declaration of Barotseland as an autonomous state disregarding Nkoyas and Mbundas, who despite being in Western province are stridently against secession or being part of Lozi dominion.
Secondly, the secessionists are so blinded by the pipe dream of getting Copperbelt to be part of Barotseland. Again, they are so blind of the grave consequences of such an unguided and unachievable demand since the mineral rich province has other tribes prominent among them-the Lambas.
Lambas rightly deserve to be given part of the profits from the mine which are found in their region and not Lozis who are geographically miles away from the Copperbelt. I know some people would argue that at one time we had no Copperbelt province because the area was part of Barotseland.
I find this argument to be flawed since from the onset it was a gross affront on Lamba chiefs for the Litunga to include the area he did not even know as belonging to his. There is a mine named after a Lamba chief-Nkana mine. If the area belonged to the Litunga, the mine would have been called Litunga mine.
Thirdly, claiming that Copperbelt belongs to Barotseland is depriving all other Zambian tribes and people of the sole major source of the country’s income since Zambia is still a mono economy. Without copper, there is no Zambia as we know it. On the other hand, without the dubious claim that Copperbelt belongs to Barotseland, the Barotseland Agreement wasn’t going to be selfishly pursued to this stage of secession.
Note that in my article I am not disputing that the Barotseland Agreement was not signed. I am just highlighting the consequences of honouring such an archaic document that has outlived its usefulness and the costs of recognizing the Agreement.
Some people argue that according to the white man’s law, we should honour such an important document. I beg to differ because the boundaries that the white man made are now being hotly challenged. I can lump the Barotseland agreement in this sources of disputes.
The other issues that have to be revisted in the Barotseland Agreement include the Litunga having dominion over several other Zambian tribes who have no tribal or linguistical connections to the Litunga.
The Litunga himself like other Zambian chiefs is so divorced from his subjects some of them who are called ba kwamushitu-commoners. These hapless clique has not benefited from the Agreement bo Litunga made with the imperialists.
I would not dwell much on the economical consequences of Barotseland being an independent nation without the economic gain that come from the mines since I would be noisily silenced by the secessionists who want to determine their future.
Understanding that the Western Province is one of the poorest provinces in Zambia, I feel seceding would have grave consequences on the impoverished region.
The other immediate consequence that has resulted from the calls for Barotseland to be independent is the anti-Lozi sentiments by other non-Lozis who all along have concluded that Lozis are a proud and selfish tribe.
Many Zambians are calling from all Lozis to go to Barotseland since it has been declared ‘independent’ This might turn violent if unchecked.
With these few observations, I feel the declaration of an autonomous Barotseland shouldn’t be celebrated but feared because of the likely consequences.