Saturday, September 10, 2011
DEAR BAROTSELAND, DO YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND HOW TO ACHIEVE IT?
By Namakando Nalikando-Sinyama
I do sincerely applaud the initiative by Bo Kalaluka Mubiana for creating a Lozi Group on the face book social networking site. This is where we have continued to interact as a people of like mind , spirit and shared cultural norms and origin. However, it is my considered opinion that if there are some Barotses who have recognised the urgency of the moment in as far as Barotseland’scurrent state of being and its future development is concerned, then they may agree with me that we ought to create a separate forum where we strictly discuss these matters in greater detail. Ladies and gentlemen do you realise and sense that we are about ‘To Cross The Rubicon’? A situation where a critical matter is raised and someone else responds in a rather jocular manner about some totally unrelated topic consequently diluting the importance of an earlier subject is worrying. This is drawing us back somewhat and making us seem to have no genuine focus at all. If we want to recount our social escapades and other light subjects they may be committed to a designated forum or blog. The challenge maybe that there are equally vital subjects like language and culture which can be discussed in a very light calm manner without necessarily requiring serious faces. However, when there is ‘solid food’ ,that is, matters of greater import and urgency for serious and focussed grown women and men, then these topics need to be accorded the seriousness they warrant. What I will say with a heavy heart is this that I have realised that when it comes to the issue of Barotseland and its eventual future vis-à-vis its relations with Zambia , we are as a people strongly and intrinsically polarised between two options which will ultimately chart the way forward for our beloved nation of Barotseland. The reality on the ground is such that the divided collective national psyche has resulted in the absence of a true sense of Espirit de corps as we seek to move forward. It is our individual responsibility to pin point how our attitude has shaped our opinion on the issue of Barotseland. Each one of us should seek be find ourselves as we may identify ourselves with one of these attitudinal character traits. Are you as a Mulozi the type I have dubbed BMT (Barotse MuLozi Type;)
BMT1.These are those who are too frustrated with the way Malozi have handled the matters of Barotseland past and present and have since opted to be indifferent or totally uninterested in any efforts aimed at changing the status quo for the better.
BMT2.These are those considering change but have not quite gotten to understand just what they really want or need to do to help out in the effort to improve Barotseland. They have since resorted passivity, if good things come out of the struggle they are more than happy to partake of the fruits but you will never catch them dead getting involved in the front line of the struggle.
BMT3.These have resigned to their fate of being subservient nationals in Zambia,chosen to completely forget or not know their history and potential future. These are totally relying on the crumbs of political and economic power which drop from the higher table of the established Zambian political hegemony. They wallow in the hope that someday even Ma lozi will be accepted, respected and given equal recognition as citizens who can contribute to Zambian politics. They envision a future where even a Mulozi will one day rule Zambia as president! I would not hold my breath if I were them. The amount of poison that has been spewed about malozi has done a lot of damage.
BMT4. These are the fairly younger malozi generation who are probably too young to even care. They have unwittingly drunk their fill from the tranquilising chalice of the ‘one Zambia one nation’ balderdash. They do not know or they have not been told how as Barotses we are so culturally distinct as a people from the rest of zambians. They are actually more at ease even speaking other tribes languages than their own. It is perfectly normal for them to even address their Barotse parent in another language instead of their own. The language spoken at home may not be silozi and this has gone on for some time with no problems. They have been convinced that speaking their language when among other tribes is called tribalism unless they spoke the language that those people would understand, which is their language! As far as these are concerned they do not see anything wrong with living side by side with Zambians as they have made friends, gone to school with them and everything is normal in their naively innocent eyes!
BMT5. These are those that pretty much understand what is at stake and appreciate how something needs to be done but they feel daunted by the scale of what they deem would be a herculean task to achieve. They even seek to justify why we will fail if we tried anything to change Barotseland’s state of being. They proclaim that we have intermarried too much to break away, ,what will become of the many Barotses in other parts of Zambia. What about our economic investments in Zambia? They have always looked and focussed on which side of their bread is buttered.
BMT6. These are those who may not know just what it really means to have precious Barotse blood course through their veins. They may not even speak the Si Lozi language and have not been to Barotseland. They clearly do not see the need to agitate for a better Barotseland as they are fairly comfortable where ever they are. They are obviously oblivious to the conditions of squalor prevailing in Barotseland, so they are not bothered that much and do not consequently see what the whole fuss is about.
BMT7. This is the type that has a genuine interest and willingness to be part of the effort to change Barotseland but has no knowledge of the true history of Barotseland. The records and information of the struggle for self-rule has eluded these. They do however have genuine hunger and zeal to learn more so they can also teach other people. They have not known that Barotseland has a national flag, we have a national anthem and a clearly distinct dress code,these are emblems and symbols of nationhood.
BMT8. These are those that have unfortunately found themselves already too entangled in complicated social enterprises like marriages to non Barotses and they think, rather wrongly, that any efforts at addressing the Barotse question as having potential of splitting their family unit. They feel that just the very mention of the subject suggests they are discriminating against their non -Barotse spouses and children.
BMT9. These are the risk averse type of malozi they are more confident and trusting of the now rather than what is possible. The uncertainty of the future does not interest them and do strongly feel they are more at ease living a more difficult present than investing efforts in a future that could be. They are the laid back sort.
BMT10. These have business interests as one of their major inhibiting factors. They have eked out a decent enough living in Zambia and they see calls for the restoration of Barotseland’s former glory as utopian and an exercise in wishful thinking more than anything else. They have calved out an economic and financial niche for themselves which they find difficult to attain in a New Barotseland. They consider the quest for Barotseland liberation as no more different from the dreams and visions of Shang ri La or El Dorado by someone high on LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) or some other mood altering substance!
BMT11. These are those who are more than happy to sit it out on the fence in a shameful show of non-committal. They are the slow starters but had to involve in issues from the outset. Theirs is a precautionary approach to issues, they wait to see how it all pans out before they can get involved in anything. They wait for others to do the ground work for them so that they only come to do the softer and easier work.
BMT12. These are those Malozi who have a perception that they are being discriminated against within Barotseland. They have always felt less of malozi because there are malozi who have created a very divisive and wrong impression that there are Lozis who are more lozi than others. This is the seed of discord that has weakened us and has been boring away at the very core of our unity as a nation. I am Lozi but am kwangwa just who claims to be Lozi tota? You have even resorted to calling others Ma wiko, ba ngwenjele e.t.c all derogatory terminologies which have not in any way endeared these people to the whole nationalistic ideal. Ko no Malozi muna ni ketululo luli! Outsiders have sought to capitalise on this fact and caused some ethnic group groups in Barotseland to revolt. Enter Kafue Province!
In my mind,Barotseland and its people has two straight forward issues which we need to address with the clarity and urgency they deserve before we grapple with any other. Failure to accept this will leave us and our efforts seeming like we are playing darts blind folded in the dark!
1. Are we seeking the total restoration of Our Great Nation of Barotseland as a free sovereign state, to exist among the community of nations which we have always been prior to that regrettable day on 19th May 1964 when The Barotseland Agreement was signed? Or
2. Are we seeking the existence of Barotseland as a state that joined with Northern Rhodesia in 1964 to form Zambia? This existence being defined by the dictates of the clauses enshrined in the Barotseland Agreement 1964. The implication of this is that we are merely agitating for equal development being accorded to us as it is with other parts of Zambia. In this scenario we are declaring that we are Zambians and wish to fully integrate as long as the Agreement which sought to make us Zambians is restored and honoured in totality.I need to spell it out here you would technically be wanting to leave with Rhodesians, with the full implication that this existence will entail on theMu Lozi way of Life! This is why am always baffled by some Ma Lozi who otherwise should know better but go about literally idolising Kaunda for some strange reason. Just what is your measure of greatness? Do you not know that;
“In 1965 October President Kaunda signed the order bringing into force the Local Government Act No. 69 of 1965. This Act had the effect of taking away the privileges and rights of the Litunga of Barotseland contrary to the provisions of the Barotseland Agreement 1964. Thus the beginning of an unlawful and spiteful orgy of legislating against his constitutional obligations under which Her Majesty’s Government had granted independence to Zambia.
“In 1969August President Kaunda unilaterally without consultation in his despotic style of governance announced that Barotseland would thereafter be called Western Province in a speech entitled “I wish to inform the nation”
October Government of Zambia introduced and passed the Constitution Amendment Act No 36 of 1969 in parliament to cancel the “Barotseland Agreement of 1964” and abolish all rights, obligation and liabilities attached to the agreement. It stated that the Agreement shall on and after the commencement of the constitution amendment Act No 5 of 1969 cease to have effect, and all rights (whether vested or otherwise), liabilities and obligations there under shall thereafter lapse.”
1969-1970 Government of Zambia passed the Western Province (Land and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act No. 47 which had the effect of stripping the Litunga of his powers over land in the province. It vested all land in Barotseland in the President of Zambia as a Reserve within the meaning of and under the Zambia (State lands and Reserves) Orders 1928 -1964.
And this Kaunda happens to be your hero? Bravo!!
Here is a quotable quote from yours truly,
“What Zambians do not seem to realise is that Restoring Barotseland Agreement 1964 is for us a means to the end and refusal to restore is actually justification of the end in itself!” – Namakando Nalikando-Sinyama
You will clearly realise from the above that in order to elicit views and opinions from Malozi it would ultimately call for a nearly prohibitively expensive National wide Barotseland referendum on what we should decide on as a people. When this is clear and done there should be no turning back. The Barotseland Question would be silenced forever by our own decision through popular opinion not Zambian guns! We are as Barotseland critically challenged in that we suffer from a serious lack of sensitisation among ourselves. We need to share more information on and about our nation. The Zambians have systematically expunged information of Barotseland from the curriculum and the educational syllabi in grade school. It is no wonder then that we are raising Barotse children with low self-esteem because they are totally ignorant of who they are and where they come from and what they are made of. A very important tool in the information dissemination initiative is community radio stations. This unfortunately becomes difficult in a country where the broadcasting rights are tightly controlled by the central government. Even when they are opened the content is closely censored and monitored for political correctness. These stations are whimsically shut down when the material talked about there on them does not conform to the party line or the management team does not tow the party ideology.
This ladies and gentlemen is my submission.
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