By Godwin Kaluwe
This Draft Constitution of Zambia really looks good to me. I like it, especially, Elected Vice president, 50% +1, Diaspora vote, House of Chiefs, Decentralized provincial Assemblies, Legislative reforms, Justice System, Dual citizenship, and Limited presidential powers etc. This is good for the country and will benefit the people. It should have happened 20 years ago.
The various individuals who composed the technical committee that executed and delivered this Master Piece must be commended. This shows how much can be accomplished when there is bipartisanship. I hope the president will not water down this good work as he did with the good work produced by the Chongwe commission of inquiry on the BA64 related issues. The guys who do these tasks really put all their efforts into it, but they are often disappointed in the end by the PF government. For once, I hope the president will keep his mouth shut until the final recommendation has been voted by Parliament.
Unitary State; the only problem with this constitution is that, it declares Zambia as a unitary state without stating the premise upon which such unity is based. Zambia is no longer a unitary state in that the BA64 is not included. What constituted unitary state was in fact the coming together of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia. You could still regard Zambia unitary if you consider the rest of the provinces as states, at least for your own satisfaction in order to seal the Pandora box created by the departure of Barotseland former state. Nevertheless, the fact that Barotseland has moved out of the picture, makes this constitution near perfect. http://miliko.vacau.com/Barotse%20Agreement.pdf
Governance; In essence, if adopted, this constitution will make ruling Zambia easier. Sometimes we force matters thinking things have to go in a certain way. Not true. Barotseland on the other hand will develop faster this time. The separation is indeed a blessing in disguise. Praise God. Change is not always bad. Anyone who has been to Barotseland will understand why the people there have not been happy. If what is in Barotseland represents the rest of Zambia, then we can say Zambian unitary state has been unmanageable. Let us try a little smaller Zambia, without Agreements we have chosen to abrogate and create unnecessary developmental retardation. http://www.barotselandpeacefoundation.org/article/12/self-determination
The people of Zambia should not be confused by those who talk of the railway line as the boundary. The boundaries of Barotseland are clear; just follow the current Western province for the most part. Kafue Hook Bridge has always been the border post into Barotseland on the eastern side, and Livingstone has always been part of Barotseland. It may have been realigned to Southern province in Zambia, but you cannot dispute that Barotseland is in Livingstone. The Lozi village where Dr. Livingstone asked for directions to the ruler of Barotseland in 1855 is still there in Livingstone to this day. It was in Livingstone where the Litunga travelled all the way by Nalikwanda from Lealui on the Zambezi River to meet the King of England in 1947. Livingstone and the Toka-Leya are synonymous with Barotseland, hence “Musi o tunya.” Or “Chunga Lya Mutitima.“ Again dialogue on this matter is very crucial.
The real dialogue will be over copper-belt and Livingstone. Barotseland is willing to let go the copper-belt, but the majority of the people of Livingstone don’t want to remain in Zambia, which can be negotiated peacefully. Otherwise, Barotseland will not force any group of people into submission.
The challenge of the Nkoyas is that the vocal small group which is being influenced by government to push for remaining in Zambia does not represent all Nkoyas in Barotseland, not even Kaoma itself. Nkoyas in Kaoma are a minority. They include some parts of North Western province. If this group takes the matter so personally, when Barotseland is finally free from Zambia, they may as well move to Kasempa and join the rest of the Nkoyas who do not regard Litunga as their King.
The same goes with the Mbundas. Cheke Cha Mbunda movement is commended for their courage and willingness to attend the BNC with constructive submissions. Most of the issues they raised make sense, and can be discussed further to find a way forward. I am sure the independent Barotseland will find it pleasurable and progressive to entertain some kind of democratic reforms commensurate with the 21st century era. Such reforms will empower the local people who really own Barotseland.
On the other hand the Cheke Cha Mbunda movement does not represent the wellbeing of Mbundas in Barotseland only. If this organization pays homage to the Mbunda chief in Angola, and is rallying all Mbundas scattered in the rest of Zambia, such as North Western province, Luapula, and those in Congo, they should know that they cannot influence the resolve of the people of Barotseland which includes the Mbundas who have accepted Litunga’s rulership in Barotseland. We do not want Cheke Cha Mbunda organization to confuse Barotseland Mbundas, who have chosen to settle and integrate. The Mbunda group is one of the 35 native tribes of Barotseland, and are lucky to have been allowed their chiefdom exist for centuries in peace and in partnership without intimidation.
The rest of the surrounding countries that took a piece of Barotseland such as Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe are friends of Barotseland. It was not them who grabbed those parts, the colonial regimes did it. It is not in the best interest of Barotseland to claim those territories and disturb our friendship, unless the people in those areas indicate their desire to join Barotseland through their governments. Then we can always find a way out through dialogue rather than conflict. Barotseland is a peaceful nation. We want to remain so with Zambia.
The Draft Constitution of Zambia: http://zambianconstitution.org/downloads/First%20Draft%20Constitution.pdf
The Author Kaluwe is the Executive Director for Barotseland Peace Foundation (BAPF)