Flashback: What LAZ said on Barotseland Agreement

The binding effect of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 on the government is well articulated by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) as reflected in the Law Report published in the Weekly Post No.73 for the week ending 3rd December 1992, as follows:
‘Barotseland (Western Province) continues to exist within the framework of Zambia if this Agreement is implemented, and what are the implications for other parts of Zambia?
From a historical perspective, Zambia is a creation of colonialism, before colonialism, the land consisted of small chiefdoms.
At that time, King Lewanika of the Lozi was advised by the missionaries and Seretse Khama of Botswana (Bechuanaland) that the colonialists had superior weaponry. So Khama advised Lewanika not to resist colonialists so that he may eventually gain something from them.
This led to negotiations between Lewanika and the British government which ended with what was called Barotseland, the country being a British Protectorate with special status.
So, essentially, what is Zambia today consisted of Barotseland protectorate and the rest of the country.
Towards independence, the British were reminded that by the treaty they had entered into with Lewanika, their primary role was to provide protection to the Protectorate.
This led to negotiations between the Northern Rhodesia Government, the British Government and Barotseland.
The Barotseland Agreement was, therefore, a document which came out to establish what the relationship of the parties within a unified Zambia would be.
When UNIP set out to consolidate its power, it started making laws which were not in accordance with the spirit of the Agreement.
On the issue of what the implications of the Agreement are for other parts of the Zambia, the key thing to appreciate is, it is a legal question and not a political one.
The questions are, therefore, whether or not there was an Agreement, and whether the Agreement has been honoured or breached. If, at all, there was such an Agreement, then it is legally binding and so it must be honoured’’.
Note: The Agreement is now defunct following Zambia’s unilateral abrogation of the treaty in 1969 and the acceptance of that abrogation by the Barotse National Council in March 2012. Zambia has however maintained a heavy presence of defence forces across Barotseland.

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