Gvt cancels Barotse treaty obligations

All along Government serviced the Barotse Treaty Obligation insofar as meeting the financial obligations of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 goes. A record of funds approved to meet this obligation appeared in the yellow book every year. Suddenly, the MMD government has undertaken to delete such expenditure with impunity. This means that this debt accrued by the Zambian government at independence has now been cancelled by the Zambian government with contempt of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. At independence the Zambian government accrued a debt of over 78.5 million sterling pounds from the then British Protectorate,  Barotseland.

The relationship between the MMD Government and the people of Western province continue to drift apart. As if a snab of failing to see off the Litunga in Leului  was  not enough, an MMD led National Constitutional Conference (NCC) struck off an annual budget appropriation of the Barotse treaty obligation.

This allocation has been in existence from the administration of President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda through out the Dr. Fredrick Chiluba and Dr. Levy Mwanawasa SC riegns. Though to a small degree,  the three presidents took cognisance of the important role played by the Barotseland Agreement 1964 in shaping the boundaries of Zambia as they exist today. On a particular day in may 2009, the NCC agreed to delete part  of the provisions of article 312 which read in part as“…….and all expenditure in connection with the raising of loans on the security of revenues of the former Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia or the Republic and on the service and redemption on debt thereby created”.

The resolution to debate part of article 312 follows a question from a commissioner who asked why residual loans from the former colony were settled and further proposed for a need to have the constitution amended. Another commissioner added that after forty years  there was need to “clean up’ the constitution by removing references to northern Rhodesia. It was at that point that the conference agreed to delete part of the contentious clause. The resolution did not take into account the provisions of the Barotseland Agreement which provides that and reads in part:…..It is the wish of the government of northern Rhodesia and of the Litunga of Barotseland to enter into arrangements concerning the position of Barotseland as part of Zambia to take the place of the treaties and other agreements hitherto subsisting between her majesty the Queen and the litunga of Barotseland”. The treaty further states that: “And 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 nation and that all its people should be one nation”.

The Barotse Times

President Banda at Kuomboka ceremony in Barotseland (Westen province)

President Banda at Kuomboka ceremony in Barotseland (Westen province)

Newspaper reports that The people of Barotseland  therefore, are wondering why such a good gesture of unity, love, and solidarity can be rewarded with hostility, scorn as well as be treated with contempt.

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