Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has called on First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda and his then Local Government Minister Sikota Wina to help resolve the impasse surrounding the Barotse Agreement of 1964.
SACCORD Executive Director Lee Habasonda said it was imperative that people who knew the genesis of the agreement come out in the open and explain to the people of Western Province what the agreement was all about.
Mr Habasonda said it was good that most of the people that appended their signatures to the Barotse Agreement were still alive to educate people on the contents of the agreement.
He appealed to Dr Kaunda to offer leadership on the matter by sitting down with the people of Western Province to explain some of the contentious provisions of the agreement for peace to reign in the country.
Speaking during Radio Phoenix’s ‘’Let the People Talk Programme’’ monitored by ZANIS in Lusaka today, Mr Habasonda also appealed to political party leaders to refrain from politicising the agreement with the view to gain political capital from it.
He urged politicians to handle the matter carefully as it was a national issue that affected the entire country, adding that the issue was a delicate matter that needed careful management.
Mr Habasonda also advised Government to hold a conference in Western Province where the people of the region could air their grievances.
And Former Secretary to the Cabinet Skechley Sachika urged Government to quickly resolve the Barotse impasse before it could degenerate into serious conflict.
Dr Sachika said problems in Barotse land had the potential to wreck conflict and disharmony in the nation if not resolved promptly.
He described the issue as a small matter that could easily be resolved as long as people knew what was involved in the agreement.
In July this year, the Barotse Royal Establishment in its submissions to the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) expressed grief that the provisions of the Barotseland Agreement had not been considered in the Draft Constitution and among others proposed to NCC and Government to consider acknowledging the Barotse Agreement to be the instrument by which the unitary State is constituted and outlined a number of articles that BRE was unhappy about.
A cross section of society has since condemned the violence being perpetrated by advocates of the agreement.