In a letter dated o5th December, 2012, The Linyungandambo of Barotseland filed a formal complaint to Southern African Development Community, SADC, over President Michael Sata of Zambia’s recent order to kill Barotseland citizens in a speech he gave at the SADC region Defense Command graduation ceremony. While delivering his speech at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, President Sata instructed Zambia’s Army commander Lt. General Erick Chimense to ferry troops to Western Province (Barotseland) and sort out a group called Barotse Liberation Army (BLA).
05th December, 2012
Dr Tamaz Augusto Salmao
The Secretary General
P. O. Box 0095
Gaborone – Botswana
REF: PRESIDENT SATA ADDRESS TO A SADC MILITARY PARADE ON 29/11/12
Reference is made to the above subject matter, about the statement attributed to the Zambian Head of State Mr Michael Chilufya Sata during the graduation ceremony for SADC Regional Defence Command at Lusaka’s Mulungushi International Conference Centre.
We are dismayed to see a head of state addressing a SADC multi-national Military with such uncouth statement directing them to go to Lukulu and shoot the Barotseland Nationals on site. This surmounts to ethnic cleansing and genocide as it was the case of Rwanda. We say so because he has quoted Silozi words such as “Fa and Eni sha”.
To put you in the right perspective, we will quote what he said. “In Lukulu (Western Province) people have formed a group called Barotse Liberation Army they are recruiting people as of today, I am aware that they have recruited 276 people. They are recruiting former Army Officers, Police Officers and former Poachers. They want to rise against us and we have to be prepared. And you Army Commander, I have told you before that I need troop carrier planes because how can I transport troops to Lukulu. When you go there just shoot when they say “Fa”, you fire when they say “Eni sha”, just fire at them. Do not hesitate “end of quote.
We are surprised to hear those words coming from the head of state addressing a multi – national army graduates. Meaning the army commander must mobilize resources and send graduates to Lukulu in Barotseland to put in practice what they have been learning whilst in training. Our understanding is that all SADC head of state have approved his speech and that he has declared war on Barotseland nationals; but you as SADC have opted to remain silent over the same issue. To us this statement is tantamount to a declaration of war against Barotseland, to wipe us from the face of SADC as Barotzis. This is so because we had declared ourselves independent from Zambia based on the resolutions of the Barotse National Council held at Limulunga Royal Village on 26 – 27th March, 2012 which were sent to you for your information.
Your Secretariat was informed over the state of affairs; the African Union, United Nations and the Zambian were also informed as well. Your silent over this matter baffles us; to us this is an eloquent denial of Barotseland’s right to self – determination.
According to the International Conversions “UN Charter on Human Rights Resolution number 545 (VI) Part 1of Article 1 says as follows:
1. “All people shall have the right of self – determination by virtue of their right. They freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural developments”
2. African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which was adopted on the 18th Conference of Heads of States and government in Nairobi Kenya on 27th June 1981 which entered into force on 21st October, 1986 Article 20 which states:
“All people have the right to existence; they shall have unquestionable and inalienable rights to self – determination. They shall freely determine their political status and shall pursue their economic and social development according to the policy they have freely chosen.”
3. “All people shall have the right to the assistance of the states’ parties to the present Charter in their liberation struggle against foreign domination be it political, economic or cultural.”
Please note that the Zambian Occupier government did not take into consideration the UN convention on the law of treaties which states:
“A part may not evoke the provisions of the internal laws as justification for its failure to perform a treaty of Article 27. The Zambian Government did not as well consider the UN conventions which states as follows: “the material breach of a bilateral treaty by one of the parties, entitles the other to evoke the breach as ground for termination of the treaty or suspending its operations in whole or in part. Cf Article 60.”
Every treaty in force “is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith” cf Article 26.
What created the state of Zambia was the union of Barotseland and Northern Rhodesia. But the Zambian government used domestic law to abrogate the agreement:
“The provisions of the domestic law shall not prejudice the provisions of the bilateral treaty, conversion or agreement which are already in force.”
- We appeal to SADC to act in accordance with the international law, if colonialist Zambia plans to commit crime and genocide ethnic cleansing against Barotseland. Zambia using the international law, treaties and conversions has no bona fide claim of right on Barotseland, since we are a nation of our own. We demand our right sovereignty taking into consideration our right to self – determination as a people.
- We are not begging Barotseland from the colonizers. We rely on international law, viz postli-minuim which deals with how a territory, people and property revert to their original status.
- So, as far as we are concerned, we are not of the ideal of fighting illegal immigrants Zambians. But will mobilize ourselves and defend our heritage should need arise.
- The behaviour of Zambia to destabilize Barotse will spill beyond Barotseland boundaries to neighbouring countries. And this will have a ripple effect in the region which will scare away investors’ confidence.
- We don’t want to be like the great lakes area. Therefore we seek your timely intervention using diplomacy before any bloodshed. Prevention is better than cure, and remember peace is priceless and must be guarded at all costs. There is nothing that Zambia can lay claim to Barotseland; the union was incomplete without the union constitution even when Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was in force.
We have all what it takes to make and govern our own state.
If the position of all the SADC Head of States is to jeopardize Barotseland’s independence from the Zambian military hand, then it is unfortunate, because Mr Michael Chilufya Sata’s statement points out to genocide.
Your silence as SADC over the issue of Barotseland since March 2012 confirms Mr Michael Chilufya Sata’s actions.
Now we are preparing to defend ourselves from the Zambian forces, and this may destabilize the whole SADC, and we can’t afford to keep quite when we are attacked by foreign forces, but we shall use the available means to defend ourselves; since Barotseland is an independent and sovereign state with its own legal rights, we have a right to recruit and have our own army.
Your urgent attention will be highly appreciated.
- Charles Mubita – Publicity Secretary, Linyungandambo
- Regina Mwiya – Linyungandambo