Outgoing President Edgar Lungu has told the people of Western Province that the Barotseland issue will only be discussed between the Barotse Royal Establishment and the Zambian government because they are the only signatories to the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
Lungu has since urged people with issues on the Barotse Agreement of 1964, to engage government through the Barotse Royal Establishment -BRE.
Ironically, the Barotse Royal Establishment that President Lungu is referring to is the one that called for the Barotseland National Council on 26th to 27th March 2012 which resolved to break away from Zambia after they accepted Zambia’s abrogation of the 1964 Agreement.
Speaking when he arrived in Mongu today Wednesday morning, President Lungu lied that the Litunga signed on behalf of the BRE and former President, Kenneth Kaunda signed on behalf of the Zambian government.
The agreement however indicates that the Litunga signed on his behalf and on behalf of the people of Barotseland who were also represented by the then Prime Minister of Barotseland who signed as a witness.
‘This Agreement is made this eighteenth day of May 1964 between Kenneth David Kaunda, Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, on behalf of the government of Northern Rhodesia of the one part and Sir Mwanawina Lewanika the third, K.B.E, Litunga of Barotseland, acting on behalf of himself, his heirs and successors, his Council, and the chiefs and people of Barotseland of the other part,’ reads part of the Agreement.
Under the Barotse governance system, the Litunga and BRE cannot make decisions regarding Barotseland without consulting the people through the Kuta and the Barotseland National Council (BNC).
Lungu’s latest position on the issue is mainly because he has failed to bribe most of the Barotseland activist organisations that have engaged various international bodies to help resolve the issue in a peaceful manner. Lungu had promised to meet the activists and all stake holders last year but suddenly went mute after he was warned by his cabinet not to take that route.
On 30th January last year, a newly elected and elated Zambian President Edgar Lungu made the following pronouncement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the sidelines of the AU summit.
“I will go to Western province (Barotseland) to meet people of Barotseland next week when we get back to Zambia.”
“I will ask the Barotseland activists to show me where the boundaries are and to tell me who the constituencies are so that i could know who was involved and possibly hold a referendum on the issue in the area.”
Lungu was supplied with all the information that he requested the moment he returned from Ethiopia through a letter and was told that his proposal of a referendum did not apply because one party to the agreement (Zambia) abrogated it.
He told PF cadres that welcomed him in Mongu that as a Lawyer, he fully understands what he is talking about concerning the Barotseland issue.
President Lungu explained that he has in the past avoided commenting on the matter because of its sensitivity and further claimed that government; the BRE and Zambians are willing to continue to promote peace and unity in the country.
Lungu’s government has deployed thousands of soldiers in Western Province where they have set up military camps in Kalabo, Lukulu, Sesheke, Mulobezi, Shangombo (Sitoti) and Mongu and has imprisoned some of the Barotseland activist leaders for championing the 2012 BNC resolutions that were signed by the Litunga he is meeting today.