By Prof. Sitwala Imenda
This is just a short comment on one of the comments I read yesterday, which came as a reaction to an article you carried concerning an announcement and inauguration of a caretaker government for the latest African state – Barotseland. Your article did not actually say whether or not such an announcement had been made – nor did it carry the announcement itself. So, we still do not know the actual truth behind the article.
However, be that as it may, my thoughts are in concurrence with the logic of the contents of your article – in particular, the common sense logic that if an agreement is not put in force, it means that the pre-existing entities remain unchanged. This is what gives the March 27, 2012 declarations of the Barotse National Council (BNC) legitimacy. The BNC was, at the point of signing the Barotseland Agreement 1964 (BA’64), the supreme body of the affairs of Barotseland. Since the Agreement still remains just a paper document that has never been put in force, it is logical to state that it is legitimate for this body to continue to direct the affairs of Barotseland. It is also logical, therefore, to state that Zambia never existed, and that any instruments of governance or administration external to Barotseland – such as police, military personnel, civil servants, and all, are in Barotseland illegally. With this in mind, one then understands why every time the people of Barotseland speak law, the representatives of the fake entity called Zambia, speak war. Since 1964, it has been a matter of law talk by Barotseland versus war talk, from the side of fake Zambia.
One of the comments to your article yesterday said, inter alia, that “… leave these guys who are agitating for this nonsense. Most of these guys are using pons in front, the real architects are sitting comfortably outside of Zambia with their families. When the civil war breaks out they will be safe with their families in foreign countries. Sitwala will be safe in his Pretoria home with his family. The real victims are those in the forefront who do not even know where their boundary is.” Ordinarily, I do not respond to comments in these columns because doing so is like shadow-boxing; you respond to faceless individuals who, when they fail to reason, are not ashamed to throw insults at you incognito. However, the above quotation raises two unfortunate points. The first one is that the person who made this comment trivialises the whole movement pushing for the actualisation of Barotse freedom by referring to it as ‘nonsense’, and blames people living outside the country (ostensibly Sitwala being one of them) as the ones behind what s/he sees as ‘nonsense’. This comment undermines the integrity of many people of Barotseland descent who live locally, by suggesting that they, on their own, are not capable of feeling that the ‘blanket’ they’ve been ‘wearing’ over the years is irrevocably itchy, beyond what the body can tolerate. Certainly, the writer of the comment is ignorant, or is completely unaware, of the many atrocities the fake Zambian government has committed throughout the years against dissenting voices coming from Barotse patriots – manifested in life-long physical, emotional and psychological injuries and scars, arbitrary arrests and torture, unwarranted detentions, deaths, etc.
Also on the first unfortunate point, and for the record, the Sitwala you talk about is in exile. He is blacklisted by Zambian authorities and cannot secure employment in the fake Zambia; he can only work outside the country – all because he has chosen to call a shovel a shovel, and not a big spoon. The plight of the people of Barotseland is a genuine one, and any well-meaning, well-informed and reasonable persons would align themselves with the Barotse people. The fake Zambian government has ‘screwed’ them (excuse the lingo) for 48 years, non-stop, by denying them the freedom to exercise their rights as enshrined in the BA’64 which they willingly signed; and by forcing them to live under a political dispensation they have never acceded to. The Sitwala you refer to in your comment is prepared to argue this case with anyone on any forum in the world and, again for the record, he is not afraid to die for his stand on this matter. He has already traversed the river of fear, and he is sitting on the other side. With fear, you conquer nothing, and on the issue of Barotseland the fear many people have relates to barbaric ways by which the State deals with dissenting voices (as already pointed out); once you conquer the fear of this barbarism, then you’re truly free. That is the point at which you begin to call a shovel a shovel, and you’re not afraid to identify yourself with your writings or comments on the subject.
The second misguided point from the above quoted comment is that civil war is inevitable. [It is strange how people who are on the side of government can call for a civil war, and are not arrested, while, should anyone on the side of Barotseland predict civil war, such a person would be in police cells well before breakfast time]. Anyway, be that as it may, we see the Barotseland matter as a “law matter” not a “war matter”. We shall, therefore, not waste time engaging in war talk, but only in law talk. That is why the fake Zambian government has not won this case since 1964. By deploying police, military personnel and spies, the fake government has failed lamentably because, and for a good reason, we have refrained from sinking so low as to take this “law matter” to the trenches. It does not belong there; it belongs in the courts of law, where we’re sure the fake Zambian government will fall – pants down, I might add. The legal liabilities they’ll have to contend with, after falling and they’re on the ground looking up, are too ghastly to contemplate.
They’ll lose because we gave them a long rope and, instead of using it to tie knots of freedom and development, they hanged themselves with it by putting together a country based on an imaginary political dispensation, ignoring the true foundation stone. Instead of using the BA’64, they mistook the Barotse sand for the foundation stone. Thus, inevitably, a Zambia based on a constitution that does not recognise the BA’64 (the true foundation stone) cannot stand upright for too long – and the time has come for it to fall. It’ll fall in the court of law.
The cracks whish have been manifesting for the past 48 years, to which the fake authorities were totally oblivious while we constantly reminded them, have become so deep and widespread that the weak foundation is about to give way. So, talk of One Zambia: One Nation, which suggests that the two political entities actually merged in terms of the founding treaty, is a heap of rubbish because such a merger legally never took place. A nation built on a falsehood cannot stand. Certainly, in the circumstances, One Zambia, One Rubbish would be more like an accurate reference to the state of affairs.