28th March, 2012
UPND ON THE BAROTSELAND ISSUE
Following media reports that the Barotse National Council has resolved that Barotseland should exist as a separate entity, and breakaway from Zambia. We wish to make the following observations:-
(1) That the PF government should take full responsibility of this action by the Barotse National Council for the following reasons:-
The PF in general and Mr. Sata in particular have gravely mishandled the Barotseland issue by cheating the people of Western Province that once voted he would restore the Barotseland agreement;
Mr. Sata also seriously mishandled the report of the Barotseland Commission of Inquiry into the Mongu shootings when he rubbished the recommendations and displayed surprising reluctance to implement those recommendations;
The PF went ahead to castigate the Commission’s Chairperson Rodger Chongwe in a manner that showed unacceptable levels and disregard, disrespect and rudeness to the people of Western Province and Zambia. The insults by Mr. Sata on the Ngambela of Barotseland showed that PF was never prepared to address the plight of Western Province. This aggravated matters.
(2) The decision by the Barotse National Council has arisen from failure by successive Zambian government to respect the Barotse Agreement coupled with high levels of socio economic neglect and marginalisation of the Province from being one of the most progressed at independence to being the poorest. Surely this is unacceptable.
(3) We demand that Mr. Sata apologises to the people of Barotseland and Zambia and that the PF government quickly opens up dialogue with the concerned people in order to find an amicable, peaceful and long lasting solution to this impasse.
(4) Mr. Sata should immediately return to Zambia to come and resolve this impasse.