President Banda statement on Barotseland agreement

President Banda statement on Barotseland agreement

President Banda (in red) with the Litunga in foreign military attire

I WISH TO BRIEF THE NATION ON THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT OF 1964 AND THE ON-GOING DIALOGUE BETWEEN MY GOVERNMENT AND THE BAROTSE ROYAL ESTABLISHMENT.

YOU WILL RECALL THAT SINCE THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT OF 1969, WHICH REVOKED THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT OF 1964, VARIOUS REPRESENTATIONS HAVE MADE TO GOVERNMENT TO REVIST THE MATTER.

REPRESENTATIONS WERE MADE DURING THE TENURE OF OFFICE OF PRESIDENT DR. KENNETH DAVID KAUNDA, LATE PRESIDENT DR. FREDERICK JACOB TITUS CHILUBA, LATE PRESIDENT DR. LEVY PATRICK MWANAWASA, SC AND MORE RECENTLY MYSELF.

WE ARE ALL AWARE THAT THE ISSUE OF THE RESTORATION OF THE BAROTSE AGREEMENT 1964 HAS IN THE LAST FEW MONTHS RECEIVED WIDE AND INTENSE PUBLIC ATTENTION.

REGRETTABLY, THE AGITATION FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE AGREEMENT CULMINATED IN UGLY AND VIOLENT CIVIL DISTURBANCES THAT OCCURRED IN MONGU SOME TIME IN JANUARY THIS YEAR.

I MUST HASTEN TO STATE THAT MY GOVERNMENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN READY TO RECEIVE AND CONSIDER REPRESENTATIONS ON ALL ISSUES OF NATIONAL CONCERN, INCLUDING THE ISSUE OF THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT.

I WAS, THEREFORE, DEEPLY TROUBLED WHEN SOME MEMBERS OF OUR SOCIETY RESORTED TO UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOUR.

FURTHER, IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT INSPITE OF WHAT TRANSPIRED EARLY THIS YEAR, SOME POLITICIANS HAVE CONTINUED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE AND TRIED TO HOODWINK THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN PROVINCE INTO BELIEVING THAT THIS MATTER OF THE RESTORATION OF THE BAROTSE AGREEMENT OF 1964 CAN BE RESOLVED OVERNIGHT.  THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

AS A PEACEFUL AND UNITED NATION, WE HAVE NEVER AND SHOULD NEVER RESORT TO CIVIL UNREST TO RESOLVE OUR DIFFERENCES. AS A NATION, WE HAVE ALWAYS USED DIALOGUE AS A MEANS OF ACHIEVING CONSENSUS.

I WAS, THEREFORE, PLEASED THAT IN THE SPIRIT OF ENGAGING IN MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE, ON 10TH FEBRUARY 2011, I RECEIVED A DELEGATION FROM  HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE LITUNGA, LED BY SENIOR CHIEF INYAMBO YETA.

THE DELEGATION PRESENTED TO ME THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL WHICH MET IN JANUARY 2011 IN MONGU TO SPECIFICALLY DISCUSS THE ISSUE OF THE RESTORATION OF THE BAROTSE AGREEMENT OF 1964 AND OTHER MATTERS INCIDENTAL THERETO.

I WISH TO INFORM THE NATION THAT THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL ARE VERY DETAILED AND COMPREHENSIVE.

FURTHER, THE RESOLUTIONS RAISE A NUMBER OF FUNDAMENTAL CHALLENGES THAT AFFECT THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN PROVINCE.

IN THIS REGARD, LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO COMMEND THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR EMPHASISING THE FACT THAT IT IS NOT SECESSION FROM THE REST OF ZAMBIA WHICH IS BEING ADVOCATED.

THIS POSITION CLEARLY SHOWS THAT THE BAROTSE ROYAL ESTABLISHMENT AND THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL ARE IN FAVOUR OF A UNITARY STATE OF ZAMBIA.

I WISH TO INFORM THE NATION THAT FOLLOWING THE PRESENTATION OF THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS, I IMMEDIATELY DIRECTED THE SECRETARY TO THE CABINET TO CONSTITUTE A TEAM OF SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO STUDY THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL SO THAT IN DUE COURSE, GOVERNMENT CAN ADEQUATELY RESPOND TO THESE RESOLUTIONS.

I AM HAPPY TO INFORM THE NATION THAT THE TEAM OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAS MADE GOOD PROGRESS IN ITS WORK. I EXPECT THE TEAM TO CONCLUDE ITS WORK IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

PLEASE LET ME ADD THAT IN THE HISTORY OF THE GOVERNMENT TRYING TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE OF THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT OF 1964, MY GOVERNMENT HAS CLOSELY CONSULTED THE BAROTSE ROYAL ESTABLISHMENT AND BRIEFED THE ESTABLISHMENT ON WHAT ACTIONS GOVERNMENT IS CURRENTLY UNDERTAKING TO DEAL WITH THE VARIED AND COMPLEX ISSUES COVERED BY THE RESOLUTIONS OF THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL.

IN A NUTSHELL, GOVERNMENT IS ACTIVELY DEALING WITH THE BAROTSELAND ISSUE.  IT IS, THEREFORE, MY SINCERE HOPE THAT THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN PROVINCE AND ZAMBIA WILL APPRECIATE THE EFFORTS THAT MY GOVERNMENT IS MAKING ON THIS MATTER.

I WISH TO STATE CATEGORICALLY THAT MY GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THE PLEAS FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE FROM THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN PROVINCE ARE GENUINE AND NEED OUR ATTENTION.

I MUST, HOWEVER, HASTEN TO EMPHASISE THAT SIMILAR PLEAS AND COMPLAINTS HAVE ALSO BEEN RECEIVED AND HEARD FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.

GIVEN WHAT I HAVE EARLIER STATED, IT IS MY EXPECTATION THAT GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE ABLE TO COME UP WITH A PRACTICAL ROADMAP ON HOW TO RESOLVE THE ISSUES RAISED BY THE BAROTSE NATIONAL COUNCIL.

CONSEQUENTLY, I EARNESTLY AND PASSIONATELY APPEAL TO ALL THE PEOPLE OF WESTERN PROVINCE TO GIVE MY GOVERNMENT A CHANCE TO RESOLVE THIS VERY COMPLEX MATTER.

LET ME CONCLUDE BY SAYING THAT OUR DIALOGUE WITH THE BAROTSE ROYAL ESTABLISHMENT HAS CONTINUED EVEN AFTER THE PRESENTATION OF THE RESOLUTIONS FOR PURPOSES OF SEEKING CLARITY ON VARIOUS ISSUES SO THAT THIS MATTER IS CONCLUDED IN A MANNER THAT IS REALISTIC AND SATISFACTORY TO ALL CONCERNED PARTIES.

ISSUED BY:

DICKSON JERE

SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT

PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

 

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