The Barotseland Impasse

Dear Honourable Editor,

I am sorry to worry you once again, but the happenings in Barotseland worried me for a little until I got a briefing last night and this morning, which pointed to another level of impasse – and you’re the only platform for the down-trodden.  I just want to pass a brief comment on this latest Barotseland Impasse.

I am so relieved to hear that the majority of the district Kuta representatives currently assembled at Limulunga, outside Mungu, are solidly rallying behind their Ngambela – the Right Honourable Mr. CW Sinyinda.  This development has given me hope and confirmed the observations I have previously made that the liberation of Barotseland from the unwelcome, foreign occupying force, in the name of Zambia, has now reached a point of no return.  But, as it always happens in every revolution, there will always be some detractors.  However, what detractors normally do is not to change the course of history, but just to delay the inevitable.  This time the detractors clearly underestimated the resolve of the majority of the people of Barotseland to finally reclaim what is truly theirs.  They also underestimated the stage the struggle has reached – i.e. it is now irreversible.

Yesterday, you carried a story that indicated that Mr. Sikota Wina had been fingered as one such detractor.  Well, the story may have made “news” to some people, but for the majority of well-meaning, and better-informed people of Barotseland, this was hardly news.  Mr. Sikota Wina has been a dark horse – a destructive force, in Barotseland since he was born.  You may recall that when he was the Minister of Local Government in 1965 he authored, and introduced in parliament, the legislation that was meant to disempower the Litunga of all his authority and powers.  I am saying “that was meant” because in reality, all the pieces of legislation which the Zambian government introduced about Barotseland are, as far as I can make out, of no effect because Barotseland never if fact became part of Barotseland – for the simple reason that the Barotseland Agreement 1964 has never been put into force.  The matter is already serving at one of the international courts on human rights – and we hope to secure a judgment to this effect very soon.  This will compel the Zambian government to vacate Barotseland immediately.  Besides, what Albert Einstein once said is so true: You cannot solve a problem using the same mindset that you had when you created it.  Mr. Sikota Wina (who is credited for having created this problem in the first place, together with the cronies of his time) can hardly be a source of inspiration in-so-far as finding a solution to the Barotseland impasse is concerned.  Anyone looking in his direction for salvation can only be misguided, at best, and must have lost their minds, at worst.

Thus, all I can say at this point is that the honourable people currently gathered at Limulunga must press for the rejection of the Right Honourable Sinyinda’s letter of resignation, and call him back to pursue his people’s agenda. The Right Honourable Sinyinda is pursuing a legal recourse for the salvation of his people; he is not intending to break any laws – there is no need for that.  As I have said before, this is a matter of law, not war.  The dark days of “small envelopes”, heavily laden with ill-gotten loot, to appease only a small number of ‘significant others’ are now behind us.  The people of Barotseland want nothing short of political and economic freedom – nothing less, but perhaps more.  And this freedom must come in a total package – not in small instalments.

Prof. Sitwala Imenda

November 16, 2012

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