Rodger M.A. Chongwe, S.C. comments on issues regarding law, international Human Rights and Democracy.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
TheBarotselandAgreement of 18th May 1964
In an effort to bring the King of Barotseland to the table and facilitate the fusion of the Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia with the protectorate of Barotseland to form Zambia the colonial power through the colonial secretary Sir Duncan Sandys crafted an agreement which was sold to the Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia and Sir Mwanawina Lewanika of Barotseland. This was during the last stages of the constitutional conference at Malborough House inLondon. It would appear few of the delegates at this conference claim to be aware of this side meeting, which was taking place simultaneously with the main conference.
The representatives of the Barotseland Protectorate argued with the colonial power regarding their own treaty with the British Government that led to the creation of the Protectorate of Barotseland. The nationalists wanted Barotseland to joinNorthern Rhodesiain its independence as the two protectorates were to all intents and purposes part of one country. People who were prominent in the independence struggle came from Barotseland as well asNorthern Rhodesia. However the King of Barotseland did not want to sleep on the rights of his people.
Subsequently Sir Mwanawina Lewanika agreed that Barotseland Protectorate should join with the Protectorate of Northern Rhodesia to form the nation ofZambiaon condition that theBarotselandprotectorate retained its local autonomous status enjoyed during her status as a protectorate. Barotseland was to surrender those powers that hitherto had been exercised by the imperial power ofBritainoverBarotselandto the new State of Zambia.
The details of the powers to be retained by the Barotseland Royal Establishment were spelt out in the agreement.
Sir Duncan Sandys on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, Sir Mwanawina Lewanika on behalf of the Barotseland Royal Establishment and Dr. Kenneth Kaunda Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia, signed the Agreement for fusion on the 18th May 1964.
This agreement paved the way for the creation of the State of Zambia on the 24th October 1964.
In 1969 there were constitutional amendments to the 1964 Constitution and part of those amendments were aimed at bringing local government in Barotseland in line with other provinces. Barotseland was renamedWesternProvince. The King of Barotseland now only called the Litunga of Barotseland lost some of his powers including his treasury and this was in line with what took place elsewhere in the country. The agreement of 1964 was repealed by legislative fiat without any discussion or consensus from the parties.
The above then is the genesis of our constitutional problems emanating from theWesternProvince. They are problems that have been left to fester for a very long time. Each successive government has skirted around the problem. No real effort has been made by any of our previous governments to sit down with the traditional leaders of theWesternProvinceto settle the issues once and for all.
These issues will not go away unless there is a will by all of us inZambiato seriously address them through our constitution. After all, at the core of the demands is decentralization. Which politician in Zambian would not agree of the need for decentralization and therefore devolution of more power from Lusaka to the provinces?
In regard to Zambians who come from the other provinces, who do not wish to understand that theWesternProvincehas a legitimate claim to be part of Zambia on a different basis to the rest of us. We cannot in good conscience try to gloss over and arrogantly dismiss this fact, as has been the practice in the past. We as the rest ofZambiamade a deal with the Barotse Kingdom. We must now in all good faith acknowledge that we did not keep the agreement. Our partners in the broken agreement have clearly not been happy with our behavior for a long while. Let’s come together and put it right in our time. We can take advantage of the constitutional debate now in place in the country and try to settle once and for all this very important national issue for the good of our country.
The Post Newspapers Zambia
By George Chellah on Friday 26 November 2010, 04:01:00 CAT (2521 Reads)
LUSAKA lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe says problems over the Barotseland Agreement have been left to worsen for a very long time.
He urged Zambia to take advantage of the debate about the constitution to settle the matter.
Dr Chongwe said successive governments had skirted around the problem and no real effort had been made to address it with the traditional leaders of Western Province.
He said the issues regarding the Barotseland Agreement would not disappear unless there was a will by all people to address them through the constitution.
“We cannot in good conscience try to gloss over and arrogantly dismiss this fact, as has been the practice in the past. We . . . made a deal with the Barotse Kingdom. We must now in all good faith acknowledge that we did not keep it. Our partners in the broken agreement have clearly not been happy with our behaviour for a long while. Let’s come together and put it right in our time,” Dr Chongwe said.
He explained that during the last stages of the constitutional conference in Marlborough, London, then colonial secretary Sir Duncan Sandys crafted an agreement, which he sold to Northern Rhodesia prime minister and Sir Mwanawina Lewanika of Barotseland to bring the two together to facilitate the fusion of the two areas to form Zambia.
Dr Chongwe said it appeared that a few of the delegates claimed to be aware of this side meeting, which took place alongside the main conference.
He said the representatives of Barotseland Protectorate argued with the colonial power regarding their own treaty with the British government, which led to its creation.
Dr Chongwe said the nationalists wanted Barot-seland to join Northern Rhodesia in its independence, as the two protectorates were part of one country.
He said Sir Mwanawina Lewanika agreed that the Barotseland Protectorate should join with the protectorate of Northern Rhodesia to form Zambia on condition that Barotseland retained its local autonomous while powers exercised over it by Britain would be surrendered to the new state.
He said the agreement which paved way for the fusion of the two protectorates was signed on May 18, 1964, by Sir Duncan, Sir Mwanawina and Dr Kenneth Kaunda and subsequently Zambia was created on October 24, 1964.
Dr Chongwe said the agreement was repealed without discussion and this was the genesis of the problems regarding Western Province.