• 24
  • Jul

 

Recently the Litunga and the Paramount Chiefs of Zambia went to the Constitutional Court and won a landmark ruling that upheld their various powers over their respective subjects.

The ruling, however, raised some questions whose answers are detailed here below.

IS THE LITUNGA A PARAMOUNT CHIEF IN ZAMBIA?

Although the Litunga has often been treated like a Paramount Chief in Zambia, he is legally in a unique class different from the Paramount Chiefs.

For example, out of the Eastern Province of Zambia, Gawa Undi exercises his rulership over all the Chewa in Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique while Mpezeni exercises rulership over all the Ngoni in Zambia. Similarly, Chitimukulu exercises his rulership over all the Bemba in Zambia's Northern Province.

So, their authority is very specific. Gawa Undi, over the Chewa, Mpezeni, over the Ngoni and Chitimukulu over the Bemba.

The Litunga, however, legally exercises his reign and rulership over the entire territory now called the 'Western Province' of Zambia which is home to over 35 ethnicities and/or communities, among them, Aluyi, Chokwe, Fwe, Humbe, Imilangu, Kololo, Kwamashi, Kwamulonga, Kwamwenyi, Kwandi, Kwengo, Leya, Liuwa, Lukolwe, Lushange, Lushange, Luvale, Luvale, Makwamakoma, Mbukushu, Mbumi, Mbunda, Nanzwa, Ndembu, Ndundulu, Nkoya, Nyengo, Shanjo, Shasha, Simaa, Subia, Toka, Totela and Yauma - here listed in their alphabetical order.

This unique status also confirms the Litunga ruler over not only the various people groups but also over the land, water, and everything in the territory.

Non-Chewa, non-Ngoni and non-Bemba people living in the Eastern and Northern provinces of Zambia may not necessarily be subjects of Gawa Undi, Mpezeni and Chitimukulu respectively.

However, all the people living in the Western Province of Zambia, whether they be citizens, visitors, or mere residents, automatically become subjects of the Litunga by law because they are in his territory.

Secondly, all citizens in the territory currently called the Western Province of Zambia, whether born or naturalised in the territory, are collectively known as Barotse, Lozi, Malozi, Barotzis or Barotzish, terminologies derived from 'Barotseland' or 'Bulozi', the actual names of the territory under the Litunga.

Although the Litunga's territory is called Barotseland or Bulozi by its people, in the Zambian laws, the Litunga's territory is officially designated as the Western Province. Therefore, the Litunga's constitutional title is ‘Litunga of Western Province’.

Note here that his title is not ‘Litunga of the Lozi people of Western Province' or 'Litunga of the Lozi speaking people of Western Province’ because his authority extends over everyone and everything in the territory, whether Lozi or not, including over those merely visiting, residing, or working in his territory.

In fact, those who use these erroneous titles either do so out of ignorance or spite and malice!

DOES THE LITUNGA OWN AND RULE OVER THE WESTERN PROVINCE?

The literal translation of the term ‘Litunga’ is ‘Earth’. It is the title given to the 'owner of and sovereign ruler' over the territory (country) of Barotseland – now officially designated in Zambian laws as the Western Province.

Therefore, if his constitutional title is 'Litunga', he must also be the owner of and sovereign ruler of the territory he is Litunga over!

The Litunga’s rule and ownership rights over the territory known today as 'Western Province' have evolved but largely preserved over the centuries. Sadly, the Zambian government policy has often tried to ignore, diminish, or revoke them.

Just like the BSA Company (British South Africa Company) in the early 1900s, the obsession in trying to 'fix' the Litunga and his powers over his Kingdom may be one of post-colonial Zambia's undoing.

After bitter disagreements with the BSA Company which administered the territory for the British, the Litunga’s rights over Barotseland were consolidated when the British colonial government took over in the 1911 Order in Council which amalgamated 'Barotseland-Northwestern Rhodesia' and 'Northeastern Rhodesia' to form Northern Rhodesia which later became Zambia in 1964.

One clause in the 1911 Order in Council provided for the ‘non-alienation of land in Barotseland’ – which means land in Barotseland was to be used exclusively by Barotse people under their ruler.

Another clause confirmed the rights and obligations of the Litunga and the Barotse people under the Concessions/Treaties of 1900.

The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Constitution) Order in Council of 1st August 1953, Article 33(2), repeated the provisions concerning the ‘non-alienability of land in Barotseland’ as was contained in both the 1911 and 1924 Orders in Council.

Even in 1961, three years before Zambia's independence, the Northern Rhodesia British Government reaffirmed Britain’s previous commitments and proposed to entrench the Barotse special rights in Orders in Council, announcing further that the ruler of Barotseland would be officially called the LITUNGA - ‘Earth’, i.e., the owner of the land of the Barotseland Protectorate, in place of the BSA Company-imposed ‘Paramount Chief’ title.

These rights have never been cancelled, but have always been passed on and inherited by successful States and their governments.

Since the post-colonial Zambian State simply inherited the Litunga’s status, he is not a ‘Paramount Chief’ but simply ‘The Litunga’!

CAN THE LITUNGA'S RIGHTS OVER WESTERN PROVINCE BE REVOKED?

Technically, no! He owns the territory!

However, an uncivilized Zambian State, with police, guns, and military hardware, could revoke or try to revoke them - only because the Litunga does not have guns and military hardware!

Doing so would, however, be destroying the very foundations upon which the post-colonial Zambian state was built.

Some may not know that the territory today called Western Province in Zambia was by 1964 a separate sovereign state (Barotseland Protectorate) different from the Northern Rhodesian Protectorate that became Zambia at independence.

Barotseland Protectorate only became part of this post-colonial state after the Litunga signed a tripartite treaty called 'The Barotseland Agreement 1964', with Northern Rhodesia Protectorate and Britain, so that the two separate British Protectorates could proceed to political independence as ‘One Nation’.

The Barotseland Agreement 1964, however, did not mean Barotseland would vanish or diminish within Zambia, but that Barotseland, with its government, would enure and flourish within independent Zambia.

What the British did with Northern Rhodesia and Barotseland, they had similarly done with Malaysia and Singapore a year earlier in a treaty involving the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore.

The 1963 agreement was titled the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) while the 1964 agreement was titled the Barotseland Agreement 1964 (BA64), and both agreements were completed and signed in London respectively.

Singapore and Malaysia, which went on to separate in 1965 after bitter disagreements, are two flourishing neighbouring sovereign states today.

So, the Litunga reigns over all people, land, water, and everything in today's Western province of Zambia. The Zambian state, however, would administer the territory with the cooperation and the permission of the Litunga.

Sadly, however, this envisioned relationship has not worked well, largely because the Zambian state has been hell-bent on 'fixing' the Litunga and his powers over the territory, leaving the territory not only so run-down but also economically isolated with above 82.2% poverty levels while in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, poverty levels are only 22%, smirking the economic abandonment of the Litunga's territory.

Since 2011, calls for Barotseland independence have been rife in the territory, although the uncivilised Zambian state continues to use its police, guns, and military to suppress any peaceful calls for Barotseland self-determination.

  • 20
  • Jun

 

As Zambia and the world mourn the death of Kenneth Kaunda, many unschooled in Barotseland’s recent history often wonder why most Barotzis frown upon the legacy of the late founding president of Zambia.

Perhaps the following perspective may help explain why.

By 1964, the Kingdom of Barotseland legally existed as a separate British Protectorate, different from the Northern Rhodesia Protectorate, although both were governed by the same British colonial government due to geographical and historical proximity.

However, prior to Northern Rhodesia’s political independence in October 1964, Barotseland Protectorate signed a tripartite treaty with Northern Rhodesia and Britain regarding the Kingdom’s future co-existence within the sovereign Republic of Zambia, as Northern Rhodesia would later become after its independence.

The pre-independence treaty, The Barotseland Agreement 1964, was completed and signed on 18th May 1964.

Regrettably, Barotseland today exists only as a pariah territory, a subjugated and oppressed impoverished province of a fellow African country with its people deprived of not only basic amenities but also basic human freedoms such as the freedom to peacefully assemble and talk about its own affairs, as Zambian military and police contingents stay camped in the territory to suppress any sentiments of self-determination.

  • 04
  • Jan

 

In 2017, we specifically warned Nabiwa Imikendu and his cohorts against dragging the Litunga of Barotseland to the Zambian courts as doing so would not only be futile but would also set very detestable precedence.

Those who may remember know that we specifically advised that the Litunga of Barotseland cannot be dethroned by the Zambian courts because he does not ascend the throne through these courts. We further warned that if we dethroned the Litunga through these foreign courts, we might as well begin a culture of enthroning subsequent Litungas in conjunction with the same courts henceforth!

However, those in support of Imikendu’s litigation against the Litunga were so headstrong that they even tried to emotionally blackmail us and others on the opposing side instead of stating the cultural and national merits of their intended action!

In fact, they made arguing against Imikendu’s action seem synonymous with supporting Imwiko II’s alleged bad governance, and called us enemies of Barotseland who supposedly took pleasure in the continued persecution of Afumba Mombotwa and others imprisoned under Imwiko II’s reign, or the 19 innocent Barotzis killed by Zambian assigned agents in 2011 under his watch.

We, nevertheless, stated clearly that our opposition to Imikendu’s litigation was actually based on the PRINCIPLES of who and what we are as Barotzis, and the precedence we seek to set for posterity.

  • 24
  • Dec

 

Zambians are once again outraged at the state police’s alleged killing of two people in Lusaka when they overzealously tried to disperse a peaceful gathering of opposition party supporters who merely wished to offer solidarity to their political leader of choice.

It is widely believed that the police were carrying out orders from ‘higher’ command, reportedly from the outgoing president Edgar Lungu, in his desperation to stop his main presidential challenger, opposition UPND party leader, Hakainde Hichilema, from wrestling power from him in the August 2021 polls.

  • 18
  • Dec

 

While the agenda to nominate both the Barotse plains and the cultural landscape as a World Heritage Site may often be presented as beneficial to the Barotzis at face value, the devil may be in the actual details because the proposal is being forcefully pursued by the Zambian State which continues to refuse to dialogue over the equally important matter of Barotseland's political status.

What many people may not know is that the Barotse landscape in question is a vast expanse of open land, covering almost the entire Kingdom of Barotseland as it stands today, technically rendering the entire Kingdom a World Heritage Site as the demarcation map of what is to be nominated will show!

Its floodplain stretches from the Zambezi's confluence with the Kabompo and Lungwebungu Rivers in the north to a point about 230km south, above the Ngonye falls, south of Senanga.

Along most of its length, its width is over 30km, reaching 50km at the widest, just north of Mongu, the main town on the plain, situated at its edge while the main body of the plain covers about 5500km².

Its maximum flooded area is 10750km² when the floodplains of several tributaries are taken into account, such as the Luena Flats.

  • 07
  • Oct

 

Royal Barotseland needs to state clearly what type of government it wishes to pursue. Other countries and the international community who wish to recognize Barotseland’s claim for sovereignty must do so knowing, in great detail, what type of government would preside over the territory should its independence claim succeed.

Therefore, the Royal Barotseland Government in transition has been working hard sharing with every country that cares to know what type of government Royal Barotseland would pursue after independence.

There are many types of governments or political systems in the world today, but popular among them are;

  • 04
  • Aug

 

Self-determination is the process by which a group of people, usually possessing a certain degree of national consciousness, form their state and choose their own government. Self-determination is not a crime under international laws and politics. It is a right - an inalienable human right under the United Nations Charter! 

  • 29
  • Apr

 

"We refuse to join those in political grandstanding, singing that Kenneth Kaunda is a great honourable man when the facts and our conscience say otherwise."

As Zambia and the world celebrate Kenneth Kaunda’s 96th Birthday, most Barotse nationals will choose to frown upon the man they consider responsible for Barotseland’s forced assimilation in Zambia - the republic that continues to deny them basic human rights such as free assembly, conscience, association and their self-determination as envisioned in 1964 when Zambia gained its political independence from Britain in joint sovereignty with the Kingdom of Barotseland.

Before its independence, the Northern Rhodesia Protectorate co-signed The Barotseland Agreement 1964 with the Barotseland Protectorate and Britain (their colonial master) for the two to proceed to political independence from Britain in joint sovereignty on the condition that the Kingdom of Barotseland would retain its autonomy within the republic as it was for many decades under the British colonial government.

Kenneth Kaunda, the man whose legacy is currently in the spotlight on his 96th birthday, is the man who signed and agreed on behalf of his Northern Rhodesian government that Northern Rhodesia would proceed to political independence with Barotseland as one nation, with Barotseland retaining its autonomy within the Republic of Zambia - as independent Northern Rhodesia would later be called.

  • 11
  • Jan

 

[Before you claim we are committing the crime of proposing tribal war or that we are peddling tribalism, help us understand. Why on earth would the Zambian government advertise a government job to be based in Mongu, Barotseland, and put the ability to speak siBemba fluently as one of the qualifications in a region where the predominant lingua franca is siLozi?]

Hegemony, the dominance of one group over another, often supported by legitimating norms and ideas, is nothing short of what the Zambian government is doing today by the promotion of the Bemba language at the expense of others in the same republic and before you know it, every citizen will be compelled to accept it as the national language of the nation of Zambia.

  • 17
  • Dec

 

Currently, Zambia is largely seen as Barotseland’s colonizer who cannot be trusted to make decisions of such magnitude as the proposed listing of the Barotse Cultural landscape as a World Heritage Site under UNESCO without thorough consultations with all stakeholders in Barotseland.

A one-time directive meeting with the Limulunga Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the about ten Zambian Members of Parliament (MPs) who hail from the Barotse region does not actually constitute a wide enough consultative process even by the UNESCO set standards.

Therefore, our candid advice is to wait until such a time that the people of Barotseland could not only be consulted but also educated on the implications of nominating their entire homeland as a World Heritage Site under UNESCO - bearing in mind that the Barotse plains and landscape are not only a home to thousands of Barotse but that the Barotse also depend on it entirely for a sustainable existence!

Further, the consultative process must be undertaken without the current associated political overtones. Therefore, the Zambian government must, as a matter of priority, firstly resolve the outstanding issues surrounding Barotseland’s political status within or outside the Sovereign Republic of Zambia.

  • 07
  • Dec

 

The Litunga (King of Barotseland) and the President of Zambia cannot possibly broker a deal to restore the Barotseland Agreement 1964 alone without constitutional amendments. Therefore, reports by some sections of Barotse media that THE CONSTITUTION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019 - Bill 10, will restore the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 after the two leaders allegedly brokered a deal earlier in the week are either misguided or misinformed. If the reports are true that some sort of deal was made by the two, then His Majesty is once again being played for a fool because constitution-making is a transparent affair which must require consensus from both the Barotse and Zambian nationals.

Further, it is not true that Bill 10 has included clauses to restore the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964. Therefore, it would be a great mistake for the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to support this fundamentally flawed Zambian constitutional amendment bill based on such misrepresentation of facts.

Factually, there is currently no proposal in Bill 10 to restore the defunct 1964 pre-independence agreement. However, the truth is that the Barotse Royal Establishment did submit something concerning the defunct 1964 agreement to the Parliamentary Select Committee, chaired by Raphael Nakachinda, whose terms of reference was to scrutinize the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, N.A.B. No. 10 of 2019.

In doing so, the select committee did invite submissions from stakeholders and witnesses and compiled a report which the committee must submit to the speaker of the national assembly as mere recommendations. These recommendations are not binding on the executive arm of government who were the drafters of Bill 10.

Incidentally, the Parliamentary Select Committee’s Report has largely rejected Bill 10 as it was presented to parliament before its deferment to February next year.

  • 01
  • Dec

 

The Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) is indeed like the proverbial stubborn fly that follows the corpse to the grave and is buried alive. One wonders if and when they will ever accept that the Barotseland Agreement 1964 is as dead as a corpse that can never be revived, and clinging on to it, like they are doing, will merely lead the stubborn BRE and the Litungaship to the grave with it.

The Zambian state has made it crystal clear that as far as Zambia is concerned, there is no Barotseland to talk about. Yes, during the occasional election season and for political capital or whenever the state wants to profit from the dead Barotseland Agreement, politicians will stroke the Barotse ego by appeasing the Litunga as King over the ‘non-existing’ Barotseland and appear to be willing to resolve all outstanding Barotseland matters!

However, the truth is that Barotseland right now is an already divorced spouse who the more powerful spouse, Zambia, occasionally takes advantage of and rapes to their pleasure! But when will the BRE and Litunga Imwiko II wake up and realize that linyalo ni Naha Zambia li felile kale? [that Barotseland's marriage with Zambia has already been annulled irreconcilably]

Therefore, the Zambian state must be judged through its public legal and constitutional actions towards Barotseland rather than through the occasional sweet words the President whispers in the Litunga’s ears when in the secret chambers of State House or the Kings Royal Kashandi!

That Barotseland’s 1964 ill-fated marriage with the sovereign state of Zambia ended in 1969, is now a matter of law and public knowledge! Therefore, anyone who will promise to restore the dead 1964 agreement without first changing Zambia’s national constitution is playing both the Litunga and the BRE for a fool!

The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.