It is the current position of the government of the Republic of Zambia that the Litunga, King of Barotseland, and the Lozi speaking people have no special claim under the Zambian constitution because all the legal and constitutional provisions which had given them such rights have all effectively and purportedly been revoked by progressive constitutional and legislative reforms.
Although this government position is a disputable legal pre-supposition, considering that the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 could not possibly be unilaterally revoked by any progressive legislation because the agreement was meant to be superior to all future constitutions of Zambia as stated in ARTICLE 8 of the Barotseland Agreement 1964, this legal pre-supposition, however, is what has informed successive official government policy to this day.
ARTICLE 8 of the defunct Barotseland Agreement 1964 states:
“The Government of the Republic of Zambia shall take such steps as is necessary to ensure that the laws for the time being in force in the Republic are not inconsistent with the provisions of this agreement”.
This Article 8 of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 essentially means that there is no way any Zambian constitutional provisions would ever claim to annul or revoke the provisions of the 1964 agreement without the consent of Barotseland.
However, Zambia is a known delinquent and rogue state that does not obey even its laws and, therefore, will continue to illegally administer Barotseland with impunity.
The Zambian state is such a scoundrel that it often changes its constitution to merely oppress and suppress Barotseland and other minorities, including all its other perceived political opponents rather than protect and promote their rights and interests!
Therefore, the Zambian state will continue to deal with Barotseland whichever way it pleases, including instituting bad laws against Barotseland, until the Barotse Royal Establishment and the Litunga learn to say enough is enough to Zambia’s impunity!
It is also useful to consider that a state party to an international treaty, covenant or agreement, could not possibly invoke domestic or national law reforms to purportedly absolve itself from performing their obligations in such international treaties.
The Zambian government is clearly under the legal illusion that once the national laws had been unilaterally amended to abrogate the 1964 union agreement, the Litunga and the Lozi speaking people could no longer have any claim over their supposed rights on one hand while expecting the Lozi to keep the 1964 union terms on the other.
However, the more sound legal interpretation would be that once a union treaty or union agreement had ceased, and was so accepted by all parties involved, then no party to the agreement would be expected to perform any obligations or claim any benefits under the defunct treaty, resulting in the total collapse of the union. Parties would naturally revert to their pre-agreement and pre-union status, with the offended party having the right to demand reparations for any losses caused by such irreparable breaches.
Consequently, on the 27th of March 2012, after a regularly constituted Barotse National Council (BNC), the people of Barotseland unanimously DECIDED to accept Zambia’s abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which was the ONLY legal connection between Zambia and Barotseland.
They decided that Barotseland would PURSUE its SELF-DETERMINATION outside of Zambia.
Therefore, the 2012 BNC resolutions are the only viable way forward for Barotseland and not the forever proposed but never materializing restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
No Zambian government will ever restore the 1964 agreement because according to the Zambian state, it is no longer an obligatory legal issue.
In 1999, Minister without Portfolio then, Gen. Godfrey Miyanda, who was third in the government hierarchy - junior only to the Presidency and the Vice Presidency respectively, plainly informed the BRE through its Prime Minister (Ngambela), Mr G. Mukande, his government’s position on the dead 1964 agreement, and one wonders what else the BRE are waiting to hear from the Zambian government (GRZ) before they could wake up and smell the coffee.
The minister’s 1999 letter will show clearly that the marriage between Barotseland and Zambia is already over and that any little attention being given particularly to the Litunga, BRE and Barotseland, in general, is for political expediency only!
Therefore, only Barotseland independence is tenable as no Zambian government will ever be willing to change the national constitution to undo all other various constitutional changes previously undertaken in abrogation of the Barotseland Agreement 1964.
With independence, however, Barotseland can dictate its terms as the offended party to the now-defunct 1964 agreement.
The BRE, therefore, should immediately facilitate the full implementation of the unanimous March 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) resolutions for Barotseland’s independence while the international community and international law still favour Barotseland.
A copy of the Zambian Government’s 1999 brief letter to the BRE is here below reproduced in full for additional reading.
REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA,
MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO,
OLD BANK OF ZAMBIA BUILDING,
P.O BOX 30208,
18th August, 1999.
Mr G. Mukande,
RE: THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT 1964
Further to your request yesterday that I put in writing the Government’s position on the Barotseland Agreement 1964, I wish to advise that we have considered your submission in this matter. As we understand it, your case is that this Agreement is alive and should be restored.
It is the Government position that we cannot negotiate this agreement on the following grounds:-
(a) That the terms and clauses of the agreement were incorporated into the Laws of Zambia in 1964, when they became subject to amendment alteration just as any other Laws.
(b) That the procedure for amending the Law of the land was followed, the said amendment having been tabulated and presented before Parliament and subsequently assented to by the President.
(c) Our further inquiries show that no judicial process was commenced by the Royal Establishment or any other party aggrieved by the proposed amendments in reasonable time. It is our position that the demand is stale as it has been overtaken by events and is no longer legal.
However, government is willing to discuss other issues which you raised without relating them to the Agreement, such as land issues, grants and welfare of chiefs and indunas. Government is prepared to discuss and resolve those matters politically.
Godfrey Miyanda, MP
MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO