|The Litunga Lubosi Imwiko
II with President Rupiah
President Rupiah Banda has assured the people of Western province that the
government is dealing with the Barotseland issue.
The president, in a
statement on the government’s position on the Barotseland Agreement of 1964,
commended the Barotse National Council which has been engaging government over
the matter for emphasising the fact that it is not secession from the rest of
Zambia which is being advocated.
The president said this position by the
council clearly shows that the Barotse Royal Establishment and the Barotse
National Council are in favour of a unitary state of Zambia.
said following the presentation of the Barotse National Council resolutions to
him in February, he 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, the Government could 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,” he said.
said this in a statement released yesterday by his special assistant for Press
and public relations Dickson Jere.
Mr Banda said in the history of the
Government trying to resolve the issue of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, the Government had closely
consulted the Barotse Royal Establishment and briefed the establishment on what
actions it was currently undertaking to deal with the varied and complex issues
covered by the resolutions of the Barotse National Council.
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,” he
President Banda said the Government acknowledged that the pleas for
social and economic justice from the people of Western Province were genuine and
needed its attention. Mr Banda emphasised that similar pleas and complaints had
also been received and heard from other parts of the country.
He said the
Government should be able to come up with a practical roadmap on how to resolve
the issues raised by the Barotse National Council. He appealed to all the people
of Western Province to give his Government a chance to resolve this very complex
Mr Banda said dialogue with the Barotse Royal Establishment had
continued even after the presentation of the resolutions for purposes of seeking
clarity on various issues so that the matter was concluded in a manner that was
realistic and satisfactory to all concerned parties.
Mr Banda said since
the constitutional amendment of 1969, which revoked the Barotseland Agreement of
1964, various representations had been made to the Government to revisit the
matter. He said representations were made during the tenure of office of former
president Kenneth Kaunda, late president Frederick Chiluba, late president Levy
Mwanawasa and more recently to himself.
He said all were aware that the
issue of the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 had in the last
few months received wide and intense public attention.
president said the agitation for the restoration of the agreement culminated in
ugly and violent civil disturbances that occurred in
Mongu sometime in January this year.
Mr Banda said the Government had
always been ready to receive and consider representations on all issues of
national concern, including the issue of the Barotseland Agreement. Mr Banda
said he was deeply troubled when some members of society resorted to unlawful
“Further, it is unfortunate that in spite 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,” he said.
He said as a peaceful and united nation, citizens
should never resort to civil unrest to resolve differences and that as a nation,
dialogue should be used as a means of achieving consensus.
Mr Banda said
in the spirit of engaging in meaningful dialogue, on 10th February 2011, he
received a delegation from the Litunga, led by Senior Chief Inyambo
Mr Banda said the delegation presented to him the resolutions of
the Barotse National Council which met in January 2011 in Mongu to specifically
discuss the issue of the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 and
other matters incidental thereto.
He said the resolutions of the Barotse
National Council were very detailed and comprehensive and raised a number of
fundamental challenges that affected the people of Western Province.