The decision by the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to
tone down the aggressive approach towards the Barotseland Agreement
is wise and should hold for the country to maintain peace
This country has resolved most of its contentious issues
through dialogue and consensus building, an attribute which is rare on the
African continent replete with conflict and instability.
No doubt, the
BRE and other stakeholders in Western Province have deeply reflected on the
resultant negative affects that would have spiralled if indeed they had
continued to agitate for secession.
Soon after the Barotse
National Council resolved that a
Barotse government had been formed, the resonant voice from all corners was that
Zambia should be maintained as a unitary State.
organisations, political parties, the Church, trade unions, students, the
academia, and many other interest groups did not believe that the resolution was
The resolution in essence remained a lone voice which
threatened the peace and unity in the country.
There are reasons why the
declaration was roundly frowned upon, one of them being that, in practical
terms, Western Province cannot stand on its own; Development cannot take
Secondly, the approach was in conflict with the statutes of the
land because no one organisation or individual can legitimately declare a State
The other reason is that the resolution was a recipe for
bloodshed as has been the case in other countries.
As indicated in this
column last week on Thursday, in other countries where secession has been
agitated, civil wars have broken out because it is a delicate and an
unattainable undertaking which only works to divide the people.
Nigeria was sent into a civil war as a result of an attempted
The civil war, also known as the Nigerian Biafra
War from 1967 to 1970, was a political conflict caused by an attempted
secession of south-eastern provinces as the self-proclaimed Republic of
The scars in Africa’s most populous country are still
It was interesting that all Members of Parliament from Western
Province declined to comment on the resolution for the region to break
Certainly, their decision to remain mute speaks volumes of how
risky and delicate it is to agitate for secession.
Therefore, it is
impressing that the Ngambela, Clement Sinyinda and the BRE in general, have
attenuated their approach to this delicate issue.
The BRE should now
start preparing to convene for meaningful dialogue while the Government on the
other hand should thoroughly study the Chongwe Commission of Inquiry report and
make the findings and recommendations public.
Dialogue will be more
meaningful if the report and Government reaction are publicised.
groups in this country should expend more time and energy expounding development
issues in a more civilised manner.
There are so many factors that should
take centre-stage in public discourse such as the high poverty levels,
fluctuating local currency, which now stands at K5,350 to a United States dollar
on average, disease, corruption, and rising vices such as gender-based
Stakeholders should collectively explore solutions to the many
biting challenges and avoid confrontation.
Dialogue is the way