Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Barotse Question - Ashes of History?

The Barotse Question is embodied in the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement. Today, it merits interrogation as to the validity of the nature of influences that determine when “a sense of Lozi nationhood” arouses demands of self-rule as presumed to be proclaimed in the Agreement.

Clearly, a dichotomous citizenry has always emerged in post-colonial States in Africa. There is the citizenry whose sense of belonging to the new State is subsumed more by their allegiance to the traditionally and culturally defined nationhood. And there is the citizenry whose sense of belonging to the new State is subsumed more by a sense of socio-economic and political inclusion. In Zambia, the former are mostly the rural populations who live in areas where traditional authority is still the dominant governance authority with respect to livelihood entitlements. And, the latter are the urban populations who live in areas where statutory authority defining the State is dominant.

In a democracy like Zambia there is an assumption that both ends of this citizenry dichotomy have controlling influence on the decisions and affairs of government, and that there will be equitable and equal socio-economic development. To which end, dissent to a sense of belonging to a State premised on a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation) should not arise.

Yet, in the Barotse Question it has!

The Barotse Question calls upon us to accept that in pre-colonial times only a few of our ethnic groups had politically centralised chieftainships with developed bureaucracies. Lozis have always had a sense of Lozi national consciousness.

The re-emergence of the Barotse Question today is politically claimed to be because of a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation). That Western province is the poorest and least developed province in Zambia, is not a subject of debate. But, it should also be acknowledged that all rural Zambia has comparatively been neglected for sometime in our country’s development history, is also not a subject of debate. There is an evident rural-urban dichotomy relative to the social-economic status the country’s population.

In short, rural Zambia has always been short-changed!

The question then is why is this so, if we hold valid the assumption that “access to positions of political and administrative power is important for competing social groups in that it provides them with visible recognition, a ‘say’ in decision making and control over government resources”.

In this respect, can it be assumed that rural populations are under represented in our democratic governance representative framework? Or can it be assumed that inequities in governance representation at the national level have produced inequalities at the regional levels?

On the contrary, governance representative indices by regional and or ethnic groupings in periods of the years 1964 to 2008 do not show significant ethnic marginalisation, though variances are observable. Governance representation in Zambia has been void of inequities likely to cause ethnic dissent in the dominant ethnic groups. This has been a result of Kenneth Kaunda’s policy of ‘tribal balancing’, and its continuance.

The objective facts of this representativeness is a trend that is not commensurate with the obtaining poverty levels in rural Zambia, as most ethnical groups have had relatively equitable representativeness, and yet the evident results of this equitable representativeness is abject poverty for most of the populations in rural Zambia.

Therefore, it is clear that in Zambia, equality at the ‘political elite level’ has produced inequalities at the regional level. To which end, the assumption that “leaders with access to positions of state power will tend to redistribute to their ‘own’ social groups”, as the mainstream argue on the case of poverty in Western province is sophism.

In addition, that the re-emergence of the Barotse Question is because of a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation), is merely a travesty of reason. The Barotse Question should be rationalised by the sense of belonging to a historically and colonially recognised traditionally defined nationhood, and the consequent Lozi national consciousness.

Admittedly, the Barotse Question has over the years been used as a tool for a more representative national governance mode. Thus, a see-saw semblance of Barotse sentiments is evident whenever Lozis feel marginalised.

It should be understood that, the critical elements of the Barotseland Agreement of May, 1964 are a definition of the terms under which the Litunga of Barotseland assented to Barotseland protectorate’s merger with Northern Rhodesia protectorate to create the new nation-State called Zambia. Dominant of which are the continued protection and respect by the government of Zambia of the obligations and rights contained in treaties and concessions between the British government and Barotseland, and that the “customary law of Barotseland shall be the principal local authority for the government and administration of Barotseland”, and that the Litunga of Barotseland, acting after consultation with his Council, shall be authorised and empowered to make laws for Barotseland in relation to the matters that include the Litungaship; the Barotse Government; local government land; forests; traditional and customary matters relating to Barotseland alone; the institution at present known as the Barotse native treasury; and local taxation.

Thus, the Barotseland Agreement manifests a superfluity of governance paradigms. These are:

(a) Quest for self-rule as evidenced in the affirmation of asserting protection and respect by the government of Zambia of the obligations and rights contained in treaties and concessions between the British government and Barotseland protectorate, which duly recognised that Barotseland was an autonomous colonised nation within another colonised nation;

(b) Monarchic form of governance where kingship is duly asserted as evidenced in the Agreement’s affirmation that the “customary law of Barotseland shall be the principal local authority for the government and administration of Barotseland”, and that the Litunga of Barotseland, acting after consultation with his Council, shall be authorised and empowered to make laws for Barotseland, evidences recognition of a monarchic form of governance as kingship is duly asserted. Due recognition should however be made that Barotseland had over time developed an inclusive form of traditional governance, despite royal heredity being supreme to the subjects; and,

(c) Federalism, as the Agreement also provides the government of Zambia sovereignty over Barotseland on the administration of justice; the public service; fiscal responsibility, administration and economic development of Barotseland[1]; and leasehold land administration.

The Agreement thus recognises Barotseland’s quasi-sovereignty of self-rule and preservation of a monarchic governance system. But, the delegation of powers to the central government over certain matters in Barotseland provides a dichotomy of governance. This dichotomy is self-rule within a monarchy; and, federalism.

In short, the character of the State of Zambia that should have evolved out of the Barotseland Agreement is a federal state. In this respect, an attempt should be made to understand the quest for self-rule in this context. In any case, for traditionalists, the sense of belonging to a historically and colonially recognised traditionally defined nationhood, and the consequent Lozi national consciousness, dates far beyond the Frank Lochner Treaty of 1890.

Further, the Barotse Question’s perseverance is sustained by the dichotomous nature of political governance in Zambia, which is rooted in the country’s State-building process. The country’s political governance has evolved from a pendulum of polarity between traditionalists and nation-State building advocates or what have been termed nationalists.

There always have been the traditionalists and the nationalists, and this has historically being more pronounced in Western province, than in any other province in Zambia. Whereas the traditionalists sought to preserve their customary and or traditional authority over their subjects within an independent State, the nationalists (mostly urban subjects) favoured the creation of a more cohesive State that recognised boundaries of colonial domination of peoples with similar aspirations, traditions and culture.

Consequently, the resulting political governance has been one of political and public service elitism, which has not served the socio-economic interests of most of the populations in rural Zambia that still live under traditional modes of governance.

In retrospect, the Barotse Question is not ashes of history, nor is it an inane emotional attachment to historical romanticism. Its re-emergence, can in part, be attributable to the usurpation of the traditionalists autonomy and privilege during the country’s State-building process.

Therefore, it is here argued that the Barotse Question provides a governance re-think. This is based on the fact that:

(a) The country’s political and public service elites have not substantively equitably determined development entitlements; and that,

(b) There is no elite bargaining based on social group or regional representation.

The Barotse Question lends credence to the fact that historical events shape inter-regional relations within a centralised State. The Barotse Question provides the State of Zambia the opportunity for a non-dichotomous governance system, which can integrate traditional and customary governance frameworks under which the majority of the rural populations exist.

A governance re-think premised on the Barotse Question is simply an affirmation of the need for equitably determined development entitlements, and elite bargaining based on social group or regional representation. After all, every region has its own history, traditions and culture, in addition to peculiar political, social and economic problems.

In conclusion, the derivative political governance paradigm from the Barotse Question is federalism with its consequent self-rule for the regions.

Federalism is a reconciliatory political governance structure that recognises historic, traditional and cultural diversity. It is a governance paradigm that can provide government space for statutory institutionalisation of traditional and customary authority, which is inarguably integral to the Barotse Question. Federalism provides equitable local and central political and administrative representation, which is critical for populations characterised by historic, traditional and cultural diversity.

The Barotse Question is a product of the rural poverty vis-à-vis political governance representation disconnect evident in Zambia. It is not a parody for political opportunism!

Endnote: Edited version of Re-Examining the Argument for the Restoration of the Barotseland Agreement



[1] Article 7., Financial Responsibility, The Government of the Republic of Zambia shall have the same general responsibility for providing financial support for the administration and economic development of Barotseland as it has for other parts of the Republic and shall ensure that, in discharge of this responsibility, Barotseland is treated fairly and equitably in relation to other parts of the Republic.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A world without Susan

- A testimonial on the world of Kasisi children’s Home

There are places we walk to, not because we want to be there, but because our inner humanity draws us there. And there are worlds we come to belong, not because we belong, but because those in these worlds welcome us with heavenly grace. We come to dwell in these worlds, and we come to find in them a sanctuary of our troubled lives.

In our despair, troubles, and in our fear of losing our inner humanity, these worlds come to be a home in which we find love and understanding. But above all, it is in these worlds that we find inspiration and meaning to our existence. And that meaning, I have come to learn is simply a living cenotaph of what our inner humanity should be. Love of our fellow human beings. A love graced by God.

A love beyond words of tongue and pen.

Yes, a love that hangs timelessly in the starlit dark night during the nightmares of our despair, troubles and fears.

Through a calling that for years now, there are some that have tried in vain to understand and reason why they walked into such worlds. Looking back, they have no regrets that they did, even though sometimes it has hurt their social and professional relationships. Infatuation, obsession, are words many have come to use in their infantile attempt to understand why there are some that walk into such worlds and end up belonging.

What many of them do not understand is that we do not live our lives for ourselves. Our lives belong to God and all that he created in his image. And when we walk into worlds apart from ours, and in which we find inspiration, love and understanding, we should understand that our lives become a greater meaning beyond our fascination with ourselves.

We can not be, without being in another. Our world has no meaning if we do not listen to our inner humanity, for our inner humanity always dwells in worlds apart from us.

Yesterday, November 16, 2011, I attended a seraphic and melancholic burial service for Susan. It was unlike any other burial service, I have ever attended. There were no dressed up men and women in black. No loudly mourning women. No fancy long luxury car procession. And no expensive hearse carrying an expensive coffin. No open grave with marquees and chairs. No preacher men howling heavenly damnation on us.

And, yes. No somebodies, nobodies and jackanapes wanting to be remembered that they attended the burial service. In all the multitudes of somebodies, nobodies and jackanapes that attend many a funeral I have been to, only a smattering attends because their inner humanity drew them to the departed. For most it is merely a routine social ritual of “paying their respect”. “Paying ones respect”, is an adage I am yet to find meaning for.

Susan’s burial service was different. It was orphic, for Susan dwelled in a world apart from most of us. A world in which to most, our ability to dwell in our inner humanity is simply a delusion of our times of assumed understanding of the love of God.

As I watched the mother-provincial say the last prayers, and the children lay flowers on Susan’s small grave, I looked into the yonder blue skies with melancholic deference. I never knew I was so privileged to have happened to be in this world again.

In reminiscent moments of Susan’s world, I recalled the times Susan would smile at me in recognition. I recalled how in other lonely times and wishful longings, I would tell myself that tomorrow I will tell Susan to talk to me, stand up and walk with us. There were times, I thought of myself as having powers beyond humanity. And there was always the dream, that with God’s grace and the love in Susan’s world, tomorrow she will surely walk with us.

All her life, Susan did not talk, walk with us, nor did Susan ran and play with us. But Susan dwelled in a world that loved, cherished, and nurtured her. The inner humanity that dwells in her world, shone down on her like candlelight in a stormy dark rainy night. Sometimes, I think Susan beamed with an understanding and love that should surely draw us to realise that she was not asking for more.

Susan was happy.

In hindsight, it is me that is not happy, not Susan. Susan dwelled in a serene world, a celestial palimpsest of an inner humanity which many can not touch. My dreams of having Susan walk and run with us, were merely a futile aspiration of thinking my world is the world Susan also desired. How it be, I could be so wrong.

Indeed, how it be, I could no decipher the eternal meaning of children laying flowers on an unmarked small grave? How it be, I did not read in Susan’s smile that her world is as the world should be.

Yes, a world where our despair, troubles and fears dwell not in the sanctity of our inner humanity. That unknowingly we parade our despair, troubles and fears like clowns in a carnival, merely serves to enhance our inability to walk with the angels. Indeed, the parade merely serves to reflect our unreasoned fear of walking into better worlds.

Susan’s world is a world we can not live apart. It is our world. For Susan did not come from a God apart from us. Susan, like us, is a child of God, and her world is how our world should be.

Tomorrow, as we walk and run with those we so proclaim to love, let us know that if yesterday we did not dwell in Susan’s world, then we dwell not in the sanctity of God. We are merely a delusion of the inner humanity that God so bestowed on us.

To all those that came before me, and those that shall come after me, I call unto your inner humanity to realise that there can never be a world without Susan.

Susan is us, and may her soul rest in everlasting peace.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dora & Zamtel Inquiry - An Unnecessary Tautology?

Well, just when I was about to let my brain enjoy its stay outside my body, a perusal of the country's news media made me decide it is better solemnly admiring me from the outside. That way, I wont have to hit the keyboard with musical reason. Although, my brain is scary when outside my head, I am safer that way as I am protected from the many unreasoned innuendos friends make about my opinions. Hey, but do I care! Their opinions are theirs and I respect them, though some appear to be a majuscule exemplification of infantile reasoning.

And I assert this because it is clear in my mind that they do not know that we should treat those that disrespected us, tortured us, or maimed us, with dignity and respect. Not because we are afraid that if we did not, we too will be treated the same when our time comes. But because it is the only way, we can show that we are more humane than them.

I have no doubt in my mind that in their infantile reasoning the recognition of the inviolability of human dignity dwells beyond the stars. They can not touch. I wonder, if at any one point in their infantile reasoning and melancholic savouring of what they deem "our time to show/get them" they do recognise that courts of law provide even the most despicable criminal the human dignity because he or she is simply a human being.

And this bring me to the subject of this blog. I read that the Commission of Inquiry tasked to investigate the sale of Zamtel and Finance Bank (see end note 1) has asked Former Communications Minister Dora Siliya to appear before it and answer allegations levelled against her over the sale of Zamtel. Unfortunately, our obtuse media has so far not attempted to provide us what these allegations are this time round. In addition, a perusal of the relevant government agencies and State House website does not also provide information on this Commission.(Perhaps, I should learn to accept that we are not yet in the digital age).

So I beg to be allowed to surmise that it is the same allegations that led to the constitution of the Tribunal of February 25, 2009 appointed by the Chief Justice under Section 13 (3) of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, Chapter 16 of the Laws of Zambia following complaints lodged by William Harrington and a consortium of ten (10) NGOs.

The relevant allegation to today's Commission of Inquiry on Zamtel sale, I surmise is that Dora Siliya "against the advice of the Attorney General did award a contract of the sum of US$ 2,000,000 to R.P Capitals Partners of Cayman Island to value the ZAMTEL assets without due regard and / or compliance with the provisions of the Zambia National Tender Board Act, Chapter 394 of the Laws of Zambia"; and that, "she on December 22, 2008 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with R.P Capital Partners Limited on behalf of the Government of Zambia, against the Legal advice of the Attorney General’s chambers".

Further that, in so doing she breached Section 4 (a) and (c) of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act.

The Tribunal then made the following findings:
1. That allegation one which has been proved does not fall under Part II of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act.
2. That she breached Article 54 sub Article 3 of the Constitution.Article 54(3) provides that "Subject to the other provisions of this Constitution, an agreement, contract, treaty, convention or document by whatever name called, to which Government is a party or in respect of which the Government has an interest, shall not be concluded without the legal advice of the Attorney-General, except in such cases and subject to such conditions as Parliament may by law prescribe".

These allegations, can be argued to be fact and today we do not need parties to go to the Commission and sing the same dog eared song. The findings, though contested (as evidenced in the court cases that ensued) can provide a basis of today's inquiry.

Noteworthy, on the findings is that, I wrote at the time on this blog, in A Disfigurement of Political Opportunities, that it is surely a historic feat that Rupiah Banda can pick a hammer and hit the nail closing his own coffin. It is frightening that a leader can re-appoint a publicily (not legally) unaccepted person. The Dora Siliya re-appointment is amidst overwhelming public discontent with Rupiah Banda's leadership, and it surely is evidential of unfounded political arrogance. This is a time when the few good men left in our political governance institution of cabinet should show their moral mantle(if they do), by stepping down in disagreement with this one act of political foolery and arrogance... The question that begs to be answered and now left to innuendo and speculation is - Whose interests is Rupiah Banda really serving? (http://mbinjimufalo.blogspot.com/2009/06/disfigurement-of-political.html)

Today, if it is agreed that the findings of the tribunal are objective, then the question we should be asking is what is the recourse (see end note 2), and not allowing ourselves to have a circus of rhetoric. This only provides those submitting, the media space that they would otherwise not have.

In my warped perspective of this issue, I here assert that what today the country should be concentrating on, is whether Dora's actions constituted a criminal offence. And, I here hasten to assert that, this is not the purview of a Commission of Inquiry, unless, this one Commission can rationalise itself by adducing reason based on the gaps in the Tribunal and the court judgements that were made relative to this issue! To ask Dora to repeat herself, instead of seeking clarification as to what she may not have said at the time, can be argued to be a denial of rationality. So too, is having individuals submitting a dog eared repertoire of statements that are already known! And that such repetitions and dog eared repertoire of statements can be headline news is harrowing.

Thus, to ascertain that Dora's actions constituted a criminal offence, we need not look further than Section 99, Abuse of authority of office of the Penal Code Act of the Laws of Zambia. Section 99(1) provides that "Any person who, being employed in the public service, does or directs to be done, in abuse of the authority of his office, any arbitrary act prejudicial to the rights or interests of the Government or any other person, is guilty of a misdemeanour. If the act is done or directed to be done for purposes of gain, he is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years". And the provisions of the AC Act on Corrupt practices by,or with, public officers; Corrupt transactions by, or with,private bodies; Corrupt use of official power; and, Coercion of investor.

To which end, the reasoning that should rationalise any new inquiry or investigation in the Zamtel sale should be whether Dora acted in a manner prejudicial to the rights or interests of the Government and or whether in the Zamtel transaction there was personal gain that accrued to her. And this, is an interrogative framework for law enforcement agencies.

Thus, it can be arguable that the constitution of this Commission of Inquiry is simply an unnecessary tautology evidencing infantile fixation with the past. It is seriously time, law enforcement agencies and governance institutions in this country are allowed the professional space to provide answers to public officials behaviours deemed to be inimical to the State.

Commissions of Inquiries are quite often merely political opportunistic tools that simply serve to provide an assumption that a government is functioning. In addition, in an environment permeated with infantile reasoning, Commission of Inquiries can also be argued to serve to promote egoistic behaviours that in the long term negate the very essence of the Inquiry.

Let it not be undoubted that considering Dora's role in the Zamtel sale in a law enforcement interrogative framework will serve to enhance public confidence in law enforcement agencies, and indeed provide inarguable evidence of effective State functioning.

The bottom line, therefore, is that we should simply have let law enforcement agencies go to work and build a prima facie case against Dora!

Ciao. I can now allow my brain back outside my head. Good night.

End Note 1. Well, sale of Finance Bank has been reversed before the Commission submits its report. So I hope nobody will make submissions on this issue. Perhaps, then we will save public funds as the sittings will be brief.

End Note 2. Interestingly, in the recess of my memory there is a case of someone else signing an MoU on behalf of the State, but it was not an issue then. Wonder why?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Bankruptcy of Reason

Today, is yet another turning point in my attempt to understanding the African psyche, and in particular the so-called educated Zambians ability to reason. Another Task force on Corruption is emerging, and as I had said years ago, I say it again. "It is hogwash, especially if again we allow private individuals to pretend that they are the epitome of anti-corruption".

And in the normal bankruptcy of reason typic of so-called educated Zambians, I was put in a partisan box. "You are pro-RB, that is why you are against a task force".

Pity, is the only word on my mind. Pity. And deep down I ask myself, if ever in their melancholic times they remember Mukelabai Mukelabai. I guess they do not.

To argue against a failed path, does not necessarily mean one belongs to a particular interest group. Very often, I always ask myself why it is that humans can never accept that there are those that sit in the middle, and that it is these that provide objectivity to illogical derivations.

A task force with private individuals is not a panacea to corruption. It is merely a means of enriching a few non-state agents at the expense of diminishing confidence in often qualified public law enforcement and prosecution agents.

Lest we forget, the late President's Chiluba's immunity to criminal prosecution was lifted on the basis of mostly allegations that US $20.5 million dollars for arms purchases was diverted from the public coffers for personal benefit as the arms were never procured, and that in October 1997 a legally binding contract was entered into between the Zambian government and the Carlington Sales Company for supply of 100 000 metric tons of white corn at a cost of US$6 million, but the maize was never delivered!

In our dossier on corruption at that time, two interesting names had surfaced. These being Ari Beni Menashe and Katebe Katoto.

And based on our conviction that a President's alleged tango with such individuals provided adducible evidence of corruption, we marched to parliament to lobby for the removal of Chiluba's immunity.

For those that document events in our country, they will recall that they was conflict between State agents and private individuals as to how Chiluba should be charged. A conflict that was not necessary, as the grounds for lifting the immunity provided a basis on which the former President could be prosecuted.

A Task Force on Corruption was thus created. And the earlier grouping was premised on inter-agency law enforcement cooperation. Notable is that the then DPP, Mukelebai Mukelebai, initially chaired the Task Force. Qualified personnel to constitute a dedicated investigative team were seconded from the Zambia Police Service, Anti-Corruption Commission and other specialised agencies of Governments like Auditor General’s office, Bank of Zambia, Director of Public Prosecutions’ Chambers, Cabinet Office, Government Valuation Department and Zambia Intelligence and Security Services.

Unfortunately, it can be argued that an incumbent President appeared to be under siege, and thus the conflict resulted in a diligent Public Prosecutor being hounded out of office (despite an inquiry not finding him guilty of private interest alleged wrongful conduct).

A parody of anti-corruption emerged from the private interest, and indeed the pursuit of geopolitical interests from some western countries resulting in private individuals usurping Governmental functions. Individuals outside governmental frameworks even ended up signing Task Force MoUs with some Donor countries with the full knowledge that the Task Force on Corruption was not an agency that could appropriate public funds other than through cooperating agencies.

The end result was that Chiluba ended up in court being charged with crimes that were not entirely the basis of the removal of his immunity. The Ari Beni Menashe and Katebe Katoto alleged dealing never constituted cases against Chiluba!

Instead the Zambian populace and indeed the international community were treated to a repertoire of a plunder matrix (in part premised on the ZAMTROP account) that was reduced to several counts of theft by Public Servant Contrary to sections 272 and 277 of the Penal Code, Cap. 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

And of course the rest is history. However, the bottom line is the Task Force under Mwanawasa was inarguably a usurpation of State functions by the private interest, and this we today can not allow.

That there is a Task Force on Corruption to be created is not disputable, what is disputable is that Government does not necessarily need to create a Task Force in the lines of the one we experienced as a country. To even use the word Task Force on Corruption is preposterous!

The country's law enforcement agencies have cooperative frameworks defined under the National Anti-Corruption Policy of 2009. After all a declaration of anti-corruption cooperation was signed by law enforcement agencies in Siavonga in 2009.

To which end, it is incumbent on the current Government to show anti-corruption leadership by providing the political will and increased governmental support to law enforcement agencies within a governmental framework of a joint and cooperative investigation of any allegations of corruption by the ex-President and his ministers. Constituting a Task Force in the lines of the 2002 one is misplaced, and at most will merely serve to undermine the confidence of the country's law enforcement agencies in undertaking their work diligently and professionally.

Private interests and private individuals should be kept at bay, else as a country we are merely manifesting a bankruptcy of governmental reason!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thinking about Berlusconi

I think I have always known that Berlusconi is a political reality that is envied. Yesterday, I stood on the pedestal of reason and watched how those that believe only the media can raise their standing in society kowtow before another's self-interests. They thought theirs and his were one footpath, but alas how blind they are. Today, from the pedestal of reason I see a Berlusconi rearing its head in preparedness for the ultimate reach. Many have already taken up strategic positions, and this many, only those that think can decipher it is all part of the script written by Berlusconi. Come tomorrow, please do not say I never warned you

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A tragedy of governance reason

A look at President Michael C. Sata's top ministerial appointments, when compared to the last Cabinet is foreboding.

Ministry of Defence - Geoffrey B. Mwamba [Kalombo Mwansa]; Ministry of Finance - Alexander Chikwanda [Situmbeko Musokotwane]; Ministry of Home Affairs - Kennedy Sakeni [Mkhondo Lungu]; Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Chishimba Kambwili [Kabinga Pande]. I have no apologies to make, but the names in the parenthesis showed the Zambia my forefathers fought for. And that is a Zambia without ethical and regional hegemony in key areas of the governance of my country.

As a people, let us not bury our heads in the sand, and pretend the egression of ethnic and regional hegemony does not bemock the very essence our forefathers fought the Colonialists. That we have a vice-president of occidental descent is laudable, but that ethnic and regional representation is wanting, is a parody of a people's expectations. A tragedy of governance reason.

(first posted on FB wall on Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 01:48hours)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Not in our time, not on our watch

I hope Zambians are alert to the fact that private individuals that had usurped State power for private gain during the Mwanawasa era are now raising their tails pointedly high. "We have them in our palms," is the catch phrase some are now throwing around. Is this the change the people sought? The answer is a categorical no. We know as fact that some of them owe large amounts of monies; that illegal State institutions they once worked for have audit queries that we may now not have answers to; and, that some private financial institutions became public fiscal guardians merely to serve their interests. Unfortunately, this time there may not be CSOs organisations to protect the interests of the people as many are still drunk with unreasoned euphoria (from an CSO point of view). Please let us stand up, and say no. Not in our time, not on our watch. If private interests are allowed to be embedded in Michael C. Sata's presidency, then the aspirations of the people will inarguably be relegated to the ashes of history.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whose change is it?

Today, September 23, 2011 marks another milestone in the history of Zambia. An incumbent president has been unseated, and 20 years of a ruling party has come to an end. Inarguably, the incoming party, PF, is a semblance of the outgoing party as its founder and members are products of the MMD. But that is not, the subject of this blog.

The blog is about the change, I consistently heard being talked about. The lumpen proletariat, the youth, women and the poor, and indeed elements of the middle and upper class all talked about the need for change. But the question we should be asking amidst the euphoria is, whose change is it.

We must not delude ourselves in believing that the need for change is universal or is irrespective of class. Thus, I hope that the change we are about to witness is one that will result in the interests of the lumpen proletariat, youth, women, and the poor reigning supreme over the private interests that may want to usurp State power for private gain. We have witnessed the desperation of the private interests of the middle and upper class. It is imperative that the lower class maintains its expectations of change by keeping the private interests at bay.

For, I am certain it is not private interests that, lumpen proletariat, the youths, women and the poor voted for. The change they desire is a better life than the one they have had. A dignified life. But they too should exercise caution, as the dream can fade quickly, when the private interest pretends to have the same interest.

The upper class may talk the language of the lumpen proletariat, youth, women, and the poor, but they will never know the footpaths these groups walk, for theirs has always been a world apart. History, has never had individuals that live in walled mansions or drive luxury cars have their agendas commensurate with the poor or oppressed. So I sincerely hope, that as the youth, women and the poor celebrate they realise that those that often portend to walk with them, do not necessarily do so. It is their change, and their voice should not just end at disturbing my sleep. They should now strive to make democratic governance accountable.

Change is not limbus factuorum.

Laus Deo

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Waiting for William Banda

Today, August 27, 2011, ZNBC TV news showed some news items worthy comment.

The first, was the coverage of the President of Zambia, Rupiah Banda, at a traditional ceremony in Katete, and his vice, George Kunda, at a Church function in Mkushi. It was interesting to note that in both cases, the two did not use the occasions to campaign for themselves and indeed their party. Instead, they approximated the objectivity we so seek to observe when politicians are at forums that are non-partisan. In stating the foregoing, I know that MMD sycophants would overtly extol this objectivity. But I here hasten to argue that it is not just enough for the Presidency to recognise the difference between a political space and a non-political space. They should manifest this understanding to senior public officials. The Presidency should endeavour to implore senior public officials to discern the difference in a political governmental space and a non-political governmental space. Public officials operate in a non-political government space. To which end, at no point in time, should the citizenry be subjected to public officials having the phrases "MMD government or Rupiah Banda's leadership" in their vocabulary, publicly. (They can do that in the confines of their private spaces). Their's should simply be a vocabulary of "the government", and us the citizenry will of course know which government is being talked about.

Second, and inarguably the most critical, presently, was the news items on the need for non-violence behaviours as we head towards the September 20 General Elections. Moses Muteteka (MMD) and, Guy Scott and Given Lubinda (PF) publicly denounced violence and called on their respective cadres to refrain from violent behaviours. Moses went further to state that he will personally escort MMD cadres arrested for violence to prison, and that he will not visit them once in prison. Profoundly, Moses, Guy and Given all called for the police to carry out their law and order mandate professionally and in a non-partisan manner.

In addition, Guy asked the PF membership to always seek police intervention when threatened by other political party cadres. That an opposition party (PF) can ask its membership to always seek police intervention when threatened can be argued to evidence a recognition of the constitutional authority of the police in Zambia. The onus is now on the police to show the citizenry that indeed they have the constitutional authority to be non-partisan.

BUT, despite these welcome developments, there is William Banda, of the MMD in Lusaka. William is on record criticising violence and advocating violent retaliation in the same sentence". How he managed that, is a feat I am still trying to unravel.

William needs, to also, take to a public podium and denounce violence in categorical terms and not proclamations with claw-backs.

Mr William Banda, sir, we are waiting!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Long Road to Limbo?

Fencing the 20 years of Zambia’s democracy

Nearly 20 years ago on October 31 1991, Zambia emerged from a one-party State into a multi-party democratic State. Looking back, there is really nothing much to celebrate as the aspirations of the era to have come are yet to be realised.

Today, in my mind it seems much like all we did was increase the number of empty cans beating the same cacophony of “self-governance, democracy, at last”, and indeed the empty can drummers. The noise has got louder. The number of self-appointed connoisseurs of democratic knowledge and protectors of good governance has multiplied. And tragically, such connoisseurs have become a law onto themselves or simply continually engage in a repertoire of manoeuvres aimed at enriching themselves and or enhancing their socio-political standing in an information-deficient population under the pretext of being voices for the voiceless.

In all this, the fundaments of what we aspired for in 1991 have got so murky that it is clear our democratic experience is failing. There is no doubt in my mind that the period before September 20 should have been a time of serious objective introspection and better perspectives on the years to come. But, I know many only remember the worthless debate on 50 plus 1, which in my mind epitomised our traditional reverence of leaders! A president has to have political legitimacy, was the sour singsong, as if in a democracy only the legitimacy of a president matters. Sic. In any case, many self-appointed connoisseurs of democratic knowledge and protectors of good governance did not even read the Constitution of Zambia draft!

And of course, many will also remember the “private individuals” task force on corruption, that many did not realise was merely an unfortunate usurpation of State agencies’ powers by some individuals that deemed (and still do) themselves the perfect connoisseurs of anti-corruption. They will not even remember the lies that led to Mukelabai Mukelabai, an eminent public prosecutor, being hounded out of office.

Let us remind ourselves and acknowledge that the failure of democratic regimes in emergent democracies, like Zambia, has often been because of the rushed regimentation of western democratic ideals and economic paradigms on populations whose prevailing socio-economic and political context provides a perversion of the ideals and sustains an elite ruling class that preys on the populations’ economic malaise. This is not however, like I have consistently stated, to argue that democratic ideals and western economic paradigms are a failing in their entirety, but to affirm that any adoption or regimentation of any ideals and their subsequent sustenance has preconditions.

In Zambia’s context, such preconditions should have been a parallel process of streamlining State institutions tasked with State regulation (like the judiciary, parliament, the electoral commission) as a means of providing safeguards to the likelihood of perversion of the ideals and, more so as a means of securing the citizenry’s enjoyment of rights and freedoms of democratic ideals and practice. In addition, the observed creation of Donor driven parallel structures of public administration and governance (like Central Board of Health, RDA, et cetera), should have had a parallel reform of existing Public administration structures. E.g., we have RDA and we have Department of Roads!

In the nearly twenty years of multiparty democracy, the country has turned to gloom and a questioned hope for the majority of the people of Zambia. There are unstable governance frameworks, dysfunctional institutions, an unsure civil society, and a polarised media. The latter, today, evidences a private media that assumes it is puritanical, and a public media that can not differentiate between a party in Government and a Government. Well, I guess could be the public media do not realise that the one-party State ended 20 years ago, and so did the concept of the PIG! As for the puritanical private media, I will dwell on that later.

In introspecting the country’s democratic experience so far, it is inarguable that intra-party and inter-party political intolerance and lack of inclusiveness is threatening the gains of the democratic dispensation. While Zambia posses all the formal institutions of democracy, these institutions have remained empty shells failing to function effectively and provide the necessary checks and balances, mostly because the perversion of power is our fixated mental state.

Our fixation on perversion of power is so manifest even in our own small spaces of influences, to the extent that we are always quick to blame political leaders for our own failures and cowardice. We fear, even where there is no reason to. And we fear because we are not sure we are where we are because we deserve it!

The most salient failing in our democratic experience is the critical misunderstanding of democratic representation. There is a serious misnomer in this country that our political representatives, in particular members of parliament, are the epitome of knowledge on what we seek our country to be. It is this fallacy that led me to write somewhere; I do not remember where, that “In Africa, democracy often ends where it starts. The polling booth”. That, periodic elections in this country have failed to provide means of vertical and horizontal accountability that should prevent the abuse of power and misuse of authority, is mostly because of our fixated mental state on perversion of power, and indeed our failure to reason on democratic representation.

For instance, that members of parliament are representatives of different interest groups in a society is evidently an alien understanding for the majority of Zambians. Most Zambians, educated or not educated, hold the belief that MPs should solely initiate governance reform (development, legal and otherwise) without the interest groups lobbying for such reforms. What we forget, is that our MPs have no qualms sitting idle in parliament for five years doing nothing. After all, they are a power onto themselves that we have allowed.

In our nearly 20 years of democratic experience, we are misgoverned mostly because we do not know our relationships to people that represent us. The onus is not entirely on MPs to consult (why should they, when they are cosy!). It is the citizenry that should demand a return on their group interests as an exchange for choosing them as their representatives.

September 20, offers us an opportunity to walk a different road, a road away from a road to limbo. We have had opportunities to define a new road, but we have always been allowing narrow self-servicing interests to dictate the national agenda. And one opportunity, which I have consistently argued could have defined a road away from limbo, is the Constitution Bill. It is my firm belief that the 50 plus 1 “empty can rantings” were merely a paternalistic sophistry that hoodwinked most Zambians to the detriment of well intentioned Constitutional provisions, and indeed those that could have been suggested. The argument that 50 plus 1 safeguards a president’s political legitimacy is otiose. One of democracy’s principle tenets is equity in representation, and not mere majoritarianism, which 50 plus 1 is founded on. I argue, here, that today majoritarianism is the antithesis of democratic representation, and one of the major reasons of the failure of democracy in most emergent democracies.

Let us not forget that the most manifest dark side of democracy is legitimised mediocrity, through unreasoned adherence to majoritarianism. I say this, because I firmly believe majoritarianism is not a representative paradigm that takes into account human population diversity in space. In short, the legitimacy of a president is not about the number of people that voted for him or her, but the number of diverse human populations spaces that voted for him or her. That is, the proportions of diverse spaces should be what provide political legitimacy! Noteworthy is that, equity in representation is a democratic tenet that is also absent within our political parties.

Amidst all the political euphoria characterising our democracy at the ballot only, expected sustained parliamentary lobbies for social justice and good laws are yet to be a daily occurrence in this country. I seriously do not remember the last time, I saw an interest group lobbying at parliament in this country! Madam Lucy Sichone was the last person, I can remember doing so. Any way, she was the perfect epitome of civil society activism that the country has ever had. (Me, I use words of pen).

In retrospect, there is no doubt in my mind, that if as a people we do not have a mental shift in our perception of democratic representation, come September 20, the democratic experience of the last 20 years will simply be a long road to limbo!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Father & the Picture on My Wall

We all always have jaded memories of our parents. But in our revering our parents, we all always create such utopian parents that if they were still alive they would look like angelic fairies always holdings our hands and leading us to greener green gardens under which rivers always flow. My jaded memory of my parents only always comes into vivid focus when I reflect on their solemn moments, happy and sad times, and mostly the questions they always deferred to “when you are older I will tell you”. My father was the most ardent at giving this response, to the extent that it always became a chorus we sang for him whenever he scratched his heard before responding.

Mum is a memory of this pretty patrician black woman in whose bosom we would find warmth, and to whose skirts we would hold on to dear life when the man she called darling wanted to give us a serious spanking. It often did not take much to upset her darling. A simple omission like not watering the garden or even lazing in his favoured sofa, would invoke in him the sense that the wrath of his leather belt should descend on us. But, there was always mum’s skirt to intercede.

A vivid memory of mum are the times this sweet woman we loved so much would abandon us to go and work at a women’s group in the community distant from our middle class environment. Well, there were no upper class areas then. It was either you lived kumayadi, the low density green residential areas, or the compound, the high density not so green residential areas.

From our infantile rationalisations, it was not fair at all that mum would leave us to go and work in the compounds! But of course, in our minds, there were also the times this sweet woman turned into a hideous creature. Then, my father would be our darling too. These were mostly the times, she would holler so loud that our eye drums would nearly burst. All because we were still playing hide and seek or kicking the hide off a soccer ball way after dusk. She would round us up, march us into the bathtub, and give us a scrubbing that in our little minds felt like we would leave the bathtub without our skin. Our new darling would then come to soothe us with the chocolate sweets we had hoped he would give us when he knocked off from work.

Ah! In my mind it is clear how at other times the “chocolate sweet” saga unfolded. Sometimes after getting tired of kicking the hide off the soccer ball early, we would keep sentry on the plush porch, looking out for my father. We did not have prison-like wall fences then. A sighting would see us rush to the gate to greet my father, walk with him a bit hoping he will give us chocolate sweets. We always believed, we could smell them on him. When the sweets were not forthcoming, we would run into the house and crowd around his favourite sofa. The sofa always had a clandestine thing about it. And yet, when he walked in, his first destination was the kitchen.

We would sulk, walk out, and in the local language, say, "gosh that woman is a spoiler. Now she will ask if we have already bathed”. And my father would retort, "I don’t allow that criminal language in my house". Those were the days!

My father was a stern man, who seldom smiled, but liked the sound of his voice. His worst moments were when politicians came to visit our town. His position in the office always meant that he had to attend without fail, else the wrath of the Party would fall on him. And he would bulldoze us to accompany him. Did we glow, looking up at my father up on the podium, next to all those big Party comrades! Yet, he did not smile. If anything his face got sterner and contorted as if angry. It always got worse, when the political creatures from the Capital started eulogising nothingness for development. No different from the incident when one day my father came home seething, neck bursting to the seams.

“Woman,” he shouted at mum. “Some Party chairman and his cadres rudely walk into my office without knocking, to simply come and tell me that he has a report that I do not respect the President. Why? Because the President’s picture hangs behind my seat. What nonsense.” And he walked out ranting. The next we saw him was deep in the night, smelling like a brewery. The next day, he apologised to mum, and gave us a lecture on cretins pretending to work for the people. Why can’t they learn from Jesus, he surmised. Who exactly is this guy he always talks about, we would always ask ourselves. Whoever Jesus was, he seemed to be fixated in my father’s life.

That brings me to the few instances, my father smiled. The most vivid instances that seemed to light my father’s face like an angel were when in the presence of mum, and when in a huge building with frosted crystal-like glass and a huge cross on top. The huge building with frosted crystal-like glass and a huge cross on top is one building we dreaded. We associated it with early Sunday morning serious scrubbing from mum.

On Sundays, we would be frog matched proudly, in our Sunday best, to this monstrous building, inside was his favourite guy on the Cross. And when, the Hail Marias and Pater nosters started, my father would beam like a full moon on a dark night and hail along. The guy on the Cross always struck a weak cord in us. Despite looking eerily solemn and melancholic, it was always like he was calling out to us or even reading our thoughts at the time. He really made us very uncomfortable. We would look around agitated, wishing we were kicking the hide off the soccer ball, and not having some guy on the Cross interrogating our inner fears. We could never wait to bolt from the place.

On the way back home, we would ask my father who the solemn looking person on the Cross was. “Jesus, and he loves you”, he would reply, lovingly patting our heads. “But why is he on the Cross”, my elder brother would ask. “He is the son of God, and he was crucified. He loves us so much that he decided to die for our sins”.

“Who is God?”
“Papa, what is sin?”
“And what kind of guy would want to die for all of us?”
“Come on papa, how can someone love people he does not know?”

The questions would rain on him like rain falls during a thunderstorm. In his usual manner, my father would resort to the best answer he seemed to always have.

“When you are older I will tell you”. As we entered the teens, my father tried to explain, but it all always seemed like a fairy tale. God, Jesus, mother Mary seemed so distant to our reality as children. If anything, Church was just a building where, every Sunday, adults like my father dragged children to against their will.

Many years later, in my adulthood, my father, then retired, came visiting. I had just moved into my flat. It was still scantily furnished. In the living room, there were only two stringy straw chairs, two three-legged traditional stools, a heavily tobacco stained coffee table, a poorly stocked bookshelf, and a television set on the floor. On the wall behind the television set, hang a picture of an iconic person whose story I held in awe. I even had several books on him. In the few times I sat pretending to watch TV, I think I spent more time looking at the picture than watching TV.
It is an inspirational picture, this picture on my wall.
The distance he stares at. The dreams of freedom he longed for peoples of all creed.
This picture on my blank wall is a melancholic palimpsest of the road I walk. I see so much pain, I see so much sadness. If only.

My father sat in one of the stringy straw chairs, beaming like he was sitting in a King’s throne. Little did he know that I was worried sick that he might want to spend the night. The flat was gravely Spartan that the beds were simply cheap single mattresses on the floor, and it was only two bedroomed. My sister was staying with me at the time.

From the stool, I cringed and watched him. He, strangely, did not talk much. He just sat straight-backed, pensively looking at the picture above the TV set. Later, he continued looking at the picture as he ate his super.

When it dawned on me that he was indeed spending the night, I offered him my room. It was going to be a rough night, as I would have to sleep on the floor.

“And where are you going to sleep?” He asked.
“Don’t worry dad, I will manage,” was my sheepish reply.
“Hey I am lean. I won’t take much space in your bed,” he simply replied, laughing. “You do not need to be ashamed that you think you do not have enough to share. I say this because you do, but in your heart you deny it.” He added.

Indeed that night my father and I spent the night on the single mattress on the floor! And he slept so peacefully that I did not even feel he was in my bed. I spent most of the night thinking I need to do something about my Spartan existence.

When I woke up, my father was already in the living room.

“There are people who are much worse off than you, my son,” my father simply said, immediately I walked into the living room. He, then again, pensively locked his eyes on the picture above the TV set.

“Who is he?” He asked.
“Ernesto Che Guevara,” I proudly replied. My father did not know Che!
“Why is he on your wall?” I explained.
“And he left his well-off life to fight for others?”
“Indeed.”
“Then I know him, too.”
“You do?” My father did not answer. He paused and asked another question instead.

“How can someone love people he does not know?” My father suddenly asked. The ground below me seemed to give in. I looked away, remembering a time when I had asked the very same question.

“He may not be Jesus, but at least from what you have told me, his ways could be admirable. Humane, but he can not be Jesus,” my father solemnly said.

Later in the day, he bid us farewell, and his departing words till today always hang around my deepest thoughts.

“Are your ways like the man on your wall,” he had asked. “As humans, do we really care for those we do not know? He had added.

My father, always an enigma, a solemn reminder of our deepest fears. We are always afraid to care beyond those we know, beyond those we love. And yet we claim to know God.

The guy on the Cross in the building of my childhood Sundays is a testament of what our existence should be. A greater love beyond our inner fears that we should know we can be able to love beyond those we know. That tomorrow we should look back and say: “Those are my footprints, and many that could not walk with me, that fell besides me, and those that came after me found the footprints to be the light that shone an existence of hope for them”.

That if, tomorrow my father walked with me again, I would proudly say: “I now know love.”

And I write this today, because looking back I now know my father and the picture on my wall revealed a truism by which we should all live. That is, my father is an anachronism, whose meaning is only deciphered today. And, Jesus the son of God that was fixated in my father’s life is a testimony whose meaning lives beyond time, and indeed beyond our religious affiliations, for love has no religious hegemony.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Baroste Question - Ashes of History

A paper presentation to the CPD National Conference
on Traditional Authorities, Decentralisation and Rural Development
Lusaka, Zambia
February 28 – March 1, 2011

“It must always be understood that humans are an inconsistent phenomenon.
They exhibit unreasoning behaviours with or without socio-cultural structure and norms, but tending to exhibit more unreasoning behaviours when there is a breakdown in the socio-cultural structures and norms.”


1.0 INTRODUCTION
Gerald Caplan in his book “Elites of Barotseland” observes that “Barotseland had existed as an independent national entity long before the creation of Northern Rhodesia, and was legally and historically entitled to maintain or dissolve the attachment as its people wished”. The underlying assumption inherent in this assertion is that Barotseland self-rule is an inviolable entitlement that the people of Barotseland have held over time. The continuance of this entitlement before the independence of the then Northern Rhodesia, and amalgamation of Barotseland into the State of Zambia, is evidenced in the Barotseland Agreement of May 18, 1964.

However, the Barotse Question or the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement, today, merits interrogation as to the validity of the nature of influences that determine when the Barotse “people’s wishes” necessitate assertion of self-rule as presumed to be promulgated in the Agreement. Dissent to a sense of belonging to a State has myriad reasons. Dominant of them however are sustenance of a sense of belonging to a historically and colonially recognised traditionally defined nationhood; and a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation) in the post-colonial State, which in Africa is sometimes simply an assemblage of ethnic groups that were defined as a nation by the colonial masters.

Arguably, a dichotomous citizenry has always emerged in post-colonial States in Africa. On one hand, is the citizenry whose sense of belonging to the new State is subsumed more by their allegiance to the traditionally defined nationhood or authority; and on the other, are the citizenry whose sense of belonging to the new State is subsumed more by a sense of socio-economic and political inclusion. In Zambia, the former are mostly the rural populations who live in areas where traditional authority is still the dominant governance authority with respect to livelihood entitlements. And, the latter are the urban populations who live in areas where statutory authority defining the State is dominant.

Undoubtedly, in a democracy like Zambia there is supposition that both ends of the citizenry dichotomy have controlling influence on the decisions and affairs of government, and that there will be equitable and equal socio-economic development. To which end, dissent to a sense of belonging to a State premised on a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation) should not arise. Yet, in the Barotse Question it has!

Thus, this paper in re-examining the argument for the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement, seeks to provide a dialectical framework for interrogating emergent and or post- colonial States’ democratic governance representation within a dichotomous citizenry. The paper, further, endeavours to provide a framework for a desirable political governance mode likely to mitigate influences that can likely determine when a “people’s wishes” necessitate assertion of self-rule or secession.

The succeeding section of this paper provides a brief historic chronology on the Barotseland quest for self-rule, and then the salient features of the Barotseland Agreement. The third section interrogates the re-emergence of the Barotse Question within the assumption of a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation), based on a poverty-State Governance representation comparative assay. The fourth section discusses the quest for the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 by interrogating whether it is merely a quest for self-rule, preservation of a monarchy or federalism. This is attempted by considering the underlying political governance paradigms of the terms of the Agreement. The fifth section questions whether the Barotse Question provides governance re-think or it is merely ashes of history, and presents the likely opportunities and lessons of the Barotseland Agreement for the country’s governance re-think. The last section is the conclusion.

2.0 THE QUEST FOR SELF-RULE AND THE BAROTSELAND AGREEMENT
In discussing the Barotse Question due recognition should be made of the fact that in pre-colonial times only a few of Zambia’s ethnic groups had politically centralised chieftainships with developed bureaucracies (Roberts 1976). The Lozi Kingdom or what is referred to as Barotseland can be argued to have been the most politically centralised and socio-culturally coherent, and thus that its people have always had a sense of Lozi national consciousness.

The Lozi Kingdom evolved out of a citizen and subject paradigm, where the Aluyi or Luyanas subdued or coerced other groups in most of Western Zambia , and created extensive spheres of influence and also often posted consuls to other neighbouring ethnic groups. The governance modes among the subdued and or coerced groups were based on the political institutional structures of the central authority of the Litunga. Governance inclusiveness, was however, practiced as all subjects had representation in spiritual, military and judicial roles, although supremacy of aristocratic heredity reigned.

A notable manifestation of Lozi national consciousness is June 27 1890, when King Lewanika I and the British South Africa Company signed the Frank Lochner Treaty , which made Barotseland a British protectorate. The Lochner Treaty to a considerable extent diminished Lozi autonomy.

And probably, this lose of autonomy could be the genesis of the quest for self-rule that has been evidenced overtime with first the British South Africa Company (BSAC), then the British colonial administration, and subsequent post-colonial governments of Zambia.

For instance in 1907 , King Lewanika requested the British Government that Barotseland protectorate be removed from North Western Rhodesia and company rule and be given the same status as Bechuanaland (Botswana). This request was denied by Lord Selborne, the British High Commissioner in Cape Town.

The most profound quest for self-rule was in 1921, when King Yeta III presented Prince Arthur of Connaught, the new High Commissioner, a petition that, in the main, demanded direct rule of the Imperial Government as a protected native state over the entire territory known as Barotseland North-Western Rhodesia; that all concessions granted to and agreements concluded with the BSAC be cancelled; and that, the Barotse reserve be extended to include two further areas, that is Caprivi Strip and the land from the headwaters of the Dongwe river down to where the Anglo-Portuguese boundary cuts the Zambezi river .

In 1932, the Barotse Royal Establishment held discussions with the Governor at the Colonial Office on the quest for Barotseland being a separate Native State. The discussions, again, did not yield the desired quest for self-rule. The subsequent years evidenced a plethora of demands and discussions for self-rule and restoration of the boundaries of Barotseland . Thus, in June 1948, the Barotse National Council demanded that there should be self-governing status for the Barotseland protectorate.

A phantasma of self-rule was attained in 1953, when Barotseland was declared a ‘protectorate within the protectorate’, during the processes of the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. In addition, Barotseland’s sovereignty was recognised in section 112 of the Constitution of Northern Rhodesia. This section asserted Barotseland’s protection against alienation of any part of the territory except with the consent of the Litunga and his council. In this respect, it is often argued that King Sir Mwanawina III accepted the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland as the constitutional provisions enhanced Barotseland’s quest for self-rule.

In 1957, the Barotse Native Government through its National Council resolved that Barotseland should secede from the Federation and remain under the protection of Her Majesty’s Government in line with the 1900 Agreement should the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland be allowed to proceed to independence .

In the following year, 1960, a demand for secession from Northern Rhodesia and the Federation was instituted by the Barotse National Council, with an attendant demand that there should be a proclamation that Barotseland protectorate should be directly under the British government. To which end, it is imputed that Ngambela Imasiku said the following:

“We do not consider ourselves a part of Northern Rhodesia or as a protectorate within a protectorate. We are a different country and a different people. We have our own government.”

Thus, in 1961 Barotseland secession demands submitted to the Colonial Secretary and to the Northern Rhodesia Government mostly affirmed Barotseland’s right to self-rule and independence, and consequently that they should no longer be control of Barotseland by the Northern Rhodesia Government.

Noteworthy, is that protestations for Barotseland self-rule continued up to Zambia’s independence and even after the promulgation of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, as the post-colonial government of Zambia in its nation-State building process enacted and made proclamations that likely abrogated the obligations and rights contained in treaties and concessions between the British government and Barotseland protectorate.

The Barotseland Agreement of May, 1964 between “Kenneth David Kaunda, Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia of the one part and Sir Mwanawina Lewanika the Third, K.B.E., Litunga of Barotseland, acting on behalf of himself, his heirs and successors, his council, and the chiefs and people of Barotseland of the other party is signed by the Right Honourable Duncan Sandys, M.P Her Majesty's principal secretary of state for common wealth relations and for the colonies, to signify the approval of her majesty's government in the united kingdom of the arrangements entered into between the parties to this agreement” provided the governance and legitimacy framework for the creation of the independent sovereign State of Zambia.

The salient features of the Agreement are a definition of the terms under which the Litunga of Barotseland assented to Barotseland protectorate’s amalgamation with Northern Rhodesia protectorate to create the new nation-State called Zambia.

Dominant of which are the continued protection and respect by the government of Zambia of the obligations and rights contained in treaties and concessions between the British government and Barotseland, and that the “customary law of Barotseland shall be the principal local authority for the government and administration of Barotseland” , and that the Litunga of Barotseland, acting after consultation with his Council, shall be authorised and empowered to make laws for Barotseland in relation to the matters that include the Litungaship; the Barotse Government; local government land; forests; traditional and customary matters relating to Barotseland alone; the institution at present known as the Barotse native treasury; and local taxation.

In retrospect, the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 is inarguably an inherent quest for Barotseland self-rule premised on chiefly the sense of belonging to a historically and colonially recognised traditionally defined nationhood, and the consequent sense of Lozi national consciousness.

3.0 BAROTSELAND, POVERTY AND GOVERNANCE REPRESENTATION
Notwithstanding the foregoing arguments on the Barotse Question rationalised by the sense of Lozi national consciousness, the re-emergence of the Barotse Question, however, is seemingly premised on the assumption of a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation). This assumption is based on the observation that most pronouncements, proclamations, and reasons for dissent, today, direct one's attention to the evident poverty and underdevelopment in Western province or Barotseland.

That Western province is the poorest and least developed province in Zambia, is not a subject of debate. But, it should also be acknowledged that all rural Zambia has comparatively been neglected for sometime in our country’s development history, is also not a subject of debate.

What is debatable and what citizen’s should question given today’s worrisome polarity of our political space is the legitimacy of criticisms of the causes of poverty and underdevelopment in rural parts of our country. Rural underdevelopment in Zambia is not a partisan question.

The objective facts of poverty in Zambia, for instance in the period 1991 to 2006, show that the incidence of poverty is characteristic of all rural provinces, as evident in Table 1.0 below.

Table 1.0 Incidence of Poverty by Province, 1991 - 2006
[NOTE:DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION AT http://kasisichildren.org/Barotse.pdf to view Tables and Figures in this paper]
(Source CSO, Living Conditions Monitoring Survey, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2004 and 2006)

It is inarguable from Table 1.0, that Western province has over time had the worst levels of poverty, but so do other rural provinces in the country. This trend is similar even when indices like employment levels, literacy, or nutritional status considered, as for instance the case in Figure 1.0 on nutritional status of children.
[NOTE:DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION AT http://kasisichildren.org/Barotse.pdf to view Tables and Figures in this paper]

It is clear that these statistics show a rural-urban dichotomy relative to the social-economic status the country’s population. In short, rural Zambia has always been short-changed!

The question then is why is this so, if we hold valid the assumption that “access to positions of political and administrative power is important for competing social groups in that it provides them with visible recognition, a ‘say’ in decision making and control over government resources” .

In this respect, can it be assumed that rural populations are underrepresented in our democratic governance representative framework? Or can it be assumed that inequities in governance representation at the national level have produced inequalities at the regional levels?

On the contrary, Lindemann’s (2010) governance representative indices by regional groupings and or ethnic groupings in periods of the years 1964 to 2008 do not show significant ethnic marginalisation, though variances are observable. Figures 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 provide an illustration of the foregoing.
[NOTE:DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION AT http://kasisichildren.org/Barotse.pdf to view Tables and Figures in this paper]

The succeeding, Table 2.0, Figures 6.0 and 7.0 show political power sharing as indicative of the composition of the civil service, measured by the inter-group distribution of permanent secretary positions.

[NOTE:DOWNLOAD PDF VERSION AT http://kasisichildren.org/Barotse.pdf to view Tables and Figures in this paper]

Inarguably the foregoing illustrations show that governance representation in Zambia has been void of inequities likely to cause ethnic dissent in the dominant ethnic groups. And that admittedly, this has been a result of Kenneth Kaunda’s policy of ‘tribal balancing’, and its continuance, though, with varying degrees during subsequent presidencies.

The objective facts of this representativeness is a trend that is not commensurate with the obtaining poverty levels in rural Zambia, as most ethnical groups have had relatively equitable representativeness, and yet the evident results of this equitable representativeness is abject poverty for most of the populations in rural Zambia.

Therefore, it can be argued that in Zambia, horizontal equality at the ‘elite level’ has produced horizontal inequalities at the mass level. To which end, the assumption that “leaders with access to positions of state power will tend to redistribute to their ‘own’ social groups” , as the mainstream argue on the case of poverty in Western province is sophism.

In addition, that the re-emergence of the Barotse Question can be attributable to a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation), is merely a travesty of reason or grave sophism. The Barotse Question can arguably be more rationalised by the sense of belonging to a historically and colonially recognised traditionally defined nationhood, and the consequent Lozi national consciousness.

Admittedly, and not withstanding the foregoing, the Barotse Question has over the years been used as a tool for a more representative national governance mode. Thus, a see-saw semblance of Barotse sentiments is evident whenever Lozis feel marginalised.

For instance, Sichone and Simutanyi (1996) observe that when Lozi political leaders were marginalised in the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and the subsequent composition of government during Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba ascension to power, there was a re-emergence of demands for the restoration of regional autonomy under the Barotseland Agreement, in addition to the creation of a Lozi-based political party .


4.0 A QUEST FOR SELF-RULE, PRESERVATION OF A MONARCHY, OR FEDERALISM
However, the Barotseland Agreement when dialectically interrogated manifests a superfluity of governance paradigms. The paradigms are either a quest for self-rule, preservation of a monarchy, or federalism .

The quest for self-rule is manifest in the affirmation of asserting protection and respect by the government of Zambia of the obligations and rights contained in treaties and concessions between the British government and Barotseland protectorate, which duly recognised that Barotseland was an autonomous colonised nation within another colonised nation.

Further, the Agreement’s affirmation that the “customary law of Barotseland shall be the principal local authority for the government and administration of Barotseland”, and that the Litunga of Barotseland, acting after consultation with his Council, shall be authorised and empowered to make laws for Barotseland, evidences recognition of a monarchic form of governance as kingship is duly asserted. Due recognition should however be made that Barotseland had over time developed an inclusive form of traditional governance, despite royal heredity being supreme to the subjects .

But, notable is that, the Agreement also provides the government of Zambia sovereignty over Barotseland on the administration of justice ; the public service ; fiscal responsibility, administration and economic development of Barotseland ; and leasehold land administration .
Inarguably, the recognition of Barotseland quasi-sovereignty as manifest in the Agreement’s recognition of self-rule and a preservation of a monarchic governance system, and the delegation of powers to the central government over certain matters in Barotseland, provides a dichotomy of governance. Thus, the superfluity of governance paradigms from the Barotseland Agreement can be inferred to be twofold: self-rule and a monarchy; and, federalism .

In short, the character of the State of Zambia that should have evolved out of the Barotseland Agreement is a federal state . In this respect, an attempt should be made to understand the quest for self-rule in this context. In any case, for traditionalists, the sense of belonging to a historically and colonially recognised traditionally defined nationhood, and the consequent Lozi national consciousness, dates far beyond the Frank Lochner Treaty of 1890.


5.0 ASHES OF HISTORY OR A GOVERNANCE RE-THINK
The Barotse Question is characteristically a historic cohesive group dissent founded on ethnic nationalist consciousness very much different from other Zambian ethnic groups. The contemporary quest for the restoration of the Barotse Agreement provides a governance rethink. It is a framework for interrogation of governance modes of self-rule existing within a federal state.

However, it should be acknowledged that the Barotse Question’s perseverance is sustained by the dichotomous nature of political governance in Zambia, which is rooted in the country’s State-building process. The country’s political governance has evolved from a pendulum of polarity between traditionalists and nation-State building advocates or what have been termed nationalists.

There always have been the traditionalists and the nationalists, and this has historically being more pronounced in Western province, than in any other province in Zambia. Whereas the traditionalists sought to preserve their customary and or traditional authority over their subjects within an independent State, the nationalists (mostly urban subjects) favoured the creation of a more cohesive State that recognised boundaries of colonial domination of peoples with similar aspirations, traditions and culture.

Thus, although traditionalists perceived African nationalism as a challenge to their autonomy and privilege (Sichone and Simutanyi, 1996) , the resulting democratic governance modes in post-independent Zambia though recognising the polarity, created a dichotomous governance system that usurped most of the traditionalists autonomy and privilege. Consequently, the resulting political governance has been one of political and public service elitism, which has not served the socio-economic interests of most of the populations in rural Zambia that still live under traditional modes of governance.

An assumption made about Zambia’s contemporary political governance is that it necessitates that the people have controlling influence on the decisions and affairs of government; and that, the people are supreme to government” . However, it is clear that this chosen polity has not allowed citizenry controlling influence on the decisions and affairs of government despite near equitable representation in governance, as it does not reconcile the country’s governance dichotomy.

In this respect, the Barotse Question is not ashes of history, nor is it an inane emotional attachment to historical romanticism. Its re-emergence, can in part, be attributable to the usurpation of the traditionalists autonomy and privilege during the country’s State-building process.

The governance re-think premised on the opportunities the Barotseland Agreement provides, here makes the assumption that:
(a) The country’s political and public service elites have not substantively equitably determined development entitlements; and that,
(b) There is no elite bargaining based on social group or regional representation.

The Barotse Question lends credence to the fact that historical events shape inter-regional relations within a centralised State. Thus, this paper argues that the Barotse Question provides the State of Zambia the opportunity for a non-dichotomous governance system, which can integrate traditional and customary governance frameworks under which the majority of the rural populations exist.

A governance re-think premised on the Barotse Question is simply an affirmation of the need for equitably determined development entitlements, and elite bargaining based on social group or regional representation. After all, every region has its own history, traditions and culture, in addition to peculiar political, social and economic problems.

Thus, the Barotse Question’s derived governance paradigm is one of inclusive models of political governance structures of devolution of power, as a means of allowing for more regional representative structures of government. This is in recognition of the argument that the Barotse Question also provides a framework for reconciling the historic divide between political elites and traditionalists.

And the derivative political governance paradigm from the Barotse Question is federalism with its consequent self-rule for the regions .

Federalism is a reconciliatory political governance structure that recognises historic, traditional and cultural diversity. It is a governance paradigm that can provide government space for statutory institutionalisation of traditional and customary authority, which is inarguably integral to the Barotse Question.

Notable is that, federalism provides equitable local and central political and administrative representation, which is critical for populations characterised by historic, traditional and cultural diversity.

6.0 CONCLUSION
In retrospect, although this paper argues that the Barotse Question is rationalised by a people’s sense of belonging to a historically affirmed monarchic nation, it has also asserted that the Barotse Question should serve to provide a dialectic framework for interrogating political and public service governance representation within a dichotomous population.

The paper has shown that equities in governance representation at the national level have not produced equalities in socio-economic development at the regional levels. To which end, the paper has argued that economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation) can not be attributed to the contemporary re-emergence of the Barotse Question, but that it is more a product of the country’s dichotomous political governance that does not provide adequate regional political and administrative space to traditionally and culturally diverse social groups.

Thus, the paper has argued that federalism can provide a governance paradigm that can mitigate influences that can likely determine when a “people’s wishes” necessitate assertion of self-rule or secession, as it is a reconciliatory paradigm of the historic divide between political elites and traditionalists.

In conclusion, it is here argued that the Barotse Question should never be reduced to a mere political exercise of gaining political competiveness, as the underlying causes of the re-emergence of dissent on the Barotseland Agreement are historic and, in part, inherent in the contradictions of political governance representation and rural poverty.

The Barotse Question is a product of the rural poverty vis-à-vis political governance representation disconnect evident in Zambia. It is not a parody for political opportunism!



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