Sunday, December 30, 2012

In the Fog of the Year


2012 is coming to a close and looking back on the political and economic governance this year, one is left wondering as to what exactly happened to a people. 2012 in my mind has merely been a year of political verbal ornamentation to a scale never witnessed before. There has been a significant variance between what is vehemently proclaimed and what is experienced.

This is a year in which there has not been much evidence of adherence to process and procedure. The rule of law has just been an alien concept. Process and procedure has always been proclaimed, but never evidenced. This, we here illustrate by acknowledging that a country is governed through rules and regulations which define process and procedure. Noteworthy is that such rules and regulations are embodied in policies, laws and institutions. Some principal tenets in these rules and regulations are the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, the sanctity of the autonomy of oversight institutions and the judiciary, the separation of powers, and protection of the State from conflict of interest behaviours in persons holding public authority.

Further, the rule of law provides that they have to be respect for all law and that all individuals are held equal before the law. In addition, and that State Agencies and officials must be held accountable to the law.

First, the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms as provided in the Constitution of Zambia, have consistently been desecrated. This is to the extent that one can perhaps argue that the current Government’s understanding of the inviolability of the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms is a simile of Otto von Bismarck’s remark of “a piece of paper with negro crosses beneath[1], in contempt of the treaties between Carl Peters and local chiefs in Tanzania.

Article 20 of the Constitution of Zambia guarantees the protection of freedom of expression. Thus, when one holds an opinion on the governance of the country, this Right guarantees that such a person can communicate such opinion without interference from the State or any other person or group of persons. Unfortunately in this year, this has been severely violated. To which end, we here vehemently argue that there is a deliberate attempt to cow dissenting views into silence. We have witnessed State agents, (like the Government spokesperson) denigrate citizens for simply expressing concerns with the manner in which we are being governed. Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) leaders have been publicly rebuked for exercising this right. NGOs are now under threat of deregistration for doing the same.

In similar circumstances, we have evidenced draconian directives that no one, no NGO can have a consultative forum on the Constitution without the supervision of the Technical committee of the Constitution review process. And we have evidence of a Minister issuing instructions that those who will do so should be arrested. Arrested for what? Since when did organising citizens to openly discuss a Constitution constitute a crime? Which law stipulates this? Clearly this Government seems not to know that, it is when Governments are not challenged, that impunity and violation of human rights become a norm.

In addition, on freedom of expression we were told the public media will operate freely and without interference from the State. The population experienced mealie meal and fuel shortages, and near stroke effects of consistent power outages, but the public media deemed this not newsworthy. How then is it possible that a free public media could not, for instance, communicate timely the ravages of mealie meal price increases on the population?

Further, freedom of assembly has also been violated. Opposition political parties no longer had rallies as the police always argued that the security situation is not conducive to allow groups of persons to assemble. Yet at no point did the police explain to us exactly what security situation was not conducive.  

Second, this is a year in which, as a people we witnessed unprecedented levels of ethno-regional biases in appointments to public office. It seemed nepotism and not meritocracy can be argued to be the rule and not the exception!

Sycophantic affirmation of membership of the ruling party for most rogue and unqualified individuals guaranteed them employment in a Public Body or Agency. Such individuals were employed without due process and procedure. We really do not recall, seeing any advertisements for employment to which these individuals responded. Employing unqualified individuals without due process and procedure simply because such individuals are strong members of a ruling party is clearly abuse of authority of office.  This is because such acts are arbitrary and can be prejudicial to the interests of the country. The work returns from these individuals near zero. They are merely an unnecessary public cost. We are a poor country, and it is indefensible that tax payers should bear the cost of political appeasements, without due returns on labour.

Inarguably, for a Public Body or Agency to employ an individual simply because of political party affiliation and without due process and procedure (and indeed the lack of transparency), is discriminatory. Article 23(2) of the Constitution of Zambia Act provides that “a person shall not be treated in a discriminatory manner by any person acting by virtue of any written law or in the performance of the functions of any public office or any public authority”.  In short, a Public Body or Agency should not employ individuals simply because they belong to a ruling party. Sic.

We also witnessed appointment of qualified individuals to Public Bodies or Agencies, where due process and procedure dictates that such positions be advertised by the respective institution. And that, the Board will subsequently recommend the individual they deem successful. This did not happen, in most cases, as no Boards were constituted timely, and there are public agencies which still do not have Boards.

Third, the much prophesied Constitution through use of a Technical Committee of Experts (though there are different interpretations as to the nature of the experts), is still in Draft form. The Draft is unfortunately a piece of work that defies even the simplest definition of a Constitution. Instead of enhancing limitation of executive powers, the Experts seem to have merely played to the dictates of the contemporary intents of political and governance hegemony. For instance, just because the President has been creating unplanned provinces, the Experts provide a perfect repertoire in the Draft.  And on Provincial Assemblies, the Experts provide derogations to the right to participate in one’s democratic governance. Elective membership to a provincial assembly they suggest, has to be by belonging to a particular defined organisation. Meaning if one does not belong to the defined group, he or she has no right to seek to represent others!

Much has been written about the Draft, with imminent persons like Muna Ndulo providing us the most illuminating critique. But the biggest sore, is its voluminous nature resulting from the attempt to include all sundries of governance provisions, when such sundries could have been left to merely be Acts of Parliament. Perhaps, the Experts in their good sense deemed it fit that, since the Draft has to be subjected to a consultative process, they might as well provide us a Draft that can not stand the test of public consultative scrutiny. We are not surprised, then that, we have to be supervised when discussing it!

Fourth, presidential actions so far show that institutions of governance and development are redundant. This is a year in which the President has seized and taken control of, without legal authority, a respective public body. The case of Road Development Agency (RDA) here clearly comes to mind. Surely, if the President deems that his appointed Minister or other public officer is inadequate, the expected norm is that the President should simply dismiss such an individual and not to usurp the responsibilities of such individuals or Body. RDA is created by an Act of Parliament, which is the Public Road Act No. 12 of 2002. In section 4(4) under functions of the Agency, the law stipulates that “the minister (not President) may give to the Agency such general or specific directions with respect to the carrying out (of) the functions of the Agency under this Act as the Minister may consider necessary and the Agency shall give effect to such directions”. 

Such actions are being witnessed, perhaps because we have a presidency’s advisory services populated with individuals from an extended ménage that have no known portfolio in governance and development advisory. Or could it be, we are evidencing a presidency that uses inadequacies in political appointees as a means of more control over them?

But tragic of all, is that on this one issue, we had the Speaker rule that, government has the prerogative to establish and dissolve government ministries and departments subject to approval by Parliament. We wish to argue here that, possibly the Speaker was not aware that unlike ministries, RDA is a creation of an Act of Parliament, and as such government could have legitimately and legally exercised its “prerogative” by amending the law. But this till today, has not been done. This makes the President’s act ultra vires. Period.

2012 is also a year in which we witnessed a President that proclaims anti-corruption erroneously defend an erring Minister. The President’s assertion that by law the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is supposed to get permission from him to investigate any senior government or party official is deficient. Such law or provision of the law does not exist in the Anti-Corruption Act No 3 of 2012. The Anti-Corruption Act in section 5 provides that “Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Commission shall not, in the performance of its functions, be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority”. This surely includes an absence of control by the President[2]!

Irrespective of how we argue this one incident, the objective facts that emerged later are that the Minister at the centre of this storm did in fact commit an offence, even if it were that he was not involved in a corrupt act. The Minister of Justice publicly admitted that he was offered a bribe, which he did not accept. Section 39 of the Anti-Corruption Act, provides that “A public officer to whom any gratification is corruptly given, promised or offered shall make a full report of the circumstances of the case to an officer of the Commission or a police officer within twenty-four hours of the occurrence of the event, and if the public officer fails to do so without reasonable cause, commits an offence and is liable, upon conviction, to a fine not exceeding two hundred thousand penalty units or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years, or to both”[3]

Where it to be argued the contrary, that is he could not be deemed a public officer at that material time, he still did commit a felony. This is because, section 393 of the Penal Code Act states that "Every person who, knowing that a person designs to commit or is committing a felony, fails to use all reasonable means to prevent the commission or completion thereof, is guilty of a misdemeanour”.

Such incidents really stir up in us the question, what corruption is really being fought? An in-depth interrogation of this incident will also show that protection of the State from conflict of interest behaviours in persons holding public authority is wanting. We read and see every now and again, how this and that public officer (elective mostly) is attempting to conduct business with a Public Body, or even within the private sector. Holding public office and being an active participant in the private sector seems not to be an exception anymore. Clearly our elective public officers have to make a choice. Stick to what we elected them for, that is, to represent our common socio-economic interests. Or they can stick to what they desire, their narrow economic (profit) pursuits. They can not have it both, as conflict of interest will always certainly be consequent. And indeed, such individuals will undermine the business competitiveness of others, as by simply being a Minister they will inherently have the advantage when it comes to public contracts! It is in this respect that we also find indefensible that an incumbent president can be a director of an active company, Ilunda Chalo Investment. We sincerely hope that the yet to be corroborated news that the President is a director, does not turn out to be true. 

Fifth, analysing presidential actions so far, one also can undoubtedly argue that development planning has gone out through the window. 2012 is a year in which we witnessed social and economic development by presidential directives.  The substitute for development planning witnessed so far, is “off-the-cuff”. Off-the-cuff development planning is unsustainable and unacceptable. This is because it is whimsical development planning. It is highly susceptible to the mood swings of the individual proclaiming such development. But significant of all, it is a cost to the country as often it is not within the country’s development framework. We should accept that a defined development framework is what directs a country’s budgetary framework. As a matter of process and procedure, thus, presidential development and or economic directives have to be within the framework of what the ruling party has embodied as the development framework for the country, and with such development framework having been subjected to a consultative scrutiny by the population. Or not just a proclamation that, it should be “compulsory for Government departments to have PF manifestos”. 

A political party manifesto is merely a marketing tool for the electorate. It is not a country’s development plan. But it can become so, only after its elements are subjected to public consultation and then embodied in a country’s policies and development plans.

In retrospect, undoubtedly 2012 has been a year characterized by a lack of clear and orderly political thought and behaviour from the ruling Patriotic Front party. It is our sincere hope that as we close the year, the ruling party will sit down (in a consultative and civil manner) to take stock of the reasons for the fog in 2012. And to learn and enter 2013 with a much more focus on the issues that affect the livelihoods of the people, and not the insatiable desire for political hegemony (as evidenced by the celebratory embrace of members of parliament that defect from their respective parties). Political hegemony does not serve the interests of the population. It merely serves to perpetuate narrow self-serving interests.

Please, when we criticise it is not that we mean harm, no. We are simply expressing our concerns. And we expect the State to simply and lucidly prove to us that our concerns are not merited. Not to denigrate us or threaten us, as this merely shows that our concerns are valid!

We will not allow ourselves to be cowed into silence, as doing so is an injustice to ourselves. We will not grovel ourselves before you, as doing so will merely serve to perpetuate impunity.

We know 2012 will go down in the ashes of the history of our country, as a year in which there have been epic State behaviours not befitting a democracy. What we have illustrated here, are but just a few of our concerns.

Any way, we sincerely hope 2013 will be better, as we believe every human desires the betterment of the other. Hence, though 2012 has been a foggy year, we wish you a happy new year!


[1] Cited in Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Bismarck und der Imperialismus, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 51984, p. 342.
[2] And of course, the advisory ménage tried to convince us otherwise. See “A microcosm of obtuse reasoning” at http://mbinjimufalo.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-microcosm-of-obtuse-reasoning.html
[3] The Anti-Corruption Act defines Public Officer as "any person who is a member of, or holds office in, or is employed in the service of, or performs a function for, or provides a public service for, a public body, whether such membership, office or employment is permanent or temporary, whole or part-time, paid or unpaid, appointed or elected, full time or part time, or paid or unpaid, and “public office” shall be construed accordingly".

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A microcosm of obtuse reasoning


A response to George Chellah (Special Assistant to the president on press and public relations) press release (ref: hhttp://www.lusakatimes.com/2012/12/12/state-house-reacts-laz-statement/). 
George Chellah, please sometimes find time to understand the context of an issue at hand before you expose your serious ineptitude in reasoning of the law.
The issue at hand, which LAZ lucidly explains is that the President’s assertion that by law the commission (ACC) is supposed to get permission from the President to investigate any senior government or party official, is wanting. Such law or provision of the law does not exist in the Anti-Corruption ACT No 3 of 2012. The Anti-Corruption ACT No 3 of 2012 in section 5 provides that “Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the Commission shall not, in the performance of its functions, be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority”. This surely includes an absence of control by the President!. And the only exception is provided in section 94, which states that "The President may, in consultation with the Commission, make regulations for the better carrying out of the provisions of this Act”, and the stipulated regulations cited do not provide that there has to be a regulation that provides for seeking permission from the President.
It is therefore expected of a Special Assistant to the president (Press and public relations) to prove to us (in case we are wrong) what law (or provision) exactly the president was referring to. The President’s assertion negates the rule of law. Sic. The rule of law refers to the supremacy of law, and its equal application to all individuals, including government and state officials. (I still wonder why senior party officials are supposed to be considered special citizens). Given that there is no provision in the Anti-Corruption ACT No 3 of 2012 that provides that the ACC is supposed to get permission from the President to investigate any senior government or party official, the President’s assertion are undoubtedly ultra vires, and a threat to the rule of law.
Thus, it is clear that your statement is simply a microcosm of obtuse reasoning.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Question of Success?



The more I sit listening to stories of development success from Donor and CSO types, the more I ask myself, whether it is delusional or real. Could be success is merely a microcosm of one’s microbial space of activity or influence. But, is success in development agendas merely a question of microbial defined spaces? Can these Donor and CSO types surely result in a success at a level that tomorrow, I am not going to be standing at an unmarked small grave, in which lies a child that died of a simple curable illness?

Shouldn’t it be that these Donor and CSO types should be talking of success in a humanitarian space, and not a development space? Can they surely convince my grandmother in Shangombo that they have succeeded in changing her pitiable unsustainable livelihood?

From the pedestal of reason, I see success in the development agenda as a time when the government provides for sustainable livelihoods for most; not when Donor and CSO types ameliorate livelihoods in small and scattered spaces in my country. That is simply humanitarian success, commendable but not sustainable.

Shouldn’t we then starting re-thinking success as the times in which the people rebel against the inability of their government to provide sustainable livelihoods, in an environment where the government types, both political and civil, perpetuate parasitic privileges that serve to undermine the government’s ability to move towards the story of success

Sometimes, I wonder. Do these Donor and CSO types ever question the cost to the public of parasitic public sector privileges (like V8s parading as personal to holder for individuals that can ordinarily service a car loan), on attaining real success in Shangombo? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A delusion of intellectual logic?

Hyde Haguta,

[Ref: http://www.znbc.co.zm/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=345:critical-look-into-barotseland-agreement&catid=99:featuresandanalyses#comments]

Your article "Critical look into Barotseland Agreement" reflects an inert misconstruction of the term critical. A critical look implies an exposé defined by careful evaluation and judgment. Reading the article, one does not find any coherent and comprehensible evaluation and judgement of the Barotseland Agreement.

First, the article starts with a "preamble", which does not provide any introduction to the subject matter at hand. A preamble serves to provide an explanation of the purpose of an article or document. Reading the preamble, one does not get a sense of exactly what about the Barotseland Agreement you seek to critique or argue. Any avid reader would have expected that the preamble would have provided the summary arguments of your position on the Barotseland Agreement, and indeed your rationalisation. Instead, you merely provide a disconnected set of "readings" and "thoughts" on education and thinking. For instance, your belief that "African intellectuals lacking the revolutionary Marxist concepts cannot tackle the critical and sensitive national issues like the Barotseland Agreement with crude aggressiveness", is not founded on reason as no where in your article have you elucidated either the actual Marxist concepts that can provide a framework for understanding the Barotseland Agreement, or have you shown the gaps in knowledge on the Barotseland Agreement by citing what African intellectuals have argued before.

Strikingly, though the title of the article reads "Critical look into Barotseland Agreement", the fact that the main body of the article is titled "The Question of Concessions", further simply reflects a delusion of intellectual logic. This goes to show that your critical look is actually supposed to be a discourse on "A Question of the Barotseland Agreement and Colonial Concessions".

Inarguably, it is difficult to comprehend what the article exactly seeks to communicate, given the disconnected way it has been written.

For example, you write, "Where is academic freedom? Why have those who masquerade as geniuses and intellectuals failed to critically examine how the capitalist-exploiters secured for themselves the sole rights to dispense concessions and mark out boundaries that were endorsed and signed by African chiefs".  Reading this statement, one wonders whether you really understand the origin of nation-States in Africa. That, there is a nation-State called Zambia is simply, in part, because of the the "concessions and mark(ed) out boundaries that were endorsed and signed by African chiefs". A nation is a sense of belonging. The sense of belonging that resulted in the creation of the nation-State called Zambia, is a product of what you call "capitalist-exploiters"! The boundaries of Zambia were not defined by a people that today call themselves Zambian (whatever that means). Zambia, like most other African countries, is a foreign creation.  Period. Thus, that, today in some parts of Africa a new sense of belonging is evident, is not surprising. And surely, what has got to do with academic freedom?

Further, your statement,  "Let us now look at these examples and see if they do not in any way point to the current demand for the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement", does not provide examples that show exactly what it is you are communicating. Is this statement an example - "When the Democratic Republic of Congo gained independence in 1960, President of the mineral-rich Katanga Province, Mr. MoiseTshombe wanted to secede from the rest of the country. Mr Patrice Lumumba, the first prime minister of Congo, was arrested by General Mobutu’s troops and was sent to Katanga Province, where secessionist forces reigned supreme and was assassinated". Precisely, what is this statement validating? Distinctly, even the paragraphs that follow do not provide what you call "examples". An example is contextual!

I can continue citing errors of thought in the article, but clearly it is not only a poor attempt at a critique, but more so simply an infantile attempt at communicating a sense of one's extensive reading. We read to be able to contextualise issues, this article neither does that. Nor does it show comprehension of what one has read.

Another example is the statement, "In my research, I just came up with something from Mr. V.W. Brelsford’s book Tribes of Northern Rhodesia (i.e.Zambia): “the Ngoni, one group of whom had gone as far as north of Tanganyika, were returning southwards via Luangwa valley and were fighting the Bemba who were pushing southwards into the valley". So what were you researching? And how does this research "finding" provide a context to understanding the Barotseland Agreement?

Lastly, please carefully read the below from your article, and deeply and reasonably reflect on what it is you are arguing.

"Paramount Chief Chitimukulu Kanyanta of the Bemba often used to narrate how he had raided as far as Broken Hill (now Kabwe) in his youth. The Lozi were raiding and collecting tributes westwards as far as Mumbwa District in the early years of the century. And although these movements were slow, it seems probable that had not Cecil Rhodes been given a Charter over the country north of the Zambezi, it could only have been a matter of a short time before the Bemba, the Lozi and the Ngoni met in a massive combat somewhere along what is now the railway strip”".

The above are the last paragraphs in your article, and clearly they just show disconnectedness of thought. Try again, sir.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

From the archives: A cob of maize, coups, and ‘elections’

If someone asked me what has changed in Zambia in the behaviour of our political leaders, I would without flinching say "zilch". Today, I am reading the same ineptness of reasoning I read nearly a decade ago. And I here draw out from the archives what I wrote then.

in the Monitor Newspaper July 25, 2003

Lately, the law in Zambia has been bedevilling me. Christopher is alleged to have stolen a cob of maize. He gets his sorry rump thrown into remand. I thought one is innocent until proven guilty.

According to a legal mind, the assumption is that Christopher has to have his rump in remand so that he does not go stealing cobs of maize again. In any case, Christopher cannot meet bail conditions from under that cardboard on the streets of Kamwala.

The tribulations of the law are mostly evidential in the misapplications when persons in authority or interest groups in government rape the law.

For instance, the ‘honourable’ Shikapwasha was in the week reported to have foiled a coup!  The ‘honourables’ in the ministry of home affairs have a preposterous acumen for discovering coups.

Last year, his predecessor, the late Mapushi, discovered a plot to overthrow the government. This was after the President, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa SC, claimed there was a plot by someone’s loyalists to kill him.  At the time, the public media inundated us with news of an attempt to kill the president. “They want to kill me,” was it? They never killed him, and Shikapwasha has foiled the long awaited coup.

Section 67 of Penal Code, provides that information likely to cause fear and alarm to the public should be grounded in fact, and not falsehoods. In the event that the contrary is true, then one has committed a felony. What bedevils me is that Shikapwasha has not indicated who the suspected coup plotters are. How do you foil a coup without surely even dragging one suspect into custody?

The requirement of the law is that he provides a bona fide claim to his reported statements. The omission of bona fide substance on his part is reason enough to argue that the man has committed a felony. Until he provides evidence of the coup, it is undoubted that the alarmist statements were issued with the full knowledge and reason that such statements are false. These fellows’ fascination with coups is inane and a simple manifestation of their insecurity.

Just when I thought it is only the ‘honourables’ in the ministry of home affairs who have an acumen for the novel, Mutale Nalumango, of the “trust the president fame” deemed not to be left out.

If the law in this country is fraught with fragilities, the ‘honourables’ in this country are seriously afflicted with an intellectual coma. That this country is suffering high illiteracy and an inability to synthesis issues could never have been more evident that in Nalumango’s reaction to Anderson Mazoka’s interview on Radio Phoenix.

I had a dream. “Mazoka warns of bloodshed”, a newspaper headline read, and I was rushing off howling to the police, “arrest him, arrest him”!

Well, ‘honourable’ Nalumango, Mazoka was simply reminding you that the electoral process in it current form and the alleged perpetuation of electoral corruption by the MMD is a recipe for bloodshed. What is wrong with that? Please take time to read or listen to what others say, lest you merely show a side of yourself that is intrinsic.

It is abominable that when someone other than a person in government utters sentiments on the rot in our country, some ‘honourables’ and even the police suddenly discover section 67 of the penal code.

It is in this respect that, I no longer have doubt that the meaning of law in Zambia is that it is both the collection of rules imposed by authority and the force of the police. Could be that is why as I child, I always ran away from the police.

‘Honourable’ Nalumango, Mazoka’s concern bordered on the misapplication of the law in our country as it is evidential in our electoral process. The citizenry’s right to political choice is always contravened, as your political party has an insatiable desire for intimidation and electoral corruption.

Let us not be naïve to the fact that ours is an environment of legal fragilities. It is inevitable that a party in power will continue behaving with impunity, if the electoral process is not reformed as a matter of urgency. Moreover, given the coal-powered nature of our legal system, soon someone may say enough is enough.

If this country is to redeem itself from the socio-economic decay, men of frocks (not those of God who smile when a chief intimidates his subjects) should today stand up to the challenges of the law. It is does not help Christopher to merely title oneself as “learned”, when the law is such that political behaviours responsible for Christopher’s plight are not as criminalized as stealing a cob of maize.

It is time this country accepted that allowing a party that is under trial for alleged electoral corruption that borders on State criminality to continue participating in elections is a serious omission in law.

From beyond politics, it is irresponsible of a citizenry to allow a political party that is alleged to have won a major election through corruption and in particular resources alleged to have been acquired through abuse of state funds, continue participating in elections.

Why can’t the law be applied in the same manner that it is applied to Christopher?

Either electoral cases are expedited before an election or a party on trial for electoral corruption should face the same fate Christopher faces over a cob of maize. In arguing so, I am aware of likely counter arguments that doing the latter will disenfranchise people. But, isn’t law a case of proportions of effects? The assumed effect of letting Christopher loose is that he will steal another cob of maize.

In retrospect, the case of a cob of maize, coups, and ‘elections’: when ideated beyond politics shows that the travesty of the law by persons in authority and the party in government seriously undermines Christopher’s livelihood.

In addition, the challenge for “learned persons” in this country is for them to show cause why only Christopher ends up in remand on the presumption of likelihood of committing the same offence, whilst those that have a high propensity and history of committing the same crime are always let free to continue raping the law.

The law in this country does not respect Christopher and I. It is a fallacy. The bottom line is that Christopher, like the State of Zambia, is a tragic innocent victim of the law. Let us not forget that people are always law abiding, but they only abide by the law as far as the law respects them.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ineptness in State Reasoning


The Media statement of August 24, 2012 by Kennedy Sakeni (Chief Government Spokesperson and Minister of Information and Broadcasting) in response to Hakainde Hichilema’s statement dated the same day, is a statement that intelligence necessitates should be attributable to a political party functionary.

That it is, attributed to a Government Spokesperson and Minister, is surely a microcosm of ineptness in reasoning the relationship between the State and an individual. A Government spokesperson or Minister is a State Actor, and hence in so being acts in the interest of the State. The State or a State Actor can not deride an individual or citizen in a manner that serves to degrade an individual’s integrity or standing in society as is evidenced from this Statement. Such a Statement, however, irrespective of its content may be acceptable within competing political players.

If it where that Hakainde Hichilema’s statement was of a nature that can be construed a threat to the public interest (which was not (though may depend on which side of the pendulum one is sitting)), then Kennedy Sakeni should know that there are several laws in the Penal Code Act Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia that the State can use to protect the public interest. These include offences against public order or public tranquillity.

Without seeming to bemock Kennedy Sakeni, it is undoubtedly clear that much has to be done in this country to make Government representatives understand the underlying principles of the relationship between the State and an individual. The best Kennedy Sakeni could have done is to submit unambiguously why Hakainde Hichilema’s statement was a misrepresentation of fact relative to the PF government’s performance. If this, he could not do, then he could have requested that his Party’s spokesperson issues a statement. And not, him, a State Actor!

references:
http://www.zambianwatchdog.com/2012/08/25/sakenis-response-to-hh/comment-page-2/#comment-476196

http://www.zambianwatchdog.com/2012/08/24/hh-outlines-satas-one-year-of-dictatorship-lies-corruption-under-performance-nepotism/]


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Are they the State?

Seriously, the misdemeanours of three or so individuals can not be used to hold the country at ransom. They are not the State, and the State should not assume the rest of us are nothing. Reform is not about individuals, it is about systems. I am really saddened that, this, most of us do not reason. That so-called CSOs are felicitating, today, does not surprise me. After all, their sense and depth of reason has always been a Mopane leaf in a stream. It always goes where the water flows.

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Arrogance of Power?

Did they or did they? That is the question. Everything else (letters of protest to the wrong authority, tribunals, removal of lawyers, injunctions, fighting corruption) is simply likely a masquerade of the arrogance of power. And this is the testament of our times.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Peter Again!

Peter. I thought he was history. He came this morning. Still looking broken and lost. I could see that there is no more shred of hope nor dreams in him. And my thoughts turned to the many youthful broken and destitute souls walking the streets of Lusaka. Ragged and foul smelling, like a burst sewer line, there he was in my living room, AGAIN! About the encounter, I guess it is me that was hurt. Peter is a melancholic palimpsest of my failure as a human. For long, I always hoped he has realised I was just a dreamer then. But no, he has not. If only I could. After he left, all I could do is read my testament about him over and over again. Where did I go wrong? Here is the testament, "Peter! I am sorry" [http://mbinjimufalo.blogspot.com/2010/03/peter-i-am-sorry.html].

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Barotse Question: My Anthology

Preamble
Legitimacy does not deal with whether actions of the State are exercised according to the Law. Legitimacy is a question of whether these acts meet with what is publicly perceived to be fundamental and acceptable. This includes issues of fair and equitable practices, and recognition of the right to dissent. The law can not be reduced to an opportunistic and convenient conduit of control and domination by one over the other.

Part I
The Barotse Question - Epitomising historical romanticism?

(first published in The Monitor Issue No. 64 Friday July 23 - Thursday July 29, 1999)

In writing this article, I first seek to categorically state that in our attempts to conceive the Barotse Question of self-determination and secession as an inane emotional attachment to historical romanticism, and a threat to the existing ‘assumed’ state of peace, lie the very threat to our nation-state’s peace and stability.

That a people that once felt a sense of existing in a defined nation-state today seek to live apart from that nation-state is itself indicative of the fact that something has gone miserably wrong.

In expressing myself here in, I do not seek claim to prodigious knowledge on the Barotse Question, but merely attempt to communicate the inherent threat of conceiving the issue as a question of historical romanticism. It is in this respect that I address the question to the best of my learned ‘ignorance’ and often-detached sense of belonging.

First, on the Barotse Question are the voices premised on arguments that it is neither socially relevant nor politically correct in today’s context. I argue that the social relevance of calls for self-determination lie in the political and historical cognisance of the undeniable fact that attempts to assert the right to self-determination and indeed the extreme threat of secession have through history shaped today’s role model political and governance structures.

Strategies and structures of devolution of power, decentralisation, federalism are inherently socio-political conflict resolution strategies with a historical genesis embedded in the very process whose social relevance is today found to be abhorrent. The often times upheld governance structures of states like the USA are the classical illustration of this fact.

On the other hand, the argument of the Barotse Question’s political incorrectness arises simply because of today’s Zambia’s obtaining political environment. This is a political environment where political correctness only allows expression and attitudes that do not and are unlikely to disturb the status quo as determined by the obtaining political philosophy of those that are in power. In an atmosphere of intolerance and reluctance to dialogue, I hasten to submit that a call for self-determination is politically incorrect. But, one has to ask - where from then is the threat to peace and stability, the Barotse Question’s proponents or the political governance fragility of the existing nation-state?

However, if we convince ourselves that the obtaining political reality is in itself politically correct, then, the political correctness of a call for self-determination should be seen in its catalytic light. That is, the unavoidable need to change our present governance structures so as to allow for more representative structures of governance.

Premised on the foregoing, I submit that a concerted resurgence of the call for self- determination can have desirable effects on Zambia’s present mode of governance. May be the missed opportunities of the 1993-5 Constitutional Review (and ended the one that just ended)regarding devolution of power to the provinces can become a reality!

Second, and maybe louder, are the voices arguing that the Barotse Question is founded on historical romanticism. These voices I find to simply symbolise the unfortunate unconscious indoctrination of being in an assumed peaceful and stable multi-ethnical nation-state.

Of concern to these voices are the questions:

1. What is the extent (boundaries of the Barotse kingdom and on what legitimacy are these boundaries?

2. Do the other non-MaLozi (or subgroups) inhabitants of Barotse also have a claim to self-determination or will the King impose his views?

3. What are the contentions in the Barotse Agreement?

First I must state here that in addressing these concerns one is inevitably drawn into the polemics and diametrical questions of definitions. This I will try to avoid. In my simplest understanding, a nation is a ‘common’ sense, a feeling, an idea of belonging to an ethnic or multi-ethnic group. This ‘common’ sense, or idea can arise through ancestry, immigration, and or whatever other factors of human mobility that result in one finding himself or herself with a sense of belonging to that particular nation.

Here in, lie the polemics, for the latter, also shows a nation is nothing much but an evolution of historical romanticism!

The concept of a state, on the other hand, regularises and legitimises this amorphous entity, through institutions and structures. The institutions and structures often embody mechanisms that facilitate or enforce observance of duty or obedience to the state.

Barotseland was and is still a nation-state. This, the British, too, recognised, least the Barotse Agreement would not have been entered into. Any arguments to the contrary are merely an inept attempt to falsify history. Thence, relative to defining Barotseland’s geographic space, one is drawn to the understanding that boundaries are simply the extent of physical land occupation or ownership of a people with the idea of belonging. This extent, history has shown, can even imply such areas as at the time occupied by the group of people in question. (C.f., The case for Israel). However, given that Africa’s nation-states are rooted in the historical context of colonialism, concerns of geographic space should be seen in this light. And should, above all, recognise the fact that the nation-state as a western colonisation process dismembered Africa’s already existing boundaries defined by ‘common sense’, or ‘idea of belonging’.

In retrospect, the question of geographic legitimacy, becomes one of setting an epoch that will define an ‘acceptable’ criteria by which any people seeking self-determination can be provided concessions as to the extent of their claim to a historical nation-state. I must mention here that unfortunately the western societies’ definition of Africa’s nation- states is today what is internationally recognised, and is, in part, not only the genesis of contemporary Africa’s problems, but also the inherent problem to Africa’s redefinition of its boundaries.

Further, the concerns relating to other non-MaLozi’s inhabiting Barotseland invokes in me the issue of inclusion and exclusion. If we are to assume my conceptualisations of a nation and state provided here in are to some degree valid, then we must acknowledge the fact that the Barotse nation-state was one characterised by inclusion of all groups who paid homage to the King. We should, here in, however acknowledge the fact that historically Barotseland was highly socially stratified. There was the royal. And there was the commoner. But, the governance structures were (is) such that the Prime Minister (Ngambela) is always a commoner!

On the question of the contentions in the Barotse Agreement, I here simply surmise that the underlying premise of the contentions is the recognition of Barotseland as an autonomous state, whose autonomy should have been guaranteed in the post colonial period. I am afraid there are various views on this, and in the end it is just as polemical as the question of a nation-state.

Lastly, there have also been arguments that the Barotse Question’s likely effect of fragmenting an already existing nation-state is counter presently obtaining global trends of amalgamations of countries in the West. This, I find to be a blatant misinterpretation of the genesis of perceived global trends. Simply because this view conveniently or ignorantly, does not recognise the fact that fragmentation and the consequent process of devolution of power due (in part) to assertions of self-determination are the founding stones of these nations that today can easily economically amalgamate.

In addition, the proponents of the foregoing concern often seek refugee in Africa’s decaying adage of ‘strength in unity’, without embodiment of the requisite fact that such strength only exists were the consequent processes of conflict resolution such as devolution of power have evolved.

In ending my submission, I first seek to argue that counter-proponents of the Barotse Question should at least attempt to avoid the unconscious inclination of considering whosoever propagates or supports a particular notion or assertion as doing so out of a sense of ethnical or political affiliation. This is an unconscious inclination that we surely at this stage in history should liberate ourselves from, as it is merely a microcosm of the country’s political leaders.

Secondly, I argue that reasoning is a process that deals with the separates and seldom the totality. Thence, if one has to follow the separates argued here in, one should surely acknowledge the fact that if the Barotse Question is simply historical romanticism, then surely the nation-state we so cherish and call Zambia is indeed nothing but the epitome of colonial historical romanticism. And that our existence as a nation-state is not founded on ‘strength in unity’, but on the sustenance of a status quo that is embedded in political intolerance and command approaches to governance.

Ours is an illusion of well being in a geographic space defined by forces that knew little of existing social spaces. That the continent is today beset with myriad crises is simply evidential of the dangers of not only accepting that illusion, but more so seeking coherence in the illusion. What we should seek are the assumed ‘abhorrent’ lessons of calls for self-determination and or secession. That is the conflict resolution strategies inherent.
The Barotse Question should never be conceived as a recipe for chaos. The imminent fragmentation of a nation-state underlying such an issue should in my ‘ignorance’ be conceived as the fragmentation of existing unacceptable political structures!

Hence, in conclusion I ask - Does self-determination mean fragmentation of existing nation-states?

[The Barotse Agreement in pdf download is available at http://miliko.vacau.com]

Part II
A Travesty of Reason
An Interrogation of the Barotse Question within Poverty & Nation-State Governance Representation

a press release by Mbinji Mufalo
(Human Rights & Governance Consultant)
Thursday, 10 February 2011

"It is the failed past we fail to correct today, that lead to the failed future we live in the day after today."

I, Mbinji Mufalo, holds this press conference as a concerned citizen. My national identity is Zambian, and my ethnic group heritage is Lozi. The unorthodox opinions I will herein express are solely mine and are based on my long years of human rights, democracy and governance consultancy in the NGO and public sector and study.

Some, I am sure, some asked themselves, who is he and why is he holding a press conference. I always express myself on governance issues in this country and I have been doing so for close to more than two decades now. I do so (have been doing so) mostly in print media that allow me space to express my unorthodox expressions, and in position papers we used to issue years ago. In recent years, my contentions and thoughts on governance issues in my country have been expressed through my personal blog and website (http://mbinjimufalo.blogspot.com and http://miliko.vndv.com, respectively).

But, on the Baroste Question, it became clear to me that my modes of expression do not serve the greater interests of our knowledge and information deficient population. The Internet is a luxury in our context, to which end the people with whom I seek to share my contentions will rarely, if not never, hear my voice. Thus, I conceived this idea of a press conference, as you the media are a broader knowledge and information communication instrument.

In my opening remarks, I must first say the loss of life by individuals asserting their right to dissent is unfortunate and unacceptable. And that individuals are incarcerated for asserting their right to dissent is also unfortunate and unacceptable. I do sympathise with them, sometimes.

But, their contestations and plight should not be reduced to a mere political exercise of gaining political competiveness when the underlying causes of the dissent on the Barotse Question should be conceived within the broader context of rural poverty in Zambia and democratic governance representation.

The issues I here seek to share with you were evoked by the sentiments recently expressed by General Malimba Masheke and (maybe) shared by his peers on the incarcerated individuals from Western province. And indeed the general thought that “little attention has been paid to Western Province”, and thus that it is the poorest region in Zambia. But be mindful that these are issues that I have always held and expressed in one form or the other.

That Western province is the poorest and least developed province in Zambia, is not a subject of debate. Similarly, that rural Zambia has comparatively been neglected for sometime in our country’s development history is 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 parts of our country, irrespective of a regional dimension or within the rural-urban dichotomy.

To argue that a president that has been in office for a period of slightly more than two years is responsible for this unacceptable and undesirable situation in some regions of our country is a travesty of reason.

First, the measure of any government's commitment to socio-economic development is not only the extent to which a government institutes mechanisms to redress underdevelopment, but more so the extent to which a sitting government or administration accepts the failure of preceding governments. This, I believe, has in the last decade been acknowledged by subsequent presidencies.

Second, there is a general assumption in this country by politicians and political commentators that as a people we are afflicted with historical amnesia, we are not analytic, obsequious and gullible. Historical amnesia, in this particular case, is the state of forgetting acts of political elitism and power appropriation by individuals tasked with the governance of a people.

Thus, the Barotse Question should be conceived within the framework of poverty, development and governance representation.

The objective facts of poverty in Zambia are know.What is evident on poverty statistics in Zambia is that indeed Western province has over time had the worst levels of poverty, but so do other rural provinces in the country.

This picture is similar even if we considered indices like employment levels, literacy, or nutrition status of our children in rural Zambia

It is clear that statistics show a rural-urban dichotomy in terms of the social-economic status of our people. In short, rural Zambia has always been short-changed!

The question then is why is this so? Are rural populations under-represented in our democratic governance representative framework?

The answer is NO. The governance representative index by regional groupings and or ethnic groupings does not show any overt marginalisation.

In my unorthodox opinion it is clear that democratic representativeness as practiced in Zambia (and indeed most of the developing world) has failed the people. Elections, within this framework of a dichotomy of rural-urban/subject-citizen have not served to redress the development injustices of our colonial heritage.

Our practice of democracy overtime has merely created political and governance elites whose interests are at variance with the people they so claim to represent.

The underlying meaning of the socio-economic tensions of people in Western province, I argue provides us a premise upon which us as a people we should interrogate the continuance of poverty of our people in rural areas and the modes of our democratic governance relative to national development. Every province, and indeed most ethnical groups have a relatively equitable representativeness in the governance of our country, but the evident results of this representativeness is abject poverty for most of our people in rural areas. And this is the scenario in which eminent persons like General Malimba Masheke and his peers should interrogate their sentiments on the victims of the Barotse Question.

Democracy and governance representation in its current practice, has failed the people. And past, present, and may be future leaders, have failed/and will fail if we do not interrogate the fundamental basics of democratic representations, political and socio-economic accountability to the people, and national development.

The obtaining concerns and contentions on the Barotse Question should serve to provide us a premise for interrogating our governance modes. Political and governance elitism has been characteristic of our democratic governance realities.

There should be nothing partisan about the Barotse Question. To reduce it to a partisan question, when a myriad opportunities to redress the fundamental issues inherent in socio-economic tension in rural Zambia as provided in the Constitutional Review processes we had over the years, does not serve the National interest.

Thus, it is unfortunate that the Barotse Question is being used for political competitive advantage, and not as a framework for governance rethink. We are just victims of our failures of yesterday.

I here ague that eminent persons like General Malimba Masheke and his peers should be honourable enough and say to the people of Zambia, “that us the political and governance elites have failed the people of Zambia and indeed rural provinces like Western province over time, and we apologies”, instead of evoking anti-government sentiments when the objective facts of the country’s governance representativeness show a trend that is not commensurate with the obtaining poverty levels in rural Zambia.

Undoubtedly, it is evident that in the last half a decade some semblance of a national development framework to redress the lost gains of rural provinces, like Western province, has been put in place. But to expect gains today is fallacious.

Eminent persons like General Malimba Masheke and his peers should shed their political elitism, which in any case has been a historic cause of social and traditional tension in Western province since the struggle for independence, and in the post-independence era. Lozi political elites and Lozi traditionalists have been at different ends of the governance pendulum in Zambia’s nation-state building process.

Eminent former leaders in this country should show leadership by allowing interrogation of their failings as a means of providing a framework for reconciling the historic divide between the political elites and the traditionalists. It is illogical for them to want us to believe that elitism is not responsible for the underdevelopment of rural provinces like Western province.

Political elites are surely cognisant of the fact that the dialectics of traditional authority in Western province (and indeed other provinces) have never been interrogated within the paradigm of the country’s development frameworks. For example, to what extent, have they at any one particular time in our history, interrogated the opportunities and constraints of customary land tenure realities obtaining in rural provinces like Western province? Have these political elites, ever argued for a statutory paradigm that recognises customary land tenure rights, as a means of providing security of tenure redeemable (cashable) at financial institutions? What paradigms have they in the past, argued for integrating dialectics of traditional authority within a broader nation-state development agenda?

What advances were made, and who stood in their way to attaining a desirable democratic dispensation and development paradigm shift?

Lest we forget, change has no ownership. It is a process of related and unrelated separates that either work in unison or conflicting, but in the long term lead to a process of socio-economic advancement that is equitable and inviolable. To believe that only the president is the agent of change, when one is a constituent part of that presidency, is a mockery of democratic governance and at worst an insult to the people one so claims to represent.

For me, it is time the citizens of my country and indeed the people of Western province (that are caught in the politicisation of the Barotse Question) challenged the voices of people who so represented them in the past as to what exactly they were doing when afforded the chance to socio-economically represent them in the governance of our country.

Thus, we should as a people start interrogating the legitimacy of criticisms of the people that represented us yesterday, represent us today, and will represent us tomorrow. That rural provinces that have their fair share of governance representation can today have the majority of their population living in abject poverty, inarguably evidences the ailing of our democratic and governance representation.

We should not indulge expressions and criticisms from political elites whose interests and our interests are worlds apart. Let them first acknowledge that today’s victims of the right to dissent are a product of the wrongs of yesterday, as what is obtaining today can not be divorced from elitist and narcissistic tendencies of governance representatives.

Eminent former leaders should not play to the obtaining political rhetoric of the “blame game”. I urge the people of my country wallowing in abject poverty, to realise that these people had the power to change their obtaining reality. To blame the current presidency does not serve to redress the situation.

If their interests and our interests were the same or near to being the same, and there were insurmountable constraints to their aspirations, then let them show evidence that they either attempted to change our circumstances or that they out rightly resigned their public representation portfolios.

Thus, I here again assert that the underlying causes of dissent on the Barotse Question should be conceived within the broader context of rural poverty in Zambia and democratic governance representation. A deliberate attempt to enhance dialogue on the Baroste Question should have been the precursor to our interrogating rural poverty and democratic governance representation.

In this regard, it is a misnomer for one to argue that political rallies which are inherently forums of populist expression are an exercise of one’s “democratic right to discuss and consult each other in a peaceful manner”. To which end, for General Malimba Masheke to argue that a rally can be conceived as a means of exercising one’s “democratic right to discuss and consult each other in a peaceful manner”, is an epitome of sophism.

THE GENERAL AND CONCERNED PARTIES, SHOULD SURELY SHOW LEADERSHIP by advocating for broader consultative means of engaging the Barotse Question. In any case, contentions on the Barotse Question are not new, what is new is the issue’s infusion into political opportunism, arising from the fact that this year our country has general and parliamentary elections.

The government, in this regard is also found lamentably wanting. SOCIO-POLITICAL TENSIONS IN WESTERN ZAMBIA SHOULD HAVE BEEN PROVIDED A DEMOCRATIC SPACE IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT ACTS AS THE FACILITATOR. The argument that the State of Zambia can only discuss with the Baroste Royal Establishment (BRE), though legally valid, is legitimately invalid. The legality of this argument is premised on the argument that the parties to the Barotse Agreement were “Kenneth David Kaunda Prime Minister of Northern Rhodesia on behalf of on behalf of the government of Northern Rhodesia”, and “Sir Mwanawina Lewanika the Third, K.B.E., Litunga of Barotseland on behalf of himself, his heirs and successors, his Council and the chiefs and the people of Barotseland”. Thus, it should follow that the recognised entity when contestations on the agreement occur is the BRE. This can be argued to be legal, BUT NOT LEGITIMATE!

We should always be mindful of the fact that legality (lawfulness) and legitimacy should be clearly distinguished and understood in a broader context. The individuals in Western province that so expressed their views that the Agreement has been abrogated have a legitimate claim to their actions, as the legal signatory to the Agreement was acting on their behalf. The Baroste Question should provide a framework where the Government of Zambia inviolably accepts that legitimacy does not deal with whether actions of its citizens are exercised according to the Law.

Legitimacy is a question of whether these acts meet with what is publicly perceived to be fundamental and acceptable. This includes issues of fair and equitable practices, and recognition of the right to dissent. The law can not be reduced to an opportunistic and convenient conduit of control and domination by Government. Thus, I have argued in my protestations of the manner in which the dissent on the Barotse Agreement was handled, that the dissenting views should have been conceived within a question of legitimacy and not the legalistic purview that is clearly evident in the Government’s position on the issue.

The Government of Zambia, having the fiscal means and logistics, should have provided devolved assemblies for the Litunga, his heirs and successors, his Council and the chiefs and the people of Barotseland to interrogate and discuss concerns on adherence to the Baroste Agreement. With such assemblies, being inclusive of all ethnic groups that historically constituted Barotseland. Dissenting organised groups, irrespective of whether they are registered entities within the Laws of Zambia, would then surely have found space in these assemblies to articulate their views to a wider discerning population that have interest in the historic and colonial nation-state of Barotseland, and its positioning in today’s State of Zambia.

In short the Government of Zambia did not necessarily have to talk to these groups, as the assemblies would have provided them the needed space. And, critical of all, the political opportunism currently manifest on the Barotse Question would not have had space to evolve to the present undesirable and unacceptable dimensions.

Since the Barotse Question is now being used as a tool for political opportunism and political competitive advantage, we are, if not redressed, losing an opportunity for a rethink of our democratic representativeness vis-à-vis national development.

I urge the Government of Zambia to recognise that even if legally the individuals incarcerated for asserting their right to dissent may have contrived in their actions, within the premise of the Barotse Question they do have a legitimate claim to dissent. And inarguably, the disjoint between rural poverty and governance representatives is inherent in their claims.

Conceived outside the rhetoric and satirical manoeuvres of political opportunists, I vehemently believe that they are victims of the failures of our past.

I urge, here, that they should be released unconditionally, and that Government then proceeds with facilitating devolved assemblies in which they can express their concerns through production of a blueprint for dialogue with Government on the Barotse Question.

FAILURE TO DO SO WILL ESCALATE THE INDULGENCE AND UNACCEPTABLE USE OF THE BAROTSE QUESTION AS A POLITICAL COMPETITIVE TOOL BY A PARODY OF A MYRIAD OF POLITICAL OPPORTUNISTS WHO HAVE THE LEAST INTEREST IN THE BAROTSE QUESTION, AND INDEED REDRESSING THE RURAL POVERTY AND GOVERNANCE REPRESENTATIVE DISCONNECT INHERENT IN OUR COUNTRY.

Lastly, being that, I am from academia in this country, my last concern on the Barotse Question is that we, in academia, in our country have been comatose, as we have been on a number of governance contentions in our country.

There is need for a broader national and academic discourse on the Barotse Question, and more so the duality of our governance (statutory vis-à-vis traditional). Surely, us academia we should strive to interrogate paradigms of integrating the dichotomy of our governance realities as a means of enhancing socio-economic development in Zambia. The social tensions in Western province are inarguably inherent in the dialectics of our duality of governance, and indeed our everyday competing realities of traditionalism and statutory governance and behaviours.

Continuance of the supremacy of statutory governance frameworks that do not integrate governance frameworks under which the majority of our people exist, merely breeds political and governance representative elitism. With such political and governance representative elitism simply serving to enhance master-servant/patron-client/subject-citizen paradigms of governance that rarely serves the interests of our people.

To which end, the Barotse Question, irrespective of how one conceives it, evidences that in Zambia the power to represent and to participate effectively is dichotomous. The dichotomy being mostly rural-urban, there should be neither space nor tolerance for political opportunism, and its associated foolery of popular aggrandisement.

In retrospect, although I find the legitimacy of criticism of some eminent persons in this country a travesty of reason, in it we should accept exists the beginning of the questioning of our governance representativeness.

I end, by quoting Stefan Lindemann who writes: “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”.

The question is, if our democratic and governance representativeness is so near even and thus allowing for greater spaces of influence in national development, why then is it that rural provinces like Western province are underdeveloped?

Part III
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
THE BAROTSE QUESTION - ASHES OF HISTORY?

A paper presentation to the CPD National Conference
on Traditional Authorities, Decentralisation and Rural Development
Lusaka, Zambia
February 28 – 1 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://wildside.webuda.com/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://wildside.webuda.com/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://wildside.webuda.com/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://wildside.webuda.com/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!



REFERENCES

Caplan,. G. L., (1970), The Elites of Barotseland 1878–1969, C. Hurst & Co London.
Cederman, L., Wimmer, A., and Min, B., (2010), ‘Why do ethnic groups rebel? New data and analysis’, World Politics 62(1): 87-119.
Chandra, K., (2006), ‘What is ethnic identity and does it matter?’ Annual Review of Political Science 9(1): 397-424.
DiJohn, J., and Putzel, J., (2009), ‘Political Settlements’, GSDRC Issues Paper, Birmingham: University of Birmingham, International Development Department.
Gertzel, C., (1984), ‘Western Province: tradition, economic deprivation and political alienation’, in Gertzel, Baylies and Szeftel (eds), The Dynamics of the one-party state in Zambia, Manchester University Press, Manchester.
Hall, R., (1976), Zambia 1890-1964: The Colonial Period, Longman, London.
Lindemann, S., (2010), Inclusive elite bargains and civil war avoidance: The case of Zambia, Crisis States Working Papers Series No.2.
Mbinji, M., (2002), Political Governance in Zambia - A Civil Society Position. Afronet – Consultation Paper prepared for Consultative Group Meeting 2002
Phiri, B. J., (2006), A Political History of Zambia: From the Colonial Period to the 3rd Republic. Africa Research & Publications, Trenton, NJ.
Roberts, A. D., (1976), A History of Zambia, Heinemann, London.
Sichone, O., and Simutanyi, N., (1996), ‘The Ethnic and Regional Questions, Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Zambia: The Case of Barotseland 1964-1994’, in Sichone and Chikulo (eds), Democracy in Zambia: Challenges for the Third Republic, Sapes Books, Harare.


Part IV
Friday, January 20, 2012

The Barotse Question - A dialectic failure of reason
Now that the Barotseland Agreement is in the open domain, already there are comments being made that border on extreme intellectual deficiency in understanding historic contexts of the evolution of nation-States in Africa. In any case, could be this is because such individuals never made any attempt in the past to understand the evolution of the nation-State we call Zambia. And this is, because if they did, they would have unearthed the Barotseland Agreement decades ago. The document has been in the public domain on the World Wide Web (what is erroneously called the internet) for decades.

With its undoubtedly welcome politically initiated release, it is clear that there are many in our country who do not understand the context of the Barotse Question or who merely seek to be blind to the objective facts. It is an inarguable dialectic failure of reason to assume that as a people, we ourselves gave unto ourselves the nation-State we call Zambia.

No we did not! Sic.

A comment that made me take pen to paper is an assertion that the Barotse Question is tribal. The sentiment went further to assert that Lozis are tribalists. Not much very different from the excruciating political rhetoric that Tongas are tribalists! But, in the context of the Barotse Question there is a difference.

First, Lozi is not a tribe. It is a complex language group. It is rather unfortunate that a language can be imputed to be tribal. How possible is that, when Lozi comprises dialect/language groups that include Kwangwas, Luyanas, Subiyas, Makomas, Nkoya (which is a language constituting Mashasha, Lushange, Lukolwe, Mbwela), Nyengos, Mbundas, Mashi, Mbowe, Kwandi, Mbukushu, Simaa, and Totela?

For instance, Lozis like Makomas and Subiya can only understand each other in Lozi (which is a Sesotho dialect). These groups were either subjugated by the assumed superior group the Luyanas/Kwangwa or did seek protection, thereof. Thus constituting what was historical called the Kingdom of Barotseland.

Dialectically, how often do we hear of a Welsh or Scot saying the English are tribalists? Why is the term tribe not often used among Europeans? Does it mean there are no tribes in Europe?

To which end, I have consistently reasoned that the term tribe has historically only being used to refer to colonised, oppressed, or subjugated groups of people. The term tribe has a negative connotation. It is a term that historically was used to refer to what was perceived as inferior groups of people. That, as Africans we have continued using the term basically reflects an assumption of superiority by one group or the other. It is a term that we even use in political competition to appeal to a sense of one's assumed tribal superiority and the legitimate claim to rule others.

How often, have we come across expressions like "I can not be ruled by a Tonga, Lozi or Luvale"? Exactly what is the connotation of such expressions?

Second, with respect to the Barotseland Agreement, the recognition of the Kingdom of Barotseland, by the very colonisers to whom we today euphorically ascribe our existence as a nation dates as far back as 1890. For instance on June 27, 1890, King Lewanika I and the British South Africa Company signed the Frank Lochner Treaty resulting in Barotseland becoming a British protectorate.

Another record worth mention is the 1905 Barotseland Boundary Case between Britain and Portugal, which explicitly observes that, “For the purposes of the arbitration the expression the territory of the Barotse Kingdom shall mean the territory over which the King of Barotse was paramount ruler on the June 11, 1891”. This case was arbitrated by Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy on May 30, 1905, and basically considered the determination of the limits of the territory of the Barotse Kingdom.

Thence, they should not be any shred of doubt in any reasonable individual to accept that the very colonisers who defined the boundaries of the State we call Zambia, are the ones that recognised that there was a traditional nation called Barotseland and a British South African territory called Northern Rhodesia. At no time in our history was there any other territory recognised as a nation, other than Barotseland.

Without showing disdain, can any of the individuals that are pooh-poohing or spurning the existence of a Barotse nation before the existence of Zambia, show historic evidence of any such language group in Zambia that was recognised as a defined territory in the 1800s or even in the pre-independence period?

Perhaps, research should be done to evidence which other ethnic groupings in today's Zambia were recognised as such by the colonisers. And, indeed how many even have a national anthem!

Retrospectively, I thus write somewhere that "Xenophobia is a tragic failure of reason of which space it is after all, we even kill for". And, in "The Barotse Question - Epitomising historical romanticism? I note that, "Our nation-State existence is an illusion of well-being in a geographic space defined by forces that knew little of existing social spaces”.

To conceive the Barotseland Agreement as "a whole load of nonsense" is not only unfortunate, but a failure to recognise the evolution of the State of Zambia. I always find it obtuse that as Africans we often run to talk of the spaces we call our States without realising that these were basically defined by Europeans that in most cases did not take cognisance of already existing ethno-realities. However, at least in the evolution of the Barotseland Agreement they did. How many of us even ask as to why Caprivi, despite having ethno similarities to Barotseland is part of Namibia and not Zambia. So how then can it be so difficult to comprehend the Barotse Question?

Sincerely, how can a sense of nationhood that was recognised by the very colonisers that "manufactured" Zambia be construed as tribalism?

Let us not delude ourselves, the Barotse Question is simply a governance paradigm that in all fairness should “serve to provide a dialectic framework for interrogating political and public service governance representation within a diverse and dichotomous population”.

Part V
Sunday, February 5, 2012
The Barotse Question - Edifying the “Interested Citizen”
In the Zambia Daily Mail of Thursday, February 2, 2012 in response to my article titled Barotse Question: A dialectic failure of reason of January 24, 2012, a fellow citizen under the nom de guerre of “interested citizen”, raised questions I here seek to address.

First, I am pleased to read that “interested citizen” pleaded innocence to the inexcusable crime of ignorance of political historic contexts that evidence the evolution of African nation-States like the one we call Zambia. Any one who so seeks to understand why they call themselves Zambian or whatever other nationality they deem fit should surely take time to read their history. A song that comes to mind in this respect is Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley’s, Buffalo Soldier where he sings: “If you know your history, Then you would know where you coming from, Then you wouldn't have to ask me, Who the 'eck do I think I am”.

History lost, it is thence understandable that “interested citizen”, in some way, is asking who the heck do they think they are? “Interested citizen”, further asks, what the heck is Barotseland and its boundaries thereof? Above all, “interested citizen” asks what the heck is the Barotse Question?

Thus, to edify “interested citizen”, the Barotse Question is simply an explanation of the fundamental reasons underlying the quest for the restoration of the Barotse Agreement. There are two dominant theses on this issue, and notably they are not founded on the infinitesimal question of boundaries. These are: (1) sustenance of a sense of belonging to a traditionally and colonially recognised politically and historically defined nationhood; and (2) a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation) in the post-colonial State, which in Africa is mostly an assemblage of ethnic groups that were defined as a nation by the colonial masters[1].

These two theses defining the Barotse Question provide us a framework for addressing “interested citizens” questions of what the heck is Barotseland and who the heck do they think they are. This is because they address 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[2].

Significantly, the Barotse sense of nationhood is historically recognised. For instance, 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 here is that 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.

To which end, historically, there have been attempts to assert this entitlement. Notable attempts include that in 1907, when 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). And in 1921, when King Yeta III presented Prince Arthur of Connaught 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.

In 1953, Barotseland was declared a ‘protectorate within the protectorate’, during the processes of the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Barotseland’s sovereignty was recognised in section 112 of the Constitution of Northern Rhodesia.

On May 18, 1964, the Barotseland Agreement was signed (for lack of newspaper space I advise “interested citizen” reads the first paragraph of the Agreement). The agreement provided the governance and legitimacy framework for the creation of the independent sovereign State of Zambia. In short, the Agreement recognised a people’s a sense of belonging to a traditionally and colonially recognised politically and historically defined nationhood.

Thus, the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 evidences the first thesis on the Barotse Question, which is sustenance of a sense of belonging to a traditionally and colonially recognised politically and historically defined nationhood. Interestingly, the Laws of Zambia consistently give due recognition to the autonomy of Barotseland as they acknowledge the existence of a Barotse Native Authority. There is no other group of people in Zambia politically and historically recognised as such.

However, derogations of the Barotseland Agreement are argued to chiefly include the 1969 Constitution Amendment Act and the Western Province (Land and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, with the former abolishing all rights, obligation and liabilities attached to the agreement, and the latter disinvesting the Litunga of his powers over land in the province as it vested all land in Barotseland in the President of Zambia.

The second explanation of the fundamental reasons underlying the quest for the restoration of the Barotse Agreement or what is termed the Barotse Question is a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation. This, I have consistently argued is a fallacy and a mere parody for political opportunism. Hence I write somewhere, “That Western province is the poorest and least developed province in Zambia is not a subject of debate, but that it should be acknowledged that all rural Zambia has comparatively been neglected for some time in our country’s development history”.

In addition, I have further argued that over time in post-independent Zambia’s history there is no ethno-region that can argue that they have been underrepresented in the political governance of Zambia. For instance, Lindemann’s governance representative indices by regional groupings and or ethnic groupings in the period 1964 to 2008 do not show significant ethnic marginalisation, though variances are observable[3]. Unfortunately, this is not the case today, as even evidenced by the Catholic Bishops concern on this score.

In retrospect, I hope up to this stage I have edified who the heck do they think they are; what the heck is Barotseland, and what the heck is the Barotse Question?

“Interested citizens” other questions, are “what really is the Barotse Question in today’s Zambia (just indicate the request or demand) and who are affected in terms of geographical boundaries”.

First, having outlined the paradigm of the Barotse Question, I hope “interested citizen” can now surmise that who is affected is simply who has a sense of belonging to a traditionally and colonially recognised politically and historically defined nationhood. In any case, a nation is nothing much but an evolution of historical romanticism! So the boundaries of Barotseland at any one point in history are simply defined by a historic and political sense of belonging. Period.

Second, what is the request or demand? The request or demand is inviolably inherent in the Barotse Question’s thesis. That is sustenance of a sense of belonging to a traditionally and colonially recognised politically and historically defined nationhood; and a sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation) in the post-colonial State.

To which end, if we so understand this thesis, the question is NOT what is the request or demand, but what does the Barotse Question teach us in today’s Zambia? The answer is simply that the Barotse Question and its see-saw resurgence (thereof) provides us an interrogation of the usurpation of the traditionalists autonomy and privileges during the country’s State-building process. But critical of all, it simply calls onto to us to rethink as to whether our centralist approaches to political and economic governance address the sense of belonging to a traditionally and colonially recognised politically and historically defined nationhood and the sense of socio-economic and political exclusion (or marginalisation) concerns of our population.

The “Barotse Question is simply an affirmation of the need for equitably determined developmental entitlements, and elite bargaining based on social group or regional representation; and that 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” (Mbinji 2011).

In short, the Barotse Question the request or demand (if we so wish to put it that way) provides a framework for devolution of power to the regions. It 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.

In conclusion, if we so now understand the Baroste Question, we should then understand that it is 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 today’s political elites and traditionalists.

After all, the Barotse Question is just a product of the rural poverty vis-à-vis political governance representation disconnect evident in Zambia.

[1] Mbinji M., (2011), Re-Examining the Argument for the Restoration of the Barotseland Agreement, A paper presentation to the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) National Conference on Traditional Authorities, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Lusaka, Zambia.
[2] Ibid
[3] Lindemann, S., (2010), Inclusive elite bargains and civil war avoidance: The case of Zambia, Crisis States Working Papers Series No.2.