Thursday, September 6, 2012

A delusion of intellectual logic?

Hyde Haguta,


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.