Friday, 12 July 2019 | By Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
“Zambians who come from the other provinces must understand that the ‘Western Province’ has a legitimate claim to be part of Zambia on a DIFFERENT BASIS to the rest, and cannot in good conscience try to gloss over and arrogantly dismiss this fact, as has been the practice in the past.” Dr Rodger Chongwe, 2010.
Although not specifically stated in post-independence and current national constitutions, it is not a mere supposition or vain claim to state that the Lozi speaking people, also known as Barotse, are a special people in Zambia. Rather, their special status is indeed a legitimate historical and legal fact.
This is not to mean the Lozi are necessarily superior or inferior! They are simply special and the reasons for their uniqueness are briefly outlined here below for those without the historical and legal knowledge of the special circumstances under which the Lozi speaking people became part of independent Zambia.
WHY ARE LOZI SPECIAL IN ZAMBIA?
As stated by Dr Rodger Chongwe when answering a similar question in 2010, in the quote above, the Lozi speaking people became Zambians under a totally different and unique circumstance to all other Zambian citizens.
This unique circumstance, The Barotseland Agreement 1964, though purportedly abrogated and later defunct, was the singular international instrument by which Barotseland, and all its nationals, became part of the Republic of Zambia at its independence in 1964, through specific terms and conditions!
In fact, the Lozi speaking people in Zambia are the only citizenry who can legitimately claim that they are foremost Barotse nationals and Zambians secondarily because the terms and conditions of their integration in Zambia is based upon that fundamental basis!
This assertion is not promoting tribal war or anarchy, and neither is it contrary to the aspiration of the ‘One Zambia One Nation’ principle because it is merely stating the facts of the nature of Zambia’s statehood which must actually be taught to every Zambian citizen for a better co-existence and understanding of the unitary nature of Zambia!
The unitary nature of Zambia is not in the co-existence of its 72 ‘tribes’ but a direct result of its two sub-divisions, Barotseland and the rest, which are both governed under one central government as may be prescribed from time to time!
It must also be emphasized that Barotse or Lozi speaking people in Zambia are Nkoya, Mbunda, Lucazi, Luyana, Subia, Chokwe, Mafwe, Toka, Ila, Luvale, Mbowe, Kwangwa and all the more than thirty varied communities or tribes who came to be Zambians simply because they were inhabitants of Barotseland at Zambia’s independence.
Therefore, a Luyana, Nkoya, Subiya or Mbunda cannot, in all honesty, claim to be ‘only’ Zambian and not Lozi if one understands that they are Zambians primarily because they are of Lozi nationality!
As an example, the Mafwe and Subiya of present-day Namibia are not Zambians precisely because they were already not a part of Barotseland Protectorate by 1964. Similarly, had the Nkoya or Mbunda been a part of today’s Angola instead of Barotseland at Zambia’s independence in 1964, they too would not have become Zambians but Angolans.
So, because both the Nkoya and Mbunda belonged to the Kingdom of Barotseland in 1964, they automatically became Zambians at its independence!
Without separate Barotseland statehood, all inhabitants of Barotseland are Zambians because they are firstly Lozi!