Incorporate Barotse Agreement in new Constitution – Harrington

A Commissioner on the Willa Mung’omba Constitution commission William Harrington says the constitution convention should find a way of incorporating the 1964 Barotse Agreement.

And Mr Harrington has demanded that government should make available the Rodger Chongwe Commission of inquiry report which would help delegates make an intelligent decision on the exercise.

Mr Harrington advised that government should not lose the opportunity to have things done properly with regards to WesternProvince.

“This is a very important report that President Sata is expected to release to the Zambian people so that they could make informed decisions on the matter. I repeat if indeed this constitution making committee is legal, let him make the report available.

“It is wrong to subject people to things they don’t know and all we say is that this constitution would not be complete without the Barotseland Agreement. It is over a year now but the report has not been released even when they knew that this issue would be highly contested during this period,” he said.

Mr Harrington said people needed to understand that Zambia would never be a unitary state without mentioning the Agreement in the constitution.

He said the statement by former National Assembly Speaker Amusaa Mwanamwambwa that the two parties had agreed but one of them abrogated the provisions of the Agreement without consulting the other was true and should be taken seriously.

The commissioner said it would be an assault on the people of Barotseland if these matters were ignored.

“The former Speaker was very clear and his advice must be followed because if not posterity will judge them harshly. Mr Mwanamwambwa is very correct because the Agreement is not about seceding. Barotseland was a self governing nation and it was only when the agreement was signed that Zambia became a unitary state.

“This meeting provides a rare opportunity to discuss issues surrounding the Barotseland. People misunderstood the document but they must be helped by releasing the Rodger Chongwe report,” Mr Harrington said.

He observed that the decision by the convention not to look at the issue of the Agreement would technically divorce the Barotseland from Zambia and that this would be harsh for the people of Western province.

He said it was important for the delegates to understand the Agreement other than refusing to discuss what they don’t understand.

Mr Harrington challenged President Sata to tell the nation why it was wrong for the agreement to be honoured because he was in support of it.

“Mr Sata is on record on 8th January 2011 of saying that the 1964 Barotseland Agreement was valid so it must be respected and honoured,” he said.