The Government has a duty and responsibility to restore peace, harmony and tranquility in the country. The standoff in the various social, political and economic arenas should be resolved with urgency to restore the sense of national unity and belonging that this country has been enjoying for the last 49years.
There are far too many areas of contention begging for resolution.
Potential areas of conflict are growing by the day and more communities are being drawn into contention as more communities and interest groups are being marginalized due to unresolved areas of divergence.
One most immediate and troubling area of contention is the whole the Barotse Agreement quagmire which seems to defy description because the two parties involved both claim to be in the right and there is no reason to doubt either.
On one hand the Government has adopted a very hard line attitude against secessionists in Barotseland who are advocating a breach of Zambia as unitary state and therefore committing treason. On the other hand Barotse people in general feel a righteous indignation against Government’s u-turn over the Barotse agreement.
What is at stake is the interpretation of the Barotse agreement.
This agreement was “proscribed” or nullified by legislation in 1969 when the Government decided among other things to recognize the Litunga as one of the Chiefs on the same rank as Paramount Chief Mpezeni or indeed Paramount Chief Chitimukulu in the one united country of Zambia.
This was the final strand that completely obliterated Barotseland as a territory separate from the rest of the country. It follows therefore that by 2011 there was no Barotse agreement to be restored and yet part of the campaign promised the restoration of the agreement.
The difficulty of attaining this feat was never explained to the people of Barotseland, who have been expecting restoration of the agreement with all the benefits it would bring.
Listening to Liuwa Member of Parliament Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane id clear that the people of Barotseland have been laboring under a serious illusion which must be explained to them if a settlement is envisaged.
The people of Barotseland are genuinely aggrieved that the Government has not only u-turned but has made villains of people who were promised and were therefore looking forward to the “restoration” of the agreement.
It is only proper and in order that Government should explain the situation so that both sides are left with no illusions. The current status is not sustainable and is clearly a recipe for future conflict and differences.