Explain full contents of Barotse Agreement-Saunders

The people who were involved in the Barotse Agreement of 1964 have been challenged to tell the nation what was involved in the Agreement, to bring an end to the confusing situation among the people of Zambia.

Political activist Dante Saunders said the issue at hand was of national interest and needed thorough explanation from the people and stakeholders who were involved, as leaving it hanging was a “suicide” to younger generation.

Saunders wondered why the people who were involved, including the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE), veteran politicians and many more others were failing to tell their side of the story if they meant peace and stability in the country.

“Those people who were there must really come out and explain to the people of Zambia the logic behind the Barotse Agreement of 1964, as the issue was totally unfolding, because there was a signed document, so that they can improve where they feel they went wrong,” he said.

Saunders said that the history must be told to the young people so that they were able to interpret issues of national interest, adding that it was unfortunately that the approach into the matter was harsh and violated the human rights because of the abuse the people were subjected to.

He cautioned the PF government to take interest into the matter of the Barotse, because showing ignorance on such sensitive issues was abrogating the rights of the people of Western Province.

Saunders wondered why the people were giving a blind eye when they knew that the issues was based on a signed document, which was known, adding that if anything dialogue was the best way to go about.

He said that the stage, at which the issue had reached, where 84 Barotse activists facing treason charges have instructed their defence team to summon President Sata and first republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda as witnesses should their treason charges proceed to trial, must be taken into account.

“This is serious and the people involved in this issue must have no option but to sit down and see how they can about with the matter. It might sound irrelevant because it has been taken by events, but for the sake of peace and unity in the country, let us see to it that the issue is put to rest,” he said.

Saunders added that subjecting the people of Barotseland to oppression was a sad reading on grounds that they were more like any other citizens who should have their rights respected.

According to the statement, the defence team will inquire into letters that President Kaunda wrote to the Ngambela and the Litunga in 1991 wherein he undertook to set in to motion the implementation of the agreement upon his return to office after the elections of that year.

“The arrest of the Barotse  activists under direct orders of President Sata is a continuation of futile, unrealistic and desperate measures experienced under previous ad ministrations to stem the tide of an unstoppable march by the people of Barotseland to correct a mistake of history caused by the first post-independence government of Dr Kaunda” the statement reads.

The activists arrested on treason charges have been in custody for more than two months a and have told the prosecution and prison authorities to pay attention to the fact that relocating them from areas of arrest  where they are naturally domiciled denies them  basic services to which they are entitled.