Zambians should not take the Barotseland agreement lightly because the matter is now being pursued by more militant youths, warns Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) president Charles Milupi.
He said this when he Featured on Millennium Radio last Friday.
Mr. Milupi warned that once the controversy over the Barotseland Agreement sparks out of control, it would engulf the whole nation.
“The issue is long overdue for a resolution and the young people and more militant people have taken over the issue and once it sparks, it will engulf the whole country,” said Mr. Milupi.
He said government should pay attention to the matter which had now been reported to the African Union and other international bodies for intervention and mediation.
“This is a serious matter now because it has been taken to the African Union’s African Commission on Human and People’s Rights in Banjul, Gambia while international lawyers have also been engaged to pursue the matter at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in the Hague,” Mr Milupi said.
The ADD leader who has been attending court session for people arrested over the Barotseland agreement controversy observed that the youths in the region had become radicals and were categorically telling the court that they were not Zambians.
“And this is the main reason I am saying that we need to handle this matter with care because it might backfire and hit us in our faces if we decide to be brutal in the manner we are handling this matter. It is a sensitive issue but we have no option but to deal with it because it is now talked about,” he said.
Mr Milupi referred to the three Barotseland National Youth League youths who were in prison in Kaoma who have insisted and maintained that they were not Zambians and would not receive justice in a foreign land.
Mr. Milupi explained that the Barotseland Agreement which was signed in 1964 was a ‘union’ treaty between two separate countries in order to attain independence as Zambia.
“These were two separate territories and if you can look at the picture published by the Post Newspaper recently showing police officers on horseback and the caption which read as ‘Barotse police on horseback crossing the Victoria Bridge in 1907.’ – indicating that Barotseland as a separate protectorate had her own police. And that is why it requires being honest and people can never be forced to change history,” he said.
Mr Milupi also said the Barotseland Agreement was abrogated as it lead to the abolition of a parliament known as ‘Katengo’ legislative council which had 25 elected members while 20 were nominated by the Litunga.