Stop blame game over Barotse problems-Saunders

The problem of the Barotse Agreement of 1964 should be handled with utmost care and that the blame game should be stopped because that matter was sensitive and involves many people who could have resolved the issue just after Zambia attained her independence, political activist Dante Saunders has advised.

Mr Saunders said he was worried with the acrimonious manner some people particularly those hailing from Western Province were trying to approach the matter.

He said the issue of Barotse Agreement of 1964 should not be linked to the current political events because some of the leaders in the political arena were not responsible for the failure by those who created the problems in Western Province.

“I am speaking on this matter because of how some individuals are trying to relate the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 to the current political outlook. It is not right to begin blaming some political leadership who were not responsible for the current impasse between government and the people of Western Province. The blame game must be stopped because the Barotse problem needs to be resolved with a clear and sincere political undertaking,” Mr Saunders said.

Mr Saunders said the people of Western Province were advocating for freedom and that it was important that the current political leadership should have found a civil and amicable of dealing with the challenge.

He said those who were blaming others over the Barotseland were there at a time the Agreement was signed and still owed the nation and should speak out on the issue which had remained unresolved because the younger generation were affected.

“My concern is that some people want to blame the issue of Barotseland on others when no one should be blamed because many of the people who were there are still alive and they can break the silence considering that the innocent people have suffered consequences because of lack of information over the same,” he said.

Mr Saunders said that veteran politician Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika’s recent statement that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema had his good wishes politicians in the Zambian election campaign meant that politicians should stop talking about the Barotse problems because previous governments including the current one had failed the people of Western Province.

Mbikusita-Lewanika had recently stated that during 1991 presidential and parliamentary election campaign President Kenneth Kaunda promised to solve the Barotseland issue and even pay for Barotse government lawyers, but only to continue criminalizing even speaking about the Agreement.

But Mr Saunders argued that the issue of Barotseland Agreement could only be brought to an end if the people, including the senior Lozis broke the silence.

He insisted that the issue could not be over emphasized and that it was not late to engage in dialogue because the issue would continue to reappear time and again.