By Peter Sinkamba
BAROTSE SECESSION DEMAND: HH PRESIDENCY IS BEST TIME TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE AUTHORITATIVELY
When the issue was hot between 2011 and 2015, I had an opportunity to hold several live phone-in radio programmes in Mongu. Probably, it was only the Green Party that had an election manifesto with issue inked in black and white for 2015 and 2016 elections. Perhaps, it was only we, the Greens who had the courage to confront this issue head-on right in Barotseland in an open manner.
Our policy position on the Barotseland secession was two directional. First, we stated that if we won the election, one of the priority programmes would be to run a referendum only in Barotseland inorder to determine whether more than 50% of persons eligible to vote support session. Second, we stated that if the no-vote got more than 50% vote, we would initiate a transition from unitary system of governance to a federal system.
Ironically, majority of the callers that participated in our phone-in radio programmes supported our two viewpoints. Unfortunately, we lost in the two elections and rest is history.
Neither the PF nor UPND had the Barotseland secession issue in their manifestos. Consequently, no policy has been formulated up to now aimed at resolving this issue.
But as the Greens, we knew it was a just matter of time, and this issue was going to resurface. And boom, it back on the menu!
In our view, at the moment, there are probably only two leaders better placed to resolve the Barotseland secession issue authoritatively: President HH and myself. Since this is the HH presidency, I think this is a golden opportunity for him to confront this issue head-on. He should not bury his head in the sand, as doing so would be doing a great disservice to mother Zambia.
I have seen posts suggesting that the referendum of 1963 suffices. I don’t agree with that view. I think there is need to garner the courage of Dr. Kaunda and his team. They authoritatively got overwhelming mandate for One Zambia, One Nation through that referendum. In view of the persistent secession demands from 2011 going forward, I think that renewal of the Kaundas mandate gotten 60 years ago is justified.
In this regard, I urge my brother President HH to garner courage and run a referendum in Barotseland only, to resolve secession question in an authoritative, democratic manner so as to put it rest this issue once again.
Over to you my brother President HH.