Lusaka - The Zambian government has denied having arrested any person in Kalabo this year in connection with the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964 (BA 64).
Responding to a question on Tuesday 10th December 2013 by Sikongo Member of Parliament Mundia Ndalamei, who wanted to know how many people were arrested in Kalabo in connection with the defunct BA 64 as of 30th September 2013, and when the Zambian government will resolve the Barotse impasse, a Zambian Deputy Minister said that the BA 64 was not the root cause of what was happening in Western Province (Barotseland), and claimed that the problem was the general underdevelopment in the area which was being resolved by the Zambian government through creation of more districts.
Hon.Mundia Ndalamei was not satisfied with the response and, therefore, questioned the Minister as to why the Zambian government was arresting people in Barotseland, to which the Minister responded with a straight lie, saying that they never arrested any person in connection with issues arising from the defunct BA 64, and stressed that the government only arrested people over 'treason' charges.
“I am not aware! The people arrested were talking about succession, this is one Zambia and those people were arrested on conduct bordering on treason,” he said.
At this point Monze Central MP Jack Mwiimbu raised a point of order to the Deputy Minister for misleading the house on a clear matter, to which the Speaker told the minister to take note of the point of order as he responds.
But the minister responded to the Speaker that he was not aware of these arrests.
Kalabo Central MP Chinga Miyutu, then charged that the Minister was failing to tell the truth, and wondered whether the Minister was not aware that people had been arrested in Kalabo because they want to reclaim their land which is Barotseland.
The Minister then said there were different arms of government, and what the police did was to arrest people based on 'conduct', and the other matters were up to the courts to interpret.
Mwandi MP Michael Kaingu then jumped on the bandwagon, and pointed out that the 'one Zambia one nation' that the Minister was referring to came as a result of a Zambia born through the BA 64.
Lukulu East MP Christopher Kalila asked when government will release the Roger Chongwe Commission of inquiry report to the public.
Zambian Home Affairs Minister, and acting leader of government business in the house, Edgar Lungu responded that what he knows was that the Roger Chongwe Commission was on the Mongu riots and it never dealt with the contents of the BA 64.
Lungu went further to give a conflicting answer that the issue in Western Province (Barotseland) was about poverty, and the Zambian government was working hard to lift the poverty levels in the area, adding that the Roger Chongwe Commission was on the Mongu riots that bordered on succession.
Kalomo MP Request Muntanga asked why the government had failed to enforce the BA 64 in its totality since the PF were talking about decentralization of power for people to govern themselves.
Lungu then responded that the BA 64 was about recognizing chiefs, and taking power to the people for them to govern themselves, and stressed that there was no contradiction with the PF policy of decentralization and BA 64, adding that he was happy that Zambia was moving forward as one Zambia and one nation.
Editors' Note: Listening to this parliamentary debate and answers provided by the government officials, it is very clear that the Zambian government and its media, including some private ones, want to deliberately mislead Zambians on the situation prevailing in Barotseland by blacking out information, and churning out propaganda instead.
Over 30 of the 84 people officially arrested and detained without trial for between two - three months in Mongu and later Mwembeshi's muximum prison over some trump up treason charge, came from the region of Kalabo. These were among the ones released on Nolle Prosecui on the 1st of November 2013.