I read Mwenda Nayoto, the Secretary General of the Barotseland National Youth League (BNYL)’s article titled: “Does the matter of Barotseland’s statehood need to be taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after the declaration of the March 27th 2012 that Barotseland has reverted to her earlier status that obtained before 1964?” In his opinion, Mwenda argues that there is no need for Barotseland to take the matter of its statehood to the ICJ, further arguing [with a daring challenge] that there has never been a country that got its independence through the ICJ. Mwenda also highlighted the conditions required for a state to be recognised, which conditions he says have been fulfilled. And going by Mwenda’s article, these statehood recognition requirements have been met by Linyungandambo – which he says has finished (exhausted) everything – probably the steps required.
For easy reference, I have decided to quote the open of the BNC position statement: “We the people of Barotseland declare that Barotseland is now free to pursue its own self-determination and destiny.”
Mwenda Nayoto’s observations are spot on. Why should we go to the ICJ when we have already stated our position? Is there a dispute between Barotseland and Zambia over the declaration? As Mwenda aptly observed, the Zambian government did not rebut Barotseland declaration, therefore, silence on the part of Zambia means consent. Barotseland should move on in the spirit of the March 27 BNC resolutions.
We have declared our position, and as Mwenda correctly put it, the declaration that the Barotseland made is binding and cannot be reversed. Some of the resolutions came with deadlines of 30 days (resolutions 7 and 8.) It is on record too that Barotseland has already declared dispute with the Zambian government through the letter by Barotseland Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Clement Sinyinda to Zambian president Michael Sata on May 14, 2012. In fact, the Prime Minister indicated in his letter that the Barotse government was in the process of creating structures necessary for the governance of Barotseland. These structures should be put in place immediately.
I will conclude by referring to Mwenda’s statement to “some fellows,” which he says are claiming to be in the struggle when they are seemingly not and do not appreciate the work by Linyungandambo and that they do hate and mudslide this activist group. The least we need at the moment is mud sliding and hatred. We instead need unit of purpose. We need to appreciate one another’s contribution to the struggle of Barotseland independence, irrespective of the contributions’ size and magnitude. And to all our activist organisations: Linyungandambo, BFM, BNYL, or MOREBA, do not work in isolation, instead, everything must be done in consultation and collectiveness. No one organization must seem or think to know better than the others or set the agenda for others to follow, whether it has to do with satisfying the required conditions for statehood recognition or not. We need to plan together and speak one voice for the betterment of our country, Barotseland.
Time to point fingers at each other is not now.
KI NAKO YA KUIPUSA!