Friday, 30 March 2012

Barotse National Council sucession call condemned

The Barotse National Council's (BNC) resolution to succeed from Zambia has caused outrage in the government. The Minister of Home Affairs has called it a treasonable offence. Others have also reacted angrily. Nkoya Royal Council chairperson said "the outcome of the council meeting was a reflection of greedy and desperate individuals". Opposition leaders have called on government to engage the Barotse National Council in dialogue.

Barotseland is a region of Western Zambia that was granted special self-governance rights through a treaty signed in 1964. The people of Barotseland are angry because the treaty has never really been implemented and many perceive that Barotseland Province (the name of which was later changes to Western Province) has, over the years, been systematically starved of development because of the desire for self-governance. Frustrations have erupted into riots and violence twice in the last three years. There also appear to be divisions among the various groups claiming to represent the Barotse on the national stage.

In response to the latest call for independence, the Home Affairs Minister said that "the Patriotic Front (PF) Government would not tolerate lawlessness and that it would govern the country as a unitary State in accordance with the law".

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