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Sunday, 26 October 2008

Chiefs and election fever (9)

Two significant developments this passing week on the campaign trail.

The Times reported an
audacious promise from the Pf Presidential Candidate to the Lozi Cabinet, if elected, his government will recognise the Barotse Agreement and will reinstate several chieftainships abolished by first Republican president Kenneth Kaunda’s administration :

Mr Sata told the Kuta, the Lozi Cabinet at the palace in Mongu yesterday that his government would implement the provisions of the now contentious agreement to restore dignity to the Barotse Royal Establishment. Mr Sata who is in Western Province to drum up support for his presidential candidature in this month-end’s election, said the agreement had been highly misunderstood by people in the country.

Contrary to views in some quarters that the agreement entailed seceding of the Barotseland from Zambia , he said, the accord was all about dignity for the royal establishment and development of the area.

Mr Sata said the Barotseland governance system was one of the best decentralised local government systems and it should serve as a model for people in other parts of the country. He said it was unfortunate, therefore, that successive government administrations had not tackled the issue of the agreement and continued to abrogate it, hence the need to implement it.

In case you wondering what "governance system" Sata has in mind here, I have uploaded this very short paper which broadly explains the Barotse administrative framework.

The Watchdog reported that the Tonga Traditional Authority had finally thrown its weight behind Hakainde Hichilema :

...Speaking in a special programme on Musi-oa-tunya community radio station in Livingstone Friday, President of the TTA Dickson Namanza disclosed that his association which comprised of 3.5 million people across the nation has decided to endorse Hichilema’s candidature because he is the only Presidential candidate who has so far promised good policies for the economic development of the country. Mr. Namanza who is also Chairman of Lwiindi Traditional Ceremony said there is no doubt that Hichilema will transform the country’s social and economic problems should he be voted into power next week....

The 3.5m people presumably is the proportion of Tonga speaking Zambians ? I have not got data to hand to immediately verify this assertion. In any case, it sounds extremely bizarre to imply that the organisation speaks for all Tongas, many who belong to other parties. In the grand scheme of things, this endorsement is not a "game changer", since all it does is reassure HH's support base. HH cannot win without securing Southern Province, anymore than RB can win without Mpezeni's support in Eastern Province.

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