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“New Approach Wise”
10 April 2012 Tuesday 04:42 AM Views: 2635 times

The decision by the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to tone down the aggressive approach towards the Barotseland Agreement is wise and should hold for the country to maintain peace and stability.

This country has resolved most of its contentious issues through dialogue and consensus building, an attribute which is rare on the African continent replete with conflict and instability.

No doubt, the BRE and other stakeholders in Western Province have deeply reflected on the resultant negative affects that would have spiralled if indeed they had continued to agitate for secession.

Soon after the Barotse National Council resolved that a Barotse government had been formed, the resonant voice from all corners was that Zambia should be maintained as a unitary State.

Non-governmental organisations, political parties, the Church, trade unions, students, the academia, and many other interest groups did not believe that the resolution was plausible.

The resolution in essence remained a lone voice which threatened the peace and unity in the country.

There are reasons why the declaration was roundly frowned upon, one of them being that, in practical terms, Western Province cannot stand on its own; Development cannot take root.

Secondly, the approach was in conflict with the statutes of the land because no one organisation or individual can legitimately declare a State within Zambia.

The other reason is that the resolution was a recipe for bloodshed as has been the case in other countries.

As indicated in this column last week on Thursday, in other countries where secession has been agitated, civil wars have broken out because it is a delicate and an unattainable undertaking which only works to divide the people.

In 1967, Nigeria was sent into a civil war as a result of an attempted secession.

The civil war, also known as the Nigerian Biafra War from 1967 to 1970, was a political conflict caused by an attempted secession of south-eastern provinces as the self-proclaimed Republic of Biafra.

The scars in Africa’s most populous country are still there.

It was interesting that all Members of Parliament from Western Province declined to comment on the resolution for the region to break away.

Certainly, their decision to remain mute speaks volumes of how risky and delicate it is to agitate for secession.

Therefore, it is impressing that the Ngambela, Clement Sinyinda and the BRE in general, have attenuated their approach to this delicate issue.

The BRE should now start preparing to convene for meaningful dialogue while the Government on the other hand should thoroughly study the Chongwe Commission of Inquiry report and make the findings and recommendations public.

Dialogue will be more meaningful if the report and Government reaction are publicised.

Interest groups in this country should expend more time and energy expounding development issues in a more civilised manner.

There are so many factors that should take centre-stage in public discourse such as the high poverty levels, fluctuating local currency, which now stands at K5,350 to a United States dollar on average, disease, corruption, and rising vices such as gender-based violence.

Stakeholders should collectively explore solutions to the many biting challenges and avoid confrontation.

Dialogue is the way forward!

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