14 January 2013

Zambia: Barotseland Wants Input On Constitution

A court in Zambia has freed 54 separatists who were facing charges of treason for trying to create a new state called Barotseland in the west of the ... ( Resource: Zambian Court Frees 54 Held Over Treason )

Bert Mushala, the Permanent Secretary for Western Province, says the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) has indicated to him that it would like to take part in the constitutional convention, representing a reversal from previous statements.

Addressing the draft constitution technical committee today, Mushala said the BRE had U-turned from its earlier position and would now like to be part of the constitution making process.

"They want to make a last minute submission to be part of the provincial review convention and since they have shown interest, we request that you consider their application," he said.

The BRE, which advocates for the formal separation of the province from Zambia, had previously stated that the constitutional drafting process was unfair and shouldn't be legitimized by their participation.

Committee chairperson Justice Anel Silungwe said this move was encouraging and that his committee would consider taking the submissions by the Barotseland residents seriously.

He however complained of lack of commitment by members of parliament to the on-going process.

Recently, President Michael Sata made developmental pledges to the Western Province, ordering the immediate construction of a modern sports stadium and a university in the land which has remained underdeveloped since colonial rule.

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