Barotseland Agreement

The Barotseland Agreement (BA) allows Zambians a chance for self reflection.  Honest reflection should not focus on the leaders who have failed to execute the BA, but rather on the role the rest of us have playedin this matter.  It has been nearly 50 years and our leadership has still not implemented the BA.  What does this say about our culture?  The question is why has this agreement not been put into operation or resolved for nearly fifty years?  The blame cannot be placed solely on our leaders. All of us must be complicit for this type of inaction to last 46 years!

BA notwithstanding, the problem of leadership in Zambia is real.  Consider the recent wrangles at Football Association of Zambia (FAZ), which are still not resolved.  Imagine, the leaders at the Sports Council of Zambia, the Ministry of Youth and Sport, FAZ, and the football clubs themselves could not come together, sit, discuss the situation, and find the way forward. It took FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland to resolve our problems.  It saddens me that such a basic local problem required a trip to Zurich and a two hour meeting with FIFA for our leaders to be told what to do for us to move forward.  I pray that the BA case can be resolved without a group of leaders flying to the UK to be told what to do from the UK government.

Good leaders build on the strengths and hopes people who want to make a difference.  It is my prayer that the people of Barotseland went into the agreement with the government because they were seeking sustainable hope and a sense of wellbeing for their community.  It is also my prayer that the founding fathers, who affirmed the agreement, saw it as an opportunity to serve the people by building confidence, helping them identify strengths and local resources, that they might believe change is possible.  Zambia had never lacked workers.  What we have lacked are leaders who inspire hope, chart the course, and set us in motion.  The Bible is full of wonderful examples of leaders who rose to the occasion and called people back to their priorities in the midst of indifference, apathy, and a loss of faith and values.  The result was God being glorified.

Where are the leaders in Lusaka and Mongu who are committed to building a nation where the people enjoy wholeness, health, prosperity, possibility, and safety?  Sorrowfully, many are concerned about constructing their own homes and businesses and have lost that vision. What remains,  is a group of followers who are hoping to enact the BA.  Where no leader can be found, the famous verse in the last chapter of Judges speaks of what happens when people have no leader and need answers: “In those days there was no king in Israel and everyone did what was pleasing in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

May a leader rise to the occasion and resolve the BA problem. Depending on the resolution, this could be the commencement of infusing and empowering rural communities to address their needs with their own resources, for their own development.

Lawrence Temfwe