Kabimba Struggles to Explain Barotse Promise
Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba was pushed in the corner in parliament as he sought to ward off a barrage of questions over the touchy subject of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 in parliament. Kabimba initially took a casually dismissive stance but had to dig in deeper as the questions kept coming until he gave in some ground.
Below are excerpts from the debate in parliament:
Question: Misheck Mutelo (Lukulu West MP): Mr Speaker I want to find out from the Minister, when the PF came into power they appointed a commission to look into the affairs of Barotseland Agreement and that is still gathering dust in the Minister’s office, when will the government publish the findings?
Answer: Wynter Kabimba (Nominated MP): Mr Speaker that is a totally different question.
Question: Michael Kaingu (Mwandi MP): Let me declare interest Mr Speaker, Honourable Kabimba is my friend and I want (I don’t hate him). Honourable Minister, do you know the importance of the Barotse Agreement to One Zambia, One Nation? If you do may you please tell this house and the nation at large?
Answer: Kabimba: Mr Speaker I am being taken into the parameters that are not the domain of the question.
Question: Cornelius Mweetwa (Choma Central MP): In view of the question by the Honourable Member of Parliament for Lukulu West, and indeed in understanding of the fact that the issue of the Barotseland Agreement continues to nag this nation, and as we speak I am reliably informed that we have Barotse activists in prison, what is the PF administration doing to bring this issue to an amicable and conclusive end as opposed to leaving it the way it is subject to speculation?
Answer: Wynter Kabimba: Thank you Mr Speaker, any matters that relates to the breach of our laws will be dealt with by the authorities, that is the police and the national prosecution authority so that is not the area I am dealing with in this question.
Question: Mundia Ndalamei (Sikongo MP): Thank you Mr Speaker when you were campaigning, you promised the people that you will restore the Barotse Agreement (Point of Order).
Question: Mweetwa (Choma Central MP): Sir my question is given the controversy surrounding the Barotse Agreement of 1964, what is the PF administration doing to bring this whole debate to a conclusive and amicable end and not the people who are in prison but the whole debate of the Barotse Agreement upon which you set a very formidable platform for your campaign but that aside what are doing to bring this debate to an end? Is he in order therefore to have misunderstood my question?
(Point of order by Micheal Kaingu Mwandi MP): Mr Speaker you know that me I am a very humble man and I don’t usually rise on point of orders. Sir the Barotse Agreement is fundamental to the unity of this country and therefore I find it appalling for the minister of justice who is my friend to underplay the importance of the Barotse Agreement. Sir is he is order despite his knowledge in order to underplay this agreement which has brought unity to this country?
Question: Mundia Ndalamei (Sikongo MP) continues: when the PF government was campaigning in 2011, they promised the people of Barotseland that they will restore the Barotseland Agreement, when people are reminding them, they are arresting them, is that what you call good governance in PF?
Answer: Kabimba: Mr Speaker I do not know of any citizen of this country that has been arrested for reminding the government about the Barotse Agreement of 1964. Secondly, coming back to the question of my friend, we are not underplaying the issue of Barotse Agreement and that is why His Excellency set up the commission in 2012 of inquiry on this very issue and the findings of this inquiry are still pending consideration by cabinet and soon as that has been concluded we shall inform members of the public accordingly.
Question: Derrick Livune (Katomobora MP): Mr Speaker (Point of Order by Lukulu West MP mischeck Mutelo) Sir I don’t know what this day is today because my two questions on the order paper, the first one was not answered neither is the second one being answered, no wonder the other question that the MP for Katomobora when it was again answered in that manner he got angry, was the executive in order to be answering the way they are answering to frustrate the motion at hand more especially the Barotse people?
Question: Derrick (Livune Katombora): Based on the knowledge that the Minister of Justice is aware on the issue of the Barotse Agreement also Mr Speaker the question raised by Honourable Mutelo I would like to find out from the Honourable Minister himself based on his good judgment is he aware of any problem between the Barotseland and the government of the Republic of Zambia or the people of Barotseland versus himself and his government?
Answer: Kabimba: Mr Speaker I do not come to this house to exercise my judgment I come here to represent the government of the Republic of Zambia. Therefore the answers I give are a representation of the position of the republic of Zambia.