Tuesday, 19 March 2013



HL Deb 20 July 1964 vol 260 cc454-71 454 455

§ 3.19 p.m.

§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Zambia Independence Bill, has consented to place Her prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.

My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time. The Zambia Independence Bill makes provision for the ending of Her Majesty's protection over Northern Rhodesia on October 24 of this year, on which date the territory will become the independent sovereign Republic of Zambia, when, at her Government's request, we look forward to welcoming Zambia as a member of the Commonwealth. Northern Rhodesia has enjoyed internal self-government since January this year. During this period the country has continued its steady development, and I am sure the House will agree that Dr. Kaunda and his Cabinet have displayed an impressive combination of energy and responsibility, and have demonstrated their ability in wide fields.

Shortly after the territory became self-governing, Her Majesty's Government were in touch with the Government of Northern Rhodesia in regard to the further steps necessary to move forward to full independence, and it was eventually agreed that the Independence Conference should open in London on May 5. The Report of that Conference has been published as a White Paper (Cmnd. 2365). In all its sessions, except the first and the last, the Conference met under the chairmanship of Mr. Richard Hornby, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary. As some noble Lords may be aware, tributes have been paid in another place to the way in which he helped forward the work of the Conference and I wish to associate myself fully and most warmly with these sentiments. With the exception of Cyprus, which was of course sui generis, 456 all our territories have hitherto gone into independence with a monarchical form of government, and with the Queen represented by a Governor-General. We are, therefore, breaking new ground in that Zambia, will move straight from its present status as a protectorate to that of an independent sovereign republic. I am quite sure that this should not be taken in any way as an indication that our friends in Northern Rhodesia have any antipathy to the connection with the Crown. Rather it should be seen as a realistic acceptance, right at the outset, of what many African countries have found, after only a brief period of independence, the medium best adapted to their political aspirations.

I might perhaps mention at this point that Dr. Kaunda asked Her Majesty whether she would agree to be represented at the Zambia independence celebrations. Her Majesty asked Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to undertake this representation, which she very gladly agreed to do.

The Constitution of Zambia will provide for an "executive" President. There may be those who feel that, as this new Constitution is one which does not embody the particular checks and balances which we enjoy in this country, for that reason it is less than democratic and thus a step on the road to eventual erosions of liberty. I feel that any such fears would be without foundation. I think it should be remembered that there are to be a number of important features in the Constitution, amendments freely and readily agreed by the Northern Rhodesian Government, which are specifically designed to preserve the liberty and rights of the individual, to limit the powers of the President, and to ensure that the Judiciary will be independent of control by the Executive. Perhaps most significantly, the Bill of Rights in the present Constitution is to be carried forward into the Independence Constitution. It will be entrenched by a special amendment procedure requiring a referendum, and there will be special provisions for its enforcement. The Constitutional Council which was established by the self-governing Constitution is not to be retained. The Council has, in fact, never met; but it has been agreed that broadly parallel functions shall be exercised, if needed, by a special Judiciary tribunal.

457 The Judiciary is to be independent, and any amendment of the provisions in the Constitution relating to the judiciary will also require the referendum process. The control of public prosecutions is to be in the hands of an independent Director of Public Prosecutions, whose relation to the Attorney-General will be comparable with the corresponding relationship in this country. There is to be a Public Service Commission for the Civil Service and there will also be a Judicial Service Commission. This new Constitution will contain many features which do not conform exactly with the Westminster pattern, but I sincerely believe that it is a workable Constitution to meet the special circumstances of Zambia. Most important, because it reflects in essentials the wishes of its people and has been freely negotiated, it is a Constitution which we may be confident will continue.

I turn now to the position of Barotseland. There has been a special relationship, as many noble Lords may know, between Her Majesty's Government and the Litunga of Barotseland since the earliest days of the British connection with Central Africa. The British protection of Barotseland has been exercised since 1911 through the Government of Northern Rhodesia, and as that Government has greatly extended its services generally through the whole territory it has similarly provided increased services in Barotseland.

The approach of independence made it necessary to consider new arrangements; and, following talks last summer with the then First Secretary of State, the Litunga agreed to take part in discussions with the Government of Northern Rhodesia on the question of the future relationship of Barotseland with Northern Rhodesia. Following lengthy negotiations the two parties agreed to sign a new agreement to be known as the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which would replace all the old agreements and which would regulate Barotseland's special position as an integral part of the new Zambia. This agreement was signed in London by the Litunga and Dr. Kaunda on May 18, and has been published as a White Paper (Cmnd. 2366). This was a freely negotiated settlement, and one which will provide very considerable safeguards for the special interests of Barotseland.

458 As we know, independence presents many economic problems, and Zambia will require both advice and, despite its copper revenues, substantial economic assistance not only from Britain but from other developed countries. The British Government have recently announced a gift of £2¾ million to assist the Northern Rhodesia Government with the funding of the short-term debt which was taken over from the Federation at the beginning of this year, and in addition a long-term loan of £3 million, to enable the territory to provide its share of the compensation for overseas officials in Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service. There are also to be talks this coming autumn on aid for general development purposes.

Before commenting on the clauses of the Bill which is now before your Lordships' House, I should like to pay very warm tribute, in which I know noble Lords on all sides of the House will join, to the work carried out by the Northern Rhodesia Civil Service. This Service, together with the Northern Rhodesia Police, has long had an exceptionally high reputation for efficiency and devotion to duty, and I am glad to say that the figures we now have available indicate that a very large proportion of the expatriate officers in these services have shown their readiness to continue to serve the Government of Zambia after independence and to make their contribution to the building of the new Constitution.

Noble Lords may have noted, perhaps with some relief, that an Explanatory Memorandum has been provided with this Bill. It has, as noble Lords know, been customary in the past not to attach these to Independence Bills, and I hope that noble Lords will find this a helpful, if modest, innovation. Clause 1 establishes the Republic of Zambia on October 24, 1964. Clause 2(1) provides for the continuance of existing law until otherwise provided by the Parliament of Zambia. Clauses 3 and 4 deal with nationality matters consequent on Zambian independence and are on the same lines as the Malawi Independence Bill. This is the usual pattern when a British protectorate becomes an independent Commonwealth country. Clause 3(1) adds Zambia to the Commonwealth countries listed in Section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act, 1949. Zambian 459 citizens will therefore be British subjects or Commonwealth citizens in United Kingdom law. This clause also provides that Northern Rhodesia will cease to be a protectorate for the purposes of the British Nationality Acts. The effect of Clause 3(2) is that persons who are British-protected persons because of a connection with Northern Rhodesia will not lose that status until they acquire citizenship of Zambia. Clause 3(3) withdraws citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies from persons who acquire Zambia citizenship on October 24, 1964, and is subject to the exceptions contained in Clause 4. Clause 4 preserves the citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies of persons who become citizens of Zambia on independence, but who have a substantial connection with the United Kingdom, by which I mean any person who himself, or whose father or paternal grandfather, was born, registered or naturalised in the United Kingdom or a remaining colony.

Clause 5 enables Her Majesty in Council to provide for the jurisdiction, powers and procedure of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in respect of appeals from the courts of Zambia. Provision may be made under this clause, both in the law of the United Kingdom and in Zambian law, to give effect to the arrangements agreed at the Independence Conference by which the Judicial Committee can be used as an appeal court for Zambia. Clause 6 deals with appeals to the Queen in Council from the Court of Appeal for Northern Rhodesia which are pending immediately before independence. If arrangements are made between the Government of the territory and the British Government for continuing and disposing of these pending appeals, an Order in Council may be made by Her Majesty to give effect to these arrangements. Clause 7 terminates the divorce jurisdiction of courts in Zambia in respect of British subjects domiciled in the United Kingdom.

Clause 8 terminates all rights and obligations of the Crown and the Government of Northern Rhodesia which arise under any of the existing agreements, undertakings or understandings with the Litunga of Barotseland. I would add that the clause does not of course affect the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, to which 460 I alluded a moment ago. Clause 9 enables any necessary adaptations to be made in United Kingdom legislation consequent on the independence of Zambia. Clause 10 makes supplementary provisions in respect of Orders in Council made under Clauses 6 or 9 of this Bill or other Acts of Parliament. Clause 11 provides a Short Title for the Bill, and repeals certain provisions of the British Nationality Act, 1958, which become obsolete with the dissolution of the Federation.

Before I conclude, I should like to express, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, the great pleasure we have in being able to bring forward this measure. We wish the Government and people of Zambia a prosperous and peaceful future. We sincerely hope that the present warm and friendly relations we enjoy with Northern Rhodesia will continue with the new State of Zambia. Zambia is the latest addition to the family of the Commonwealth. It will be the nineteenth country of the Commonwealth. I know that I have the support of all Members of your Lordships' House in wishing Zambia, in this final step on the road to full sovereignty, every success in future.

§ I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Duke of Devonshire.)

§ 3.32 p.m.


Saturday, 29 December 2012

On the Post-colonial Zambian state and Barotseland

Since 1964, successive Zambian governments have tried in vain to completely erase the question of Barotseland, from the post-colonial Zambian discourse. On the contrary, this issue has constantly re-emerged time after time, more so, after the return of multi-politics in Zambia after 1991. After draconian measures were employed to obliterate the Barotse issue, the question remains: is it one of secession or one of self-determination? This paper casts light on Barotseland’s quest to “liberate” itself from Zambia.  The paper further posits the following questions:  is Barotseland not about a people’s legitimate cause or right to self-determination?  Has it been erroneously interpreted by Zambian politicians and citizens alike as akin to secession? The former are posed in so far as the historical narrative and current realities point to a different scenario, which show that  Barotseland existed as a country long before Zambia and Northern Rhodesia, with its own institutions, political systems, economic activities, national anthem, flag and coat of arms, among others. Whilst Europe has allowed many “sub-countries” to become independent nation-states, especially after the fall of the Berlin War in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union thereafter, with minimal bloodshed, Africa is extremely nervous about such a prospect. Many African states seem to treat the boundaries which their colonial masters bequeathed them as sacrosanct. Is this a realistic stance in the twenty-first century? Can the African post-colonial state, in its current form - with vast powers vested in presidents and highly centralised governments in place, which in some cases negate national development – realistic?  

Sunday, 18 March 2012

A shameless generation of leaders

So former president Rupiah Bwezani Banda has finally retired from politics? This took a bit of time considering the fact that he was already above 70 years and had been deposed in the last elections of 2011. However, what are more disconcerting were his utterances when he delivered his resignation speech. If what was reported in the Post newspaper is anything to go by - since this newspaper is now a reactionary news outlet and a mouthpiece of Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front-led government. Nonetheless, the Post had pointed out that Banda had wept when he handed over the instruments of power to the then in-coming president, Michael Chilufya Sata, because he had loved being “addressed as president.” He also knew that he was going to miss the travelling that came with the post and that he was “worried that his friends were going to lose their jobs and therefore their children would not go to school.” How shameless is this? Here is a man who was in Kenneth Kaunda’s UNIP government and had been an Ambassador to Egypt; Ambassador to the United Nations and the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. These positions entailed a lot of travelling and Banda had been to different parts of the globe. So one would have thought that this old man would not have been excited with travelling, especially that it is also a taxing activity, as one grows older. Secondly, it is even sad to note that Banda could admit to the world that the ministers who were supposed to serve mother Zambia were his friends. So they had just been invited to enjoy the national spoils. Because that is what governance is all about in Zambia where all politicians just occupy positions of power to help themselves to national resources and not help the mass of the people who are generally poor.
The SDC is very clear on the question of leadership: that Zambia continues to be bogged down in poverty and bad governance because it is ruled by mediocre leaders. This malaise continues because Zambians choose leaders not because they are capable, but because of ethnicity or other parochial related issues. But more importantly, this generation of old timers, the leaders of the colonial era and post-colonial period need to vacate the political space and make way for the new generation. But they keep on clinging to power and suffocate the young generation. Zambia is stuck because of such mentality which is rooted in what we term a “village mentality”. The world is now dynamic and globalised. This is not 1964 and the tactics that worked then are surely outdated in current times. These old men are also very much in control in the new PF government. We shall soon begin looking closer at this party of, frankly, jokers. In this article we wanted to express our continued dismay of the low caliber of politicians we have had in Zambia. It is just simply shocking.     

Thursday, 15 March 2012

The problem of not having original ideas in Zambia

This week we turn our attention to the issue of political parties in Zambia of not having original ideas in regard to governing the country. This is especially true for the ruling party, the Patriotic Front. Due to this, the government of the day under the leadership of Michael Chilufya Sata has been fumbling with issues from day one. We note this as a matter of concern in Zambian politics. The redomination of the Kwacha is a case-in-point. We had stated in our manifesto, long before the PF came to power:

“The volatility of Zambia’s currency, the Kwacha, will be investigated fully by the SDC and prudent solutions will be sought to remedy this anomaly. In addition, the redomination of the Kwacha will be vigorously pursued by the SDC. This will involve the creation of a new unit which will replace the old unit, with a fixed number of old units being converted to 1 new unit. Simply put, the SDC will “cut” the zeroes in the Kwacha. The current situation where large dominations are used for simple day-to-day transactions is simply not competitive or sustainable. A name change will also be proposed as the Kwacha is also the name for Malawi’s currency. An indigenous and authentic name will be sought from the Zambian public through an inclusive and transparent process.”

The PF rushed to copy this issue but because it was not their original idea, they are finding it difficult to implement this monetary strategy. It is important that Zambians choose people who know how to move the country forward in matters of development and have sound and original ideas on this matter. We shall return to the PF's mediocrity in the next couple of months. Right now we are still watching.... 

Friday, 7 October 2011

Zambia's white Vice President and his racial opinions

The veteran politician and Zambia’s new Vice Dr. Guy Scott had made quite baffling assertions in an interview with the UK’s Guardian newspaper - Tuesday’s edition (4/10/2011). We have known Guy Scott for many years and frankly, there is nothing astounding about his colour. In fact we have known him as a Zambian muzungu (Zambian white). He represents a small group of whites who have consistently lived in Zambia since the colonial days. Usually such families will have only the parents living in Zambia after their children emigrated back to the “mother country”. However, it seems that indeed this individual has colonial hang-over. In the said interview, Scott was of the view that he was elected due to the fact that: “People are nostalgic, not for exploitation and division, but for the standards of colonial times. When you went to the hospital there was medicine, when you went to schools there were books, when you went to the shops there were goods to buy.” Now what kind of hogwash is this? We the members of the Social Democratic Congress (SDC) unequivocally state that this romantic version of colonial rule never existed in Zambia as our people were made to buy food and other essential commodities through pigeon holes at the back of shops; were denied education and remained illiterate and disenfranchised. Scott must not lie to the world about colonialism in Zambia. The United Nations Mission to Zambia in 1964 noted that 73% of African males and 93% of African females over the age of 16 were illiterate, meaning that they had not completed at least four years of primary school education. For a population of about 3.4 million people, there were less than 10,000 hospital beds, less than 700 nurses and less than 400 doctors. Now which heaven on earth is Scott referring to?

We would like to remind Guy Scott that the youth who voted for his party, the Patriotic Front (PF), do not have any inkling of what colonialism entailed, later on the One-Party state of Kenneth Kaunda. Many of us in the SDC were born in the 1960s and grew up in a prosperous Zambia where we were taught to be proud of being black. This was before Kaunda became obsessed with power. We do not subscribe to the misguided notion of “white is right”. Therefore it is quite dangerous for him to peddle bizarre racial opinions - willy-nilly. He must take care and refrain from such inflammatory statements. We would like to remind him that Vice-Presidents have come and gone in Zambia, and that there is nothing special about him. Moreover, he forms part of the club of retirees who are running our country today. But our time is coming.

Abash baas mentality Abash!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The signs of an autocrat

Zambia now has a new president in the name of Michael Chilufya Sata. However, there is nothing new about the septuagenarian politician who has literally held a post in every regime – from the United National Independence Party (UNIP) era, Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and now the Patriotic Front (PF). There is also nothing new about his politics which are in the main those of ethnicity. This is clearly attested by his cabinet which mostly comprises his tribesmen and women. Lastly, there is nothing new about his cabinet as some of these “new” officials were in the first government of Kenneth Kaunda of 1964. This “new” government is full of old relics. So those youths who had voted for “change” did not do the country any favour. Zambia shall continue going nowhere slowly with this “new” crowd. But what is characteristic of Michael Sata is his gruff approach to life and politics. He has also strong autocratic tendencies which were exhibited during his reign as Lusaka Governor in the 1980s during UNIP’s rule and as a minister in the MMD government. Recently, this behaviour came to the fore when he woke up on Tuesday and re-named all the major airports in Zambia. This was done without any consultation with the country’s citizens (who are its major stakeholders), Parliament or any other state institutions. He went on to assert that he did this with “immediate effect”. In a democracy, a public official, later on a president cannot carry out major societal changes without consulting the citizenry. Zambia is a democracy and we fought hard for this democracy. It is not a one-party state dictatorship or a one man show! People are going hungry to bed, poverty is on the rise, maternal and child mortality rates are on the increase and the first thing this man does when he is sworn into office is to re-name airports? God help us all. We are indeed going for a bumpy ride in Zambia! However, we in the Social Democratic Congress (SDC) have seen this circus before during the reign of Frederick Chiluba. So we are merely steeling ourselves. Aluta continua!    

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Sports mediocrity continues unabated in Zambia

The 10th All Africa games which just ended in Mozambique again saw Zambian athletes exhibiting high levels of mediocrity. Zambia only managed to win three bronze medals. This pales in comparison to South Africa’s haul of 158 medals. What a disaster! It was also sobering to see Mozambique host these games with quite sophisticated sports infrastructure adding to the flair of the competition. This is after Zambia failed to host the last games after bidding to host them in the first place. The reason for this was that Zambia did not have adequate infrastructure and that it could not build modern sports facilities in time. Mind you, Mozambique is a country which had suffered decades of civil war whilst Zambia has been a “haven” of “peace” and “stability”. Why do the sports authorities and the government continue to send under performing athletes to regional, continental and international competitions just to embarrass us? We of the Social Democratic Congress (SDC) are fully aware that the country has a huge reservoir of talent which is not properly tapped and nurtured. The sports authorities do know how to prioritise and focus on comparative advantage in regard to which events the country could surely reap dividends. Let us take the swimming team. This team has never won any medal at any major event – ever, and yet sports authorities keep on sending these “swimmers” who are ironically only white (one wonders where they scrape them from?) to various competitions. It is not healthy for a nation to constantly lose at every event when it can do better. Zambians have just been reduced to losers and whipping boys and girls at major sports events. If this half-baked performance is all the country has to show for, what more of the Olympics and Commonwealth Games? It is noteworthy that these so-called athletes use tax-payers money for their travel, allowances and upkeep. Perhaps, it would not be so far-fetched to suggest that a moratorium be put in place until such a time that the country has high-quality athletes who will bring glory to the country. We are sick and tired of this charade!