ROYAL BAROTSELAND NATIONALIST GUIDE: Why Royal Barotseland is a Constitutional Monarchy practising parliamentary multi-party democracy

07 October 2020
Author  Sibeta Mundia, Barotseland Post
His Majesty Litunga Imwiko II - King and Head of State of Royal Barotseland - Click Image to Enlarge

 

Royal Barotseland needs to state clearly what type of government it wishes to pursue. Other countries and the international community who wish to recognize Barotseland’s claim for sovereignty must do so knowing, in great detail, what type of government would preside over the territory should its independence claim succeed.

Therefore, the Royal Barotseland Government in transition has been working hard sharing with every country that cares to know what type of government Royal Barotseland would pursue after independence.

There are many types of governments or political systems in the world today, but popular among them are;

1. REPUBLICS - States in which the supreme power supposedly rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.

2. MONARCHS - States in which the queen or the king reigns over the state, either as an absolute or constitutional monarch.

3. MILITARY JUNTAS - Governments led by a committee of military leaders.

4. DICTATORSHIPS - Governments characterized by a single leader or group of leaders with little or no toleration for political pluralism or independent programs or media.

Classification of the types of government is usually very broad, and so for this article, we wish to focus on the above few, especially the monarchical form of government, as Royal Barotseland espouses the democratic constitutional monarch version of this form of government, and we will look at why this is the best form of government for Barotseland.

THE MONARCH

A monarchy is simply defined as the rule by one. The head of a monarchy could be male or female and may be called by different titles from country to country, such as; Emperor, King, Queen, Sultan, Caliph, Emir, Sovereign Prince, Grand Duke, O le Ao o le Malo, Pope or Czar and their countries may be known as Kingdom, Empire, Holy See, Caliphate, etc.

Some myopic people think monarchies are outdated and old fashioned or autocratic by default just because they live under or prefer republics which are considered the very opposite of monarchies.

However, monarchies are neither old fashioned nor are they necessarily totalitarian or autocratic. Autocracies or dictatorships can be found among some professed Republics as well as some Monarchies.

There are hundreds of fully-fledged monarchies in the world today, with over fifty of them in the United Nations (UN), prominent among them being; Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Bahamas, New Zealand, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vatican City, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Swaziland and Lesotho just to name a few.

Many monarchies have democratic and constitutional types of government while a few practice autocratic and totalitarian types of government.

Barotseland is espousing a constitutional monarchy practising parliamentary democracy fashioned after the Westminster system where periodic elections are held to elect parliament which would then elect the Prime Minister to head the government while the Litunga, Barotseland’s Monarch, remains the constitutional Head of State.

Democratic constitutional monarchies are among the most politically stable and best-governed countries of the world today and are indeed some of the most prosperous economies because of their power-sharing and power balancing style of governance between the elected politicians on one hand and the monarch on the other.

TYPES OF MONARCHS

Broadly speaking, there two notable types of monarchs.

1. ABSOLUTE MONARCHS – also known as UNLIMITED or TOTAL monarchs are governments where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without any laws, constitution, or legally organized opposition. This type of monarchs exercises totalitarian or autocratic reign over their countries or territories of jurisdiction.

Of the over hundred monarchs of the world today, only a measly ten or so are absolute monarchs, among them the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, State of Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), Brunei Darussalam and the Vatican City State.

2. LIMITED MONARCHS - so-called because the reign of these types of monarchs is limited by their national constitution, hence they are also called Constitutional Monarchs. In this system of government, the monarch is guided by a constitution (written or unwritten) with his/her rights, duties, and responsibilities spelt out in the written law or by custom.

There are so many active or sovereign constitutional monarchs across the world today in Europe, North America, Asia, Oceania and Africa, thriving in modern democratic systems of government.

Popular among these are Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Spain, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Bahamas, New Zealand, Jamaica, Japan and Lesotho, to name but a few.

WHY DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY FOR ROYAL BAROTSELAND?

Some critics have wrongly assumed that Royal Barotseland chose the democratic constitutional monarch type of government as a colonial hangover from its former British colonial masters because they assume this government system is foreign to Barotseland.

However, this is far from the truth. Barotseland is a long-standing monarchy of over five to six hundred years, and by the end of the 19th century, just before the British colonists came to Africa, the Christian Missionary, François Coillard, who lived and worked in Barotseland from 1884 to 1904 when he died, had a great moderating influence on Barotseland’s King Lewanika in such a way that made him rule less totalitarian.

It was King Lewanika’s consultative and inclusive style of rulership that made the King attractive to the British in the early 20th century as they found his style of government not only organized but also civilized.

So, for over a century now, the King of Barotseland has always been regulated by ‘Mikwa’ and ‘Sizo’ which are the established rules and customs of Barotseland.

For those that may not know, at the height of the Kingdom of Barotseland and before its botched union with Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Barotseland already had Kuta systems which were parliaments and councils that enabled broader people participation in the governance of the Kingdom.

Periodically, the Litunga, King of Barotseland, would attend and preside over these Kuta, in which free debates would be encouraged to the extent that even the King’s decisions would be scrutinized, vetted and sometimes overruled.

Undesirable decisions of the King could be overruled by certain institutions within the government structure of the Kingdom, such as that of the Natamoyo (Minister of Mercy and Justice), the Ngambela (Prime Minister) or the King's Privy Council.

Even to this day, the King of Barotseland would never go against the popular wishes of the people of Barotseland through the Barotse National Council (BNC), a constituent assembly of sorts, but must, by custom, facilitate the actualization of the people’s national will.

So, to preserve the integrity of the institution of the Monarch, the Litunga of Royal Barotseland is and will continue to be uninvolved in partisan politics.

THE LITUNGA IS SUPPOSED TO BE APOLITICAL IN ALL MATTERS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE!

Secondly, the Kingdom of Barotseland has had a constitution for over a century now. Although not codified (Barotseland’s constitution is unwritten), this constitution of Mikwa and Sizo has been a regulating power over the King.

Like the United Kingdom, Barotseland’s unwritten constitution has been guiding the nation and its Kings and citizens.

However, Royal Barotseland has now opted to be governed by a written (Codified) constitution going forward for easy application of its laws, culture and customs.

Although we will say more on the actual structures of The Royal Barotseland Government (RBG), we must emphasize that there is no serious independence advocate today who has advocated the removal or the dissolution of the monarch.

All currently known Barotseland independence campaigners unanimously agree that the democratic constitutional monarch type of government, coupled with a codified constitution, is the way to go and not turn Barotseland into a Republic or Absolute monarch types of government.

The constitutional monarch is truly the culture of Barotseland for over a century now!

This is why no true Linyungandambo will fight, disparage or insult the Monarch, The Litunga because the institution of Litunga is sacred as the Head of State of the Kingdom of Royal Barotseland!

Notably, Royal Barotseland’s system of government is very similar to that of the United Kingdom, save for the fact that Barotseland will have a written constitution.

In Africa, Royal Barotseland would have a similar type of government with The Kingdom of Lesotho which also practices a democratic constitutional monarch and not The Kingdom of Eswatini which is an Absolute Monarch.

Before we detail the actual Royal Barotseland government structure, we wish to firstly deal with a more controversial matter of citizenship in the article we have simply titled ‘Royal Barotseland Nationalist Guide on Citizenship’

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.