The country's seven major ethnic groups--Bemba, Kaonde, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Ngoni, and Tonga--are divided into 73 ethnic subgroups. The government protected their civil and political rights and any rights under the law to share in revenue from the exploitation of natural resources on tribal lands. The government generally permitted autonomy for ethnic minorities and encouraged the practice of local customary law. Some political parties maintained political and historical connections to tribal groups and promoted their interests.
The government grants special recognition to traditional leaders, including the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) as the political authority of the Lozi
ethnic group. However, the government does not recognize the 1964 Barotseland Agreement signed by the United Kingdom, Northern Rhodesia, and the BRE immediately prior to Zambia's independence that granted the Lozi political autonomy. Some Lozi groups have demanded official recognition of Barotseland Agreement.
On January 14, police killed two persons, injured more than 20, and arrested 129 who gathered in Limilunga to demand the restoration of the Barotseland Agreement. The protests spread to Mongu when police cracked down on protesters. Those arrested were charged with offenses ranging from treason to conduct likely to cause breach of peace. Upon assuming office on September 23, President Sata pardoned and released all the Barotse detainees and appointed a commission of inquiry to investigate the January disturbances (see section 2.b.).
Race, Racism and the Law
Vernellia R. Randall
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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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