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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Lozi in Zambia

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Date(s) Item
1701 - 1750 Portuguese traders opened southern and central Zambia directly to export copper, ivory and gold.
1801 - 1850 Slavery surpasses ivory and gold as the main export from the lower Zambezi region.
1825 - 1875 The Bemba in the north capitalized on new Arab trade in the region by exchanging slaves and ivory for guns. They entered a new era of territorial aggrandizement in a series of wars. The Lozi in the West had become that region's most powerful kingdom, but it is plunged into a period of civil war until 1885.
1890 The Lozi king Lewanika signed a mineral concession and protectorate treaty with the British South Africa Company. The agreement deprived the Lozi of its independence and resources while conferring special privileges under the British. Barotseland maintained a certain amount of autonomy until the independence of Zambia.
1895 The British South Africa Company assumes control of Zambia. It is designated Northernsibly through the International Court of Justice. The National Party is headed by a member of the Lozi royal family, and her brother was a candidate for the Mongu (in Barotseland) seat in the National Assembly in 1994 by-elections.
1899 The Lunda and Bemba kingdoms submitted to the Company's authority.
1924 Northern Rhodesia became a protectorate under the British Colonial Office. A legislative council was created under which Africans could not participate.
1925 - 1930 The British government implemented indirect rule for the African population. The doctrine was based on the assumption that the African population could be governed and reformed by a benevolent colonial government working with "traditional" authority structures. Chiefs were incorporated into the colonial administration, and where no chiefs existed, they were appointed.
1931 - 1940 Large-scale exploitation of the region known as the copperbelt in Northern Zambia was firmly established. The copper boom pushed the number of African wage earners to nearly 33,000 by the 1940s with thousands more employed along the rail routes servicing the mines. The territory continued to export labor on a large scale. Neither the mining companies, railroad nor colonial government provided adequate facilities and services for the laborers. Education was left to missionary schools which offered only primary education.
1935 Workers stage their first strike in the copperbelt. The government responded by expanding and consolidating the so-called tribal elements of urban administration. African political movements began to emerge at this time.
1944 African regional provincial councils were established with mixed membership representing urban councils, Native Authorities,a nd welfare societies.
1946 Delegates from the provincial councils began attending the territory-wide African Representative Council which met annually until 1958. Though powerless, it became an effective organ for the expression of African protest against discrimination.
1948 Union were established in all four mines, and in 1949, they merged into the Northern Rhodesian African Mineworkers' Union. It became a major force in the nationalist struggle that led to independence.
1951 The Northern Rhodesian Congress renamed itself the Zambian African National Congress, and continued to oppose amalgamation proposals by white settlers to join with Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi). Its leader was Harry Nkumbula.
1953 Northern Rhodesia became part of the Central African Federation (CAF) with Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Africans gained no economic or political advantages from the federation.
1958 The ZANC splits when a group of young radicals led by Kenneth Kaunda demanded the dissolution of the CAF and the independence of Northern Rhodesia under the name Zambia. The ZANC was banned in 1959 and Kaunda was imprisoned. Following his release, Kaunda forms the United National Independence Party (UNIP).
1961 - 1970 The independence constitution provided for a unitary state with a strong chief executive, and a cabinet selected from, but not responsible to the National Assembly. Regionalism remained a powerful political force with Lozi, Nyanja, Bemba, and Tonga becoming the main languages spoken in their respective regions. The Bemba dominated the mining region, and UNIP became known as a Bemba party. The ZANC drew its support from the more rural south and became known as a Tonga party. The ZANC never posed a real threat to UNIP's hold on the government, but its hold on the south belied the government's claim to be a national party.
1962 The British, under pressure following a massive campaign of civil disobedience, introduced a new constitution which would create an African majority in the legislature.
1963 CAF is formally dissolved.
Jan 1964 Elections are held based on universal adult suffrage in preparation for independence. UNIP won 55 of the 75 seats in the legislature and Kaunda became Prime Minister for the first predominately African cabinet.
Apr 1964 The Lozi leader agreed to renounce the special treaty relationship it enjoyed with the British Crown and accepted integration into the new state of Zambia. Lozi overwhelmingly supported UNIP in the January elections because they believe it will grant them autonomy for Barotseland.
Oct 24, 1964 Zambia is granted independence. The British South Africa Company gave up its rights to the new government with compensation from Britain and Zambia.
1966 Two Lozi members of parliament, one ANC and one UNIP, formed the opposition United Party (UP) which gained popular support in the West. In the following year, both candidates were defeated in by-elections which were accompanied by violence and intimidation.
Aug 1967 UNIP suffered an internal crisis at its general conference when Bemba teamed up with Tonga to unseat Nyanja and Lozi officers. It opened an era of frequent reshuffling of the Cabinet, as Kaunda sought to stem rivalries and balance ethnic representation.
Dec 1968 Elections take place for the first time since independence. The ANC gained 23 seats to UNIP's 81 seats. ANC won Barotse Province (Western Province) while maintaining its traditional control of the south. UNIP maintained its dominance in the north and continued to seek a one-party state. The elections also marked the end of the ten seats reserved for the European National Progress Party.
1973 After dissention within his party, Kaunda, under a new constitution, officially established a one-party state. Kaunda gained a third term as president in elections in December, though only 36% of registered voters went to the polls.
1974 - 1976 International copper prices declined, as did Zambia's revenues. There was widespread discontent resulting from high food prices, import restrictions, and increasing unemployment.
Jan 1976 Kaunda declared a state of emergency.
1978 Kaunda returned for a fourth term as president after winning the election in which he was the sole candidate. Simon Kapwapwe, a notable Bemba leader, returned to UNIP. His support was seen as vital to Kaunda in a time of acute political and economic instability.
Oct 1980 Several prominent businessmen, government officials, and UNIP members allegedly staged a coup attempt. Kaunda subsequently arrested many ethnic Bemba.
Jan 1 - Jul 31, 1981 Suspension from UNIP of 17 officials of the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and the Zambian Congress of Trade Unions (ZTCU) prompted widespread strikes and riots. Further strikes and protests occur in response to the continuing poor economic situation in the country.
Mar 1985 Kaunda banned strikes in essential services following strikes amongst public-sector employees demanding higher wages.
Dec 1985 Angry demonstrations in Lusaka result from an imposition of further austerity measures.
Apr 1987 Kaunda alleged that the South African government, Zambian businessmen and members of the armed forces conspired to destabilize the state. Several arrests were made over the next months in response to these and other attempts to overthrow Kaunda.
1988 Kaunda coopted a number of traditional rulers including the Lozi paramount chief into the Central Committee of his UNIP party.
1989 Continued unrest among workers and students was reported in the early months. In July, rioting in the copperbelt took place in response to increased prices on essential goods.
Jun 1990 Severe rioting in Lusaka in response to the increase of maize prices by more than 100% resulted in 30 deaths.
Jul 1990 The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), an unofficial alliance of political opponents to the government was formed under the leadership of Frederick Chiluba of the ZCTU.
Sep 1990 The national council of UNIP endorsed proposals for multiparty elections scheduled for October 1991.
Dec 1990 Kaunda formally adopted constitutional amendments which permitted the formation of political parties to contest the upcoming elections. Eleven opposition movements, in addition to MMD, were established in the following months.
Mar 1991 Kaunda states that he will re-examine Lozi demands for autonomy if he is reelected. Chiluba accuses him of inciting tribalism to divide the nation.
Aug 1991 The National Assembly formally adopted a new draft constitution. Kaunda also agreed to allow foreign observers to oversee the upcoming elections.
Sep 1991 The National Assembly is dissolved in anticipation of elections scheduled for 31 October.
Oct 1991 Numerous outbreaks of violence are reported in which some people are killed. Multiparty elections took place 31 October, and Chiluba defeated Kaunda with 75.8% of the vote. The MMD secured 125 seats in the National Assembly to UNIP's 25. During the following months, Chiluba began to carry out major restructuring of the civil service and parastatal organizations.
1992 Widespread opposition to government policies were reported. In May, a dissident faction of the MMD emerged as the Caucus for National Unity. They demanded that Chiluba reorganize his cabinet to represent all ethnic groups. The government's strict adherence to a structural adjustment program resulted in increased economic hardship for many.
Nov 30, 1992 The Lozi royal establishment said it had withdrawn its court proceedings against the government in which it demanded the return of 78.5 million pounds forfeited to the state at independence. It will seek an out-of-court settlement.
Mar 1993 Chiluba declared a state of emergency following the discovery of UNIP documents detailing a conspiracy to destabilize the government. The state of emergency ended in late May.
Jul 1993 Fifteen members of MMD, 11 of whom had seats in the Assembly, resigned from the party accusing the government of protecting corrupt cabinet members and failing to respond to accusations linking party officials with the drugs trade. Opposition was later consolidated in the formation of the National Party, led by a member of the Lozi royal family.
Jul 20, 1993 Lozi give the government 28 days to respond to their demands for autonomy or they will opt for secession. Chiluba says his government will not tolerate secession.
Feb 1, 1994 The Lozi warn Chiluba against going to its traditional headquarters in Barotseland. When Chiluba went to Mongu, the provincial capital, to campaign for his candidate, his motorcade was stoned.
Mar 15, 1994 About 3000 Lozi have taken up arms in defense of their ruler after reports that he was being sought by government forces. They surrounded his residence, but the reports proved false and nothing came of the incident.
Jun 1994 Seven opposition parties, including UNIP, joined together to form the Zambian Opposition Front (ZOFRO). In July, Vice-President July Levy Mwanawasa announced his resignation citing long-standing differences with Chiluba.
Mar 7, 1995 Zambian police seized 30 rocket launchers and other weapons in the West of the country and they believe more weapons have been exchanged for food by UNITA rebels (in neighboring Angola). It is feared the weapons could be used by Lozi militants to stage an armed insurrection in the Angolan border area. Weapons seized in recent raids along the border included anti-aircraft guns, explosives, hand grenades, and land mines.
Jun 1995 UNIP changes its leadership with Kaunda coming out of retirement to return as president. A Lozi, Inyambo Yeta becomes vice president. This is seen as an attempt by Kaunda to gain the support of the Lozi people for upcoming presidential elections. The Lozi royalists continue to demand restoration of the Barotse Agreement which gave them local autonomy at independence, but which was never honored by the government.
Sep 1995 Controversial new land reform legislation was enacted. It facilitates granting long-term individual leases as well as the transformation os usufruct interests into leasehold tenures and makes possible the sale of leasehold tenures. The goal of the legislation is to make underdeveloped land more accessible to foreign and local investors and to give commerical farmers greater security in ownership rights. It is seen as weakening the traditional land tenure system, and could result in entire villages being displaced by new owners. (ANS, 5/19/1998)
Nov 8, 1995 The Nkoya in Western Province have come out in support of Lozi calls for the MMD government to honor the 1964 Barotseland Agreement. The Nkoya decision was surprising since they had been advocating an end to the Lozi tradition of appointing chieftains to rule over them. There had been ethnic clashes between the two groups in 1994. However, a recent land bill which withdraws the power of local rulers to allocate land has brought a rapprochement between the two groups. Under the bill, only the President has the power to allocate land whereas previously the land was held in trust by the President, but traditional chiefs had the power to allocate certain segments of it. (Inter Press Service (IPS))
Nov 20, 1995 The Lozi planned to cut tied with the MMD government until it abolished legislation giving the state authority over Lozi land. The Lozi are also angry about the government’s continued failure to recognize the 1964 Barotseland Agreement which they say gave them local autonomy. (BBC)
Jun 1996 Opposition UNIP Vice President Inyambo Yeta, a Lozi, and others were arrested. Police inspector General Francis Ndhlovu announced that the police had targeted about 20 people suspected to be responsible for recent bombings by the Black Mamba. Nine UNIP members have so far been arrested. (African News Service (ANS)).
Nov 25, 1996 Eleven parties participated in parliamentary and presidential polls. Voting took place largely along ethnic lines according to the Committee for a Clean Campaign which monitored the elections. The MMD is based in the Bemba people and did best in the Northern, Luapula, and Copperbelt provinces. UNIP boycotted the elections, and people (Mambwe, Nyanga) in Eastern Province, Kenneth Kaunda’s stronghold, largely stayed away from the polls. The Zambia Democratic Congress garnered the support of the Mambwe in the northeast, while the National Party had a strong showing in the northwest which is dominated by the Lunda and Kaonde. The people of Western Province voted for the son of the late paramount chief. The MMD handicapped its opponents through adoption of controversial constitutional amendments including a clause limiting eligibility for the presidency to people whose parents were not born in Zambia, a clause banning traditional rulers from running, and harassment of the press and NGOs. (IPS, 5/28/1998)
Dec 1997 The government was prospecting for oil in Western Province (Barotseland). (ANS, 12/27/1997). Rumors in Barotseland suggested that Kaunda was about to be arrested. (ANS, 21/12/1997).
Jan 28, 1998 Lozi princess and MMD Chair for Women’s Affiars Miriam Wina was arrested and held without formal charges. She and her husband, Sikota Wina, had been trying to foster better relations between the Lozi and the ruling party. She was arrested in connection to a failed military coup that took place in October 1997. (ANS, 3/3/1998)
Feb 1998 Floods destroyed most crops planted in the Barotse plains. More than 1000 farmers have lost their crops. (ANS, 2/2/1998) Barotseland MPs complained of the ruling party’s neglect of the region.
Jul 9, 1998 Kaunda announced his retirement as president of UNIP, but announced the party would participate in upcoming municipal elections. He was arrested December 1997 following a failed coup attempt by renegade junior military officers, and released from detention in May. (Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA))
Aug 1998 A former Barotse Cultural Association official, Mwiya Kayengo, said secession is not the answer to Lozi problems. He suggested greater autonomy for all provinces, and founded a new party, the Liseli Conservative Party. (ANS, 8/27/1998)
Aug 27, 1998 Conflict between the Luvale and Lunda people in the northwest erupted and has left hundreds homeless. Chiluba has appointed only Lunda to top positions in local government in the region, and ethnic divisions in general have widened since Chiluba took office in 1991. Opposition leader Pastor Nevers Mumba of the NCC (National Christian Coalition) urged the MMD to address the root of ethnic conflict in the country. (IPS, 9/8/1998)
Sep 1998 The Kazanga Nkoya Cultural Association has urged the government to establish a tenth province (Kafue). The press statement condemned some Lozi for demanding the restoration oft he Barotseland Agreemtn of 1964. The Lozi chieftaincy in Kaoma has been in dispute for years with two Nkoya chiefs claiming jurisdiction over the area which the Lozi paramount chief has controlled for decades.
Oct 19, 1998 The Barotse Patriotoc Front joined the Agenda for Zambia in calling for self-determination in Barotseland. People of the region have been increasingly concerned over land rights in the region, especially with land being sold to foreign investors. (ANS)
Oct 26, 1998 Agenda for Zambia president Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewankia said that upcoming local government elections will be a referendum on self-determination for Barotseland, and charged the government with neglecting the region. He also said that self-determination was becoming a salient issue for other ethnic groups in Zambia. (ANS, 10/2/1998; 10/26/1998)
Nov 13, 1998 Namibia’s Lozi chief, Boniface Mamili, fled to Botswana claiming persecution and seeking asylum. He is linked to a separatist movement in the Caprivi Strip. The lack of development of the region has sharpened resentment towards the central government in Windhoek. The Barotse Patriotic Front leadership has said there have been many meetings between the movement, Agenda for Zambia, and the Liseli Conservative Party and Caprivi secessionist leaders. (ANS)
Nov 16, 1998 AZ President Mbikusita-Lewankia said the people of the Caprivi Strip in Namibia (mainly Lozi) have the right to decide whether to join a greater Barotseland, establish self-rule, or remain party of Namibia. (Xinhua)
Nov 18, 1998 Ten MMD MPs from Barotseland condemned the idea of secession for the region. (Xinhua). The Zambian government is studying the consultations between Caprivi separatists and Lozi from Barotseland (Xinhua, 10/17/1998). PeaceQuest Zambia chairman Dr. Sipula Kabanje said he supports Lozi ambitions for self-determination. His organization advocated a federal system in Zambia. (ANS, 11/19/1998)
Dec 14, 1998 Zambia Defense Minister Chitalu Sampa warned the Barotse Patriotic Front that the government would take firm action against it if it continued with subversive activities. The BPF threatened military conflict if Zambia did not grant secession for Barotseland. (Xinhua) BPF leaders have recently been touring SADC (Southern Africa Development Community) countries in an attempt to garner support for their secessionist aspirations (ANS, 12/15/1998)
Feb 1999 BPF leader Mutangelwa said that government harassment may force the movement to employ “alternative measures” in the fight for secession. (ANS, 2/26/1998).
Apr 1999 There is evidence that the Caprivi Liberation Army in Namibia is backed by Zambia’s BPF and Angola’s rebel UNITA movements. UNITA is reportedly involved in Caprivi in a bid to punish the Namibian government for supporting the Democratic Republic of Congo government in its civil war. UNITA supports the Congolese rebels. It was also reported that some Lozi in Zambia were crossing into Namibia to help with the rebellion. (Business Day, 4/8/1999)
Aug 1999 BPF leader Mutangelwa reaffirmed that Lozi were crossing into Namibia to help with the secessionist fight there. As far back as 1997, there were reports emerging of a move to campaign for the secession of the western region of Zambia to become part of Namibia. (ANS, 8/4/1999) The Zambian government confirmed that the border had been closed and the movement of Zambian’s in the border region restricted. (BBC, 8/6/1999) BPF leader Mutangelwa sought refuge in the South African High Commission in Lusaka, claiming his life was endangered after security forces began clamping down on BPF supporters. He had been summoned to police headquarters August 4th. He was arrested exiting the Commission on August 14th after being denied asylum by the South African government (ANS, 8/6/1999; BBC, 8/15/1999) Zambia deported six Caprivians on August 10th who had been seeking political asylum. It is against international law to deport people seeking political asylum, and police and immigration officials denied any knowledge of the deportations. (BBC, 8/10/1999)
Sep 2, 1999 BPF leader Mutangelwa was charged with belonging to an unregistered organization. He pleased not guilty and was released on bail. (ANS)
Mar 2004 The US government gave US$25,000 to Barotse Royal Estalishment for HIV/AIDS prevention programmes. (Africa News, 3/22/2004, “Barotse Royal Establishment Lands K120m Anti-Aids Cash”)
2005 A canal funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been completed to aid in drainage for rice cultivation. (Mataka, Davis. 2005. "Western Province: World rolled in one." The Times of Zambia.)

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Information current as of July 16, 2010