VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says the people of Western Province should ask for development of the province instead of bringing issues of the name.
She believes the name, Western Province, is not in any way alienating anyone.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina says the PF government cannot sink so low to start issuing National Registration Cards to refugees.
In her ruling on a point of order in the House recently, first deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Catherine Namugala outlawed the use of the name Barotseland in Parliament.
Last week, Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) Ngambela (prime minister) Mukela Manyando addressed journalists, on the matter, at the Litunga’s palace at Limulunga royal village.
He asked where Namugala finds the courage to deny the existence of Barotseland.
Ngambela Manyando added that the BRE would not allow spiteful and provocative obliteration of Barotseland.
He noted that it was incorrect and a manifestation of ignorance on the part Namugala to call Barotseland a colonial name.
During the Vice-President’s Question Time in Parliament on Friday, Senanga UPND member of parliament Mulowa Mukumbuta asked if the PF government would reverse the parliamentary ruling that ‘unsettled’ the BRE.
Vice-President Wina responded that there was a tendency in Zambia of manipulating every situation for political expediency.
“There’s no question about it because this is exactly what happened; the ruling was so straight-forward. We are not even supposed to discuss it! But other people took it out of this House and made it a political issue. Mr Speaker, I wonder whether the change of a name can bring such discussion,” she said.
“If the members recollect, the country now called Lesotho was Basutoland, Botswana was Bechuanaland, Swaziland is now re-named as eSwatini.”
She added that name changes were not a unique phenomenon to Zambia.
“In Barotseland, the name changed to Western Province and in all these areas this is the official tender. So, there’s nothing unique about a district, a province or a country changing its name or given another name,” Vice-President Wina said.
She reminded the people of Western Province to be proud of contributing to the unity of Zambia: “by forging a very close relationship between other parts of Zambia and Western Province.”
“What the people of Western Province should ask for is to lobby for development of that area, and not to bring issues of a name, because a name is not in any way alienating anyone. Mr Speaker, I thank you,” she told the House.
Earlier, Katombora UPND member of parliament Derrick Livune reminded Vice-President Wina that the PF government had been accused of giving NRCs to refugees in Luapula Province.
The lawmaker asked the Vice-President to “come out clean” on why that was happening when Zambians, for instance, in Southern, Eastern and Western provinces, were being deprived of the opportunity to get NRCs.
In response, Vice-President Wina said Zambia was a signatory to international conventions, including that of caring for people who run away from conflict situations – “the people we call refugees.”
“There is no such thing as giving NRCs to refugees. It’s not possible, Mr Speaker, because some of these refugees have just arrived and some of them do not even speak any of our Zambian languages. Government cannot go that low, surely, to register refugees,” said Vice-President Wina.
“I believe if these refugee camps were in other places, in other provinces, maybe this could have taken place. But definitely not where the refugee camps are placed! This government is conversant with international norms and practices and caring for refugees has been a hallmark of the Zambian government since independence and we cannot run away from the responsibility because people think there are other political motives behind it.”