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HALT DRC BORDER DEMARCATION

By SILUMESI MALUMO 

ZAMBIA may lose villages and a school if the ongoing beaconing of Zambia-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) borders is not stopped immediately, the Bwile Royal Establishment (BRE) has warned.

The BRE representative, Dr Katele Kalumba said the beaconing exercise was a miscarriage of the Zambia-Zaire Delimitation Treaty of 1989.

Dr Kalumba said in the absence of GPS technology and democratic political dispensation at the time, there was little participation by the people affected in terms of their universal human rights as to what sovereign authorities they would wish to remain under.

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He said people’s concern was that they cannot just wake up one morning and find their citizenship, a quality protected by the constitution, stripped away and became Congolese.

He said “in the absence of sophisticated GPS technology, the Delimitation Treaty lacked precision. In the current exercise 32 villages including a whole sub chiefdom of Swali has been alienated to the DRC.

Dr Kalumba also said large chunks of highly mineralised land have been hived off to the DRC, three Zambian schools namely Lubambe, Musangu and Mukunka and a vibrant community school in Swali have also been hived off to DRC.

“We are calling for a halt to this exercise until people are fully sensitised and political statecraft is brought to weigh itself on this issue. It cannot be purely an output of the administration. 

Our constitution on Zambian territory and its sovereignty is clear. No alienation of land without the consent of Zambians. The Kaunda regime was a one-party state and required no consent.

“Therefore we can technically call the 1989 Delimitation Treaty as a Friendship Treaty not binding in law. In fact no law was enacted to give effect to its implementation. That is why it took 20 years to think about beaconing now and only following the skirmishes by the two armies involved,” Dr Kalumba said.

The zone of contention, he said, has always been the Lake Tanganyika area. The Lake Mweru area boundary or the Lunchinda-Pweto enclave as an occupied land under a gentle man’s agreement of 1894 was never in contention. Why give it away with no cause, to King Leopold’s grand illusion of a personal real estate, the Congo Free State.

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