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Republic of Lozi
Flag of Lozi
Coat of arms of Lozi
Flag
Motto: Luyemi Hamoho
(Stand As One)
Location of Lozi (RSA-SWM)
Capital Katima Mulilo
Official languages Lozi
Other languages Ovambo, English, Afrikaans
Government Executive republic
• Chairman
Peter Mamili
Establishment
• Creation
1972
• Self government
1976
• Independence (from South Africa)
1997
Currency South African Rand (ZAR)
Lozi (officially the Republic of Lozi) is a partially recognized state located in central Southern Africa. It is bordered by Zambia to the north and east, Botswana to the south, and Kavangoland (another partially recognized state) to the west. The country was set up in 1972 by the South African government as part of its policy of Separate Development (commonly known as "Apartheid") for the local Lozi people. It gained 'self-government' in 1976 and official (however, considered nominal) independence in 1997.

The United Nations and most of the world considers Lozi to be part of the Republic of South Africa, which in turn asserts Lozi's political independence. Only a number of other states afford the country recognition, including South Africa, Mozambique, and the UNITA government of Angola. Lozi is a member of the Union of South African States, which is alleged to merely be a front for South Africa's "international" relations with its homeland puppet states. Regardless of its international stance, Lozi has established a functional government and, recently in 2009, an autonomous military - the Lozi Territorial Force. Peter Mamili has been the head of state and head of government (known as the Executive Council Chairman) of Lozi since 1995, and is affiliated with the Caprivi Democratic Party (CDP), which holds most of the Executive Council seats.

Being an Apartheid homeland, the Lozi people are guaranteed political power in the country by virtue of the national constitution (the Republic of Lozi Act). Only the Lozi have franchise, even though much of the population of the country is made up of Ovambos and even some Afrikaner whites. Non-Lozi people may however join the civil service and generally have the same rights and privileges as the Lozi throughout the country. Lozi does not have a legislature, and all elected representatives sit on the Executive Council. The nation does have a judicial branch consisting only of the Lozi Superior Court, whose Chief Judge is nominated by the Executive Council member responsible for justice, and confirmed by the rest of the Council.

History

The region now known as Lozi is located in the eastern half of the Caprivi Strip, a piece of land which protruded eastward from northern South West Africa into the historic homelands of the Lozi people. This territory came under South African control after the First World War when the Union of South Africa, on the side of the Allied Powers, conquered German South West Africa. South Africa, despite the United Nations Security Council's calls (such as Resolution 276) for it to remove itself from "Namibia", implemented its racial Apartheid policy to divide the territory into "homelands" for indigenous tribes, and set a large part aside for white South Africans.

In 1972, Lozi was established by the South African Parliament as "East Caprivi". Josiah Moraliswane was appointed as its first Chief Councilor and continued to rule as such until 1976. During this period, East Caprivi was essentially treated as a separate province of South Africa, with little self governing authority. "Petty Apartheid", as it is called, was enforced throughout the nation, meaning schools, buses and public facilities were segregated. The territory also fell under the jurisdiction of both the South African Police (SAP) and the South African Defense Force. Moraliswane's rule was largely nominal as the most important positions in his government were filled by white appointees of Pretoria.

The South African Parliament granted East Caprivi self governing status in 1976. During that same year, the nation was renamed to "Lozi". Moraliswane became the Chief Minister, a position he held until 20 September of the same year, when he was replaced by Richard Muhinda Mamili. Under self government, the rulers of Lozi were afforded much more authority. Mamili desegregated much of the nation's public facilities and was able to establish a locally controlled police constabulary out of Katima Mulilo. Much like Moraliswane's rule, however, the additional power did not negate the perception of Lozi being a puppet of white South Africa.

During the South African Border War, much of the autonomy of Lozi was undermined as the South African Defense Force moved in to establish a base. The military took center stage in terms of governance. This, however, contributed immensely to the local economy. Many soldiers had their middle class white families accompany them to Katima Mulilo and, subsequently, the local market grew in capacity and complexity. Local infrastructure was also upgraded not only to accommodate for the military presence, but also as part of the SADF's "hearts and minds" campaign to convince natives that South Africa's rule is more benevolent than the alternative rule of SWAPO. Although segregation was reintroduced to an extent, the new mass of whites and the local Lozi had a generally good relationship.

With the end of the war in 1989 and the subsequent withdrawal of the military, Lozi became a quiet, rural territory once more. Its autonomy was reestablished. During the early and mid 1990s, Lozi's formal control over its own affairs was gradually increased as the South African government prepared to give the country and many other homelands full independence. In 1997, the Republic of Lozi Act was passed by the South African Parliament, signaling Lozi's statehood.

Politics

Lozi's political framework exists within an executive republic, meaning the nation's executive branch (known as the Executive Council) is the source of sovereignty and the highest political organ. The Republic of Lozi Act is Lozi's current Constitution, and was passed by the South African Parliament in 1997, signalling Lozi's independence. The Act provides for an independent judiciary and the protection of basic human rights; however, international rights group Amnesty International alleges that some important elements of the bill of rights are ignored.

Government

Main article: Executive Council of Lozi

The Executive Council of Lozi is the epitome of political authority in the nation. It consists of two tiers of members, namely members with portfolios, who are responsible for some or other government function, and members without portfolios, who mostly serve as general advisors and representatives of the people. All members are popularly elected from electoral constituencies once every five years. Once the Council is constituted, they elect from their own membership a Chairman, who is the head of state and head of government. The Chairman takes final responsibility for all the actions of the Council, holds the most authority, and is accountable to the electorate.

With Lozi having no legislature, the Council also assumes legislative responsibility. Whenever the Council is in session it may pass a law (known as an "Act") with a simple majority vote. Because the constitution of Lozi, the Republic of Lozi Act, is an Act of the South African Parliament, only the South African Parliament can amend or repeal it. The Act itself states that the Executive Council must pass a resolution with a simple majority, requesting South Africa to change or repeal the constitution. Many opponents and critics of Lozi's political "independence" cites this, as is the same with the other "bantustans", as the ultimate indication that Lozi is merely a puppet of Pretoria.

Administrative divisions

With only one large settlement, being the capital Katima Mulilo, Lozi has few administrative divisions. Being a small unitary state, the Executive Council runs all levels of government, however, individual villages and towns do elect their own mayors. The mayors are responsible for enforcing Executive Council policy at the local level, and cannot make their own policies. The Local Government Act does however allow the mayors some privileges and authority, especially relating to urban planning and parks and recreation. Rural areas which do not have any identifiable settlements to elect a mayor fall under the jurisdiction of the Executive Council member responsible for agriculture and the environment.

Law

Main article(s): Law of Lozi, Lozi Superior Court, Lozi Republican Police

Lozi law is based on South African common law, which in turn is itself based on Roman-Dutch civil law with strong influences from British common law. The Executive Council is responsible for passing Acts, which takes precedence over the common law. The Lozi Superior Court, the nation's only judicial body, is independent and responsible for interpreting and adjudicating the law. Whether or not judicial review applies in Lozi is a matter of contention, and has not taken place since Lozi's self government in 1976. Acts of the South African Parliament passed prior to 1997 (when Lozi became independent) still apply in Lozi, unless they are expressly repealed by the Executive Council. Most Apartheid legislation has been repealed by the Executive Council in the period 1997 to 2000.

The Lozi Republican Police (LRP) is the national police force of the nation and is administered by the Executive Council member responsible for justice (in this capacity, he is known as the Police Commissioner). It is a small force of only around 2,000 officers across two shifts. Lozi is divided into four policing zones, namely the Western Zone (based at Kongola, the Central Zone (based at Muketela), the Capital Zone (based at Katima Mulilo) and the Eastern Zone (based at Impalila). Most of its equipment is supplied by the South African Defense Force, while it receives training from the South African Police Force. Criminal law in Lozi still relies on South African legislation and common law. The LRP has been criticized for using excessive force, gross corruption and political crimes.

Military

Main article: Lozi Territorial Force

The Lozi Territorial Force (LTF) is the national military of Lozi, and was established in 2009. Prior to its establishment, it existed under the South West African Territorial Force (SWATF), the regional formation of the South African Defense Force (SADF) as 701 Battalion, while its prospective leaders underwent training. It achieved "self reliance" status from the SWATF in 2009 and is an now an independent force. SWATF, however, under USAS agreement, still lends military assistance to Lozi when required.

The LTF consists of two infantry battalions and a headquarters formation. All of the Territorial Force's equipment is supplied by South Africa, and as of 2014, the LTF still makes use of the SADF's training institutions for specialist fields, such as vehicle operators, snipers and officer courses.

Foreign relations

Main article: Union of South African States

Internationally considered a product of Apartheid and a puppet of Pretoria, Lozi does not have formal ties with nations besides those in South Africa's sphere of influence. Lozi engages in international affairs mostly through the Union of South African States (USAS). In Africa, Lozi has embassies in Angola (Jamba), South Africa, Mozambique, and the other USAS nations. Despite the fact that no states outside of Africa recognize Lozi, the Lozi Executive Council has a portfolio responsible for international affairs, with its own bureaucracy.

See also

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