Constitution detainees languish in jail

The case in which 17 detainees that tore the draft constitution were expected to appear in court yesterday for defence failed to take off as Magistrate Exinorbit Zulu was not available.

And three out of the 17 are still in custody even after fulfilling their bail conditions months ago there is no explanation for their continued detention

Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM) chairperson Nyambe Namushi confirmed to the Daily Nation that the three were still in custody because the prosecution team did not hand in the papers to the magistrate for reasons best known to themselves.

Mr Namushi explained that the prosecutors who were handing the matter decided not to give the papers to the magistrate to facilitate the release and that it was hoped that they would be released today.

He said the case has since been transferred to Kaoma where they are detained from Mongu.

“We had a problem with the prosecution team that did not want to give the papers to the magistrate for reasons best known to themselves. We have made a follow up to the matter but we just discovered that the papers are missing. We wonder why the prosecution wanted to bury the issue and let our people stay in jail for a longer period of time.

“However we have managed to fill in new forms and we hope that they be released today if Mr Zulu is going to come,” he said.

The movement chairperson also revealed that the people that were arrested by government security wings were still in custody except for two that were released.

Mr Namushi said the statement by the permanent secretary for Western province Emmanuel Mwamba was false because the people were still detained at Mongu prisons.

He said the 10 people were detained and charged with seditious material.

“How can Mwamba say the reports were false were false when those people even appeared in court in Lusaka? It is a lie because he knows about all this and these people are still in jail.

“Government is illegally holding these people and we only hope these would not be tortured like they did with the other detainees in Kaoma. We still wonder as to what is happening because up to date there has been no report on the victims that were tortured and we think we shall take it upon ourselves and seek legal redress,” Namushi said.

Meanwhile the BFM has supported the move by youths from the Barotse Youth League to petition the Commonwealth to suspend the Zambian government from the Commonwealth and that they were now looking for a final solution.

Mr Namushi explained that it was not only the suspension that his group was looking forward to but also the separation of the Barotseland from Zambia.

He said the move was timely as they had already written the United Nations about the matter and that the BFM would soon make its position known on the development.