Barotse activists jailed but defiant

The three Barotseland activists who were arrested early this year for demanding the succession of Western Province have been jailed three years each with hard labour.

Kaoma Magistrate Julius Malata said the case committed by the trio was a misdemeanor but that their conduct during the court process was unpleasant.

The three activists jailed were Nayoto Mwenda, 32, Boris Muziba, 36, and Sikwibele Wasilota, 33.

The trio was jailed after Magistrate Malata convicted them on a charge of publication of false news with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public contrary to the laws of Zambia.

The magistrate  said he was convicting the trio as the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Malata said the court would imposed a severe punishment in order to deter future would be offenders.

He also said the trio did not show remorse even after being arrested by police officers.

Mr Malata said Zambia was a unitary State that included Western Province and whether Zambian or not but as long as the offence had been committed in Zambia, a suspect was amenable to the judicial system of the country.

He said he could not allow people committing offences with impunity whether Zambians or not adding that the three year sentence will be with effect from January 6, 2014.

But in mitigation, the trio maintained that the case be transferred to the Commonwealth Court which was impartial as the matter was an international one.

Mwenda said the matter could not be tried by an illegal and biased Zambian court while Wasilota said the matter concerned two countries of Barotseland kingdom and Zambia hence the case be taken to an independent court.

However, Magistrate Malata s id he has heard their mitigation adding that the matter committed was a serious one and sentenced the trio to three years each with hard labour.

Magistrate Malata said if the convicts were not happy with the court’s outcome, the trio was free to appeal to the High Court within 14 days.

Immediately after the sentencing of the three activists in a fully parked magistrate court, some Barotseland sympathizers broke down while others started singing solidarity songs as the trio was being whisked away to Kaoma State Prison.