Police thwarted Western Province secession-Witness

A WITNESS in the ongoing treason trial involving four Barotse activists has told the Kabwe High Court that swift police action prevented the activists from advancing in their intentions to secede Western province from the rest of Zambia.

Afumba Mombotwa, Sylvester Kalumina Inambao, Likando Pelekelo and Paul Masiye Masiyaleti, who stand charged with one count of treason contrary to the laws of Zambia in 2013, pleaded not guilty.

The four are alleged to have held several meetings in Limulunga, Sioma, Senanga, Livingstone and other places unknown at which they planned the secession of the province, with reference to the Barotse Agreement of 1964.

Responding to a question from defence lawyer Humphrey Mweemba of Legal Aid Board as to whether there was any secession of Western Province resulting from the activists, Superintendent Leon Mweemba Ngulube said that the secession did not take place because police moved in swiftly.

Mr. Ngulube told the court that he had worked in Mongu as a police officer from 2001 to 2014 and that in 2013 he went to Sioma to investigate allegations that some named persons intended to have Western Province secede from Zambia and that they had declared ‘‘independence’’ for a state of Barotseland.  But Mr. Mweemba asked the witness whether Western province was currently independent of the rest of Zambia as per plans of the activists to which he responded that he did not know as he was no longer living in the area.

He testified that there were some people who were being trained as military personnel for the state of Barotseland and the same were arrested and convicted by the Mongu Magistrate courtfor seditious practices. During the search police recovered some offensive weapons such as bows and arrows and two shotgun.

He named some of the activists who were being trained in military activities from Lukulu to Sesheke as Christopher Muyendekwa an ex paramilitary officer in Namibia, Joseph Mukamba, a former Commando in the Zambian regiment, Kaiko Kaiko who was a teacher at Lukulu basic school and Muyunda Mubiana also of Lukulu.

Mr. Ngulube also testified that the video of Mombotwa being sworn in as administrator general of Barotseland which the court had earlier viewed was taken from Masiyaleti’s house in Sioma.

And when reminded that the issues pertaining to the Barotseland agreement of 1964 were political and that the late President Michael Sata, during his campaigns for the 2011 elections promised to reinstate the agreement, he said that he was not privy to that information.  At this point the state raised an objection to the defence lawyer’s line of questioning but Mr. Mweemba stood his point and said that he was on cross examination for a purpose. Kabwe High Court Judge in charge rejected the defence’s objection and advised the witness to be free to answer questions he knew and also to tell the court where he did not have adequate information.

And another witness, Sergeant Valentine Mugwagwa of Sesheke Police station narrated how he arrested three of the activists after receiving an alert from some people. He said that after receiving information about some people who were on the police wanted list, he further received information of a red Audi motor vehicle heading for Sesheke which had one of the suspects.  Mr. Mugwagwa said that after the said vehicle which had three occupants reached the check point, the police ordered that it stops and after a search Mombotwa was identified as one of the people on the list. He further identified the other two as Pelekelo Likando and Sylvester Kalima. Thereafter the trio were apprehended and the vehicle impounded.   The trial which has attracted eight state witnesses so far has been adjourned to a date to be agreed upon between the lawyers and the court. This was after the state applied for an adjournment to which the defence lawyers raised no objection.