Namwala violence: ICC on the way

 

INTERNATIONAL Criminal Court (ICC) investigators are expected in the country to probe reported crimes against humanity allegedly committed by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema and his vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba following the post-election violence in Namwala that left many injured and displaced. And State House has said that it has not received any communication from the ICC over the UPND alleged claims that its votes were stolen in the last general elections. Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda announced yesterday that the only information the presidency had was that five ICC investigators were coming to Zambia to inquire into the violence that rocked Namwala soon after President Edgar Lungu was declared winner of the last general elections. Mr Chanda said contrary to lies by the UPND that it had reported its alleged stolen votes in the August 11 elections to the ICC, the international body had not communicated to government over the matter and asked relevant authorities to avail the Attorney General with information to verify the claim. Addressing the media at State House yesterday Mr Chanda said government had received formal communication from the ICC that a team of investigators would be coming to Zambia after a complaint was lodged by the Namwala violence victims through their lawyer, Lewis Nathan Advocates. Mr. Chanda said while government had treated the matter as private, victims of the post-election violence had taken the matter to ICC over crimes against humanity committed by the UPND which saw the displacement of some people who were deemed as Patriotic Front (PF) sympathisers. Mr Chanda said said government would cooperate with the ICC officials in rendering any help they may require during their visit. “The Zambian government has been informed that there is action at the ICC lodged by those citizens in Namwala who suffered injury, displacement and all forms of abuse. These private citizens have lodged papers with IOCC and an official position has been that the ICC will be sending five shortlisted investigators who are expected to come to Zambia and investigate possible crimes against humanity. “To this effect, the Zambian government will request that such documents be forwarded through its legal advisor, the AG by the ICC or International Court of Justice (ICJ) if at all there are any papers because we have not served with such documents whatsoever to prove that the Zambian government has been sued,” he said. He warned that government would not take kindly to the UPND machinations to create tension and conflict in the country by inciting Zambians to rise against a democratically elected government in the name of having its votes stolen when it had failed to clearly state how many votes were stolen and from which region. “Out of a country with 10 provinces they lost in seven. How can you win the presidency of the country when your opponent gets seven and you only win in three and you start living under the delusion that you have won and you further continue to lie that there are court papers that will declare you as a winner? “This is the kind of behaviour that government will nolonger tolerate. Deluding yourself that you are president can be tolerated but when you begin to create tension and conflict in the country, then you have crossed the political line and that becomes criminal,” he said

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