Imprisoned Barotseland independence leaders, Afumba and others, receive sustained torture – Inside Reports

25 March 2019
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FILE: [L-R] Sylvester Inambao Kalima (57) Pelekelo Likando (64) and Afumba Mombotwa (60) face sustained psychological abuse and torture in Zambian Prison

 

An inside report received from Zambia’s Mukobeko Maximum Prison has indicated that Afumba Mombotwa (60), Pelekelo Likando (64) and Sylvester Inambao Kalima (57) face sustained psychological abuse and torture inflicted by some named Zambian prison warders assigned to torment the imprisoned Barotseland independence leaders.

Specifically named in the report is one state agent, named only as Mwangala, a warden of Lozi descent like the three political prisoners, deliberately assigned by the State to constantly torture and hurl verbal abuses on the trio, mocking them about their ‘misguided’ dream for Barotseland independence which will never materialise.

Prison Officer Mwangala reportedly uses unpalatable, nasty and abusive words towards the Barotseland leaders serving 15 years jail sentence in Zambian prison, threatening that instead of freedom, they should expect to die in Kabwe’s Mukobeko Maximum Prison!

Although Mwangala was specifically named in the report, the report further indicates that some other Senior Prison officers have also ridiculed Afumba Mombotwa and his colleagues constantly, mocking that Barotseland Independence was never going to be and that the three would consequently die in prison without attaining Barotseland independence as their aspirations did not apparently have the personal support of the Litunga, King of Barotseland, Lubosi Imwiko II.

Further, the three have been told never to expect any personal freedom from their imprisonment either, as the Litunga who was supposed to advocate for their release is in ‘good boots’ with the President of Zambia.

Mukobeko Maximum prison is Zambia’s most notorious prison for those serving capital prison sentences or accused of capital crimes, where the Barotseland leaders now continue to serve their deplorable prison sentences after Zambia’s supreme court uncharacteristically increased their imprisonment from ten years to fifteen years for merely appealing their High Court convictions and sentencing to Zambia’s Supreme Court.

After visiting the Barotse prisoners some years back, Dr Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika, a Prince in Barotseland, had described the conditions under which they were then incarcerated at the state maximum facility as ‘unfit even for pigs’, and these deplorable conditions remain unchanged today!

In a ruling read by Justice J Chinyama, sitting alone on 10th September 2018, the Supreme Court charged that the State upheld their conviction, while adding five more years to the initial ten years imprisonment with hard labour slapped on the appellants by the High Court Judge Dominic Yeta Sichinga, SC, on the 9th of March, 2016 because the court had noted that the appellants were ‘unrepentant’ and ‘self-righteous’!

This was in the case where the three had appealed against the High Court verdict of ten years with hard labour for the crime of treason felony for their role in the implementation of the 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) which resolved to revert Barotseland to its pre-1964 status following Zambia’s repeated refusal to honour the 1964 Barotseland Agreement that brought the former British Protectorate of Barotseland and the British colony of Northern Rhodesia together to form the Republic of Zambia.

The Supreme Barotse National Council was regularly sanctioned in March 2012 by the Litunga, King of Barotseland, under the auspices of the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ), in the presence of the Church and the international community, to chart the way forward and resolve all outstanding matters surrounding the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

It was at this national council that Barotseland unanimously resolved to peacefully pursue independence from Zambia, and with this Supreme Council resolution, every Barotse institution, including that of the King, would seek to pursue Barotseland independence!

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