Barotseland independence leader Afumba Mombotwa not released from Zambian prison

12 November 2019
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FILE: [L-R] Inambao Kalima (59), Afumba Mombotwa (60) and Likando Pelekelo (64) in 2013 - CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

Our independent sources have confirmed that Mr Afumba Mombotwa has not been released from jail and that no such instructions to release him have been issued to the prison authorities by 10:00 hrs this morning.

While Afumba Mombotwa and his fellow political prisoners, Inambao and Pelekelo confirm listening to the various news bulletins announcing his name among the five inmates supposedly pardoned by the Zambian president yesterday, Mr Mombotwa has not yet received any official contact or communication from the prison authorities to that effect.

And the authorities at Kabwe’s Mukobeko State maximum prison have confirmed that in spite of the various announcements about Mr Mombotwa’s supposed pardon, no official instructions have yet been issued to release him from the correctional facility.

“Unfortunately, we don’t work on radio or television announcements. To carry out any such instructions, we must have written or direct orders from the prison hierarchy, which we have not yet received. So, we do not know if any such instructions have been issued,” stated a prison officer at the state maximum facility speaking anonymously.

Understandably, all release orders for the day are issued and carried out between 08:00hrs and 10:00hrs, and by 10:00hrs no such orders had been received in respect of Afumba Mombotwa.

Mr Afumba Mombotwa (60), the Barotseland independence leader, was yesterday named among five inmates supposedly pardoned by the Zambian president to celebrate his 63rd birthday.

This was in the exercise of the powers vested in the Zambian President by Article 97 of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter (1) of the Laws of Zambia which provides for the Presidential pardon and substitution of severe punishment imposed on the convicted.

However, while State House circulated a signed statement of their pardon to both radio and television stations in Zambia, including the national broadcaster ZNBC and on social media by State House, Mr Afumba Mombotwa’s name was hours later dropped from the list read by the Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo.

Confirming the edited list in a press briefing, Zambia’s Minister of Home Affairs stated to the nation through ZNBC that only four inmates were pardoned by the President from various correctional facilities across the country to mark his birthday.

When asked why the list was now indicating four inmates instead of the regularly signed list distributed by State House earlier which had five names, Kampyongo emphasized that his list was the official one without explaining why Afumba Mombotwa’s name was no longer on it.

State House is yet to clarify the matter.

Afumba and two others, Inambao Kalima (59) and Likando Pelekelo (64) are serving 15 years treason felony sentences with hard labour for usurping the powers of the executive.

Their arrest in December of 2014 and eventual imprisonment came after he took an oath of office in August 2013 as Barotseland administrator general to push for the peaceful implementation of the 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) unanimous resolutions for Barotseland independence from Zambia.

Recently, however, State House has come under increasing international and local pressure to have the three political prisoners released from jail unconditionally, and the latest Afumba pardon fiasco may be the result of that.

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.