Barotse Treason detainee tells Magistrate to sentence him to death

The case in which over 50 Barotseland nationals including former Ngambela Clement W. Sinyinda are still incarcerated in Zambian prisons has hit a twist with Director of Public Prosecution Mutembo Nchito failing to issue instruction for commencement of trial to the High Court of Zambia because according to him, ‘the case is a national policy matter’ that he must refer to Zambia’s Attorney General, Mumba Malila.

As such the case has once again been adjourned to 29th November 2013 for yet another mention and possible commitment to the high court for trial.

However, as our independent correspondent reports, there has emerged in this court process two camps and with two different schools of thought and defense among the detainees.

One camp is composed of Linyungandambo led by Hon. Masiye who insist that they are not Zambians and must not appear and be tried by the Zambian courts, while the other camp is that led by Hon. Sinyinda  who have not denied their Zambian status.

The Linyungandambo group is not represented by any Lawyer as they represent themselves, and they are very consistent under the leadership of Mr. Masiye who is named in the Afumba led transitional government as deputy to the secretary of state – defense, Jacob Mashwelo named as deputy to the secretary of state – finance and a Mr. Kalaluka Muleta. These and 24 others signed a petition and application demanding to be tried by the commonwealth courts as they state that they are not Zambians.

The rest under the Sinyinda camp are represented by lawyers and are demanding a Preliminary Inquiry into the case since it has taken long, whose ruling will be Monday next week, although the case has been adjourned to the 29th of November 2013 at which time the case may be committed to the high court.

Details by Independent Correspondent

Court Room # 8

As scheduled the case involving the state against Barotse national activists took place today at the subordinate court in Lusaka.

Before the magistrate was three groups of Barotse nationals who appeared for mention today. Each group comprised both those represented by lawyers and those who are representing themselves.

The latter are mainly members of Linyungandmbo comprised of Mr. Masiye and others. Those represented by defense lawyers include Hon. Sinyinda.

It was however interesting to note that some of the Barotse nationals represented by lawyers opted to represent themselves, which as an observer, indicates the ongoing activism amongst the detained Barotse activists. Even Hon. Sinyinda had wanted to speak for himself at some point but was prevented by his lawyer.

And it is said that Hon. Sinyinda wants to go on hunger strike, an action which the many Barotse detainees are not agreed to.

The defense counsel represented his clients and applied to the court to allow a Preliminary of Inquiry PI, since the state seems not to have evidence against his clients whom he said are entitled to the human rights enshrined in the constitution of Zambia.

He cited the state’ s inertia in dealing with the case as a way of incarcerating persons without convicting them, and therefore he requested the court to grant his application or the state to release his clients under Nolle Proseque in order for the state to have time to look for evidence if there is any, and re-arrest them later.

The state disagreed with the PI application saying that it is not possible since the dockets are still with the DPP a reason dismissed by the defence. The ruling on this PI application will be made on Monday, 18/11/13 at 08:30.

The Linyungandambo group led by Mr. Masiye on the other hand eloquently made their concerns and equally stated that as Barotseland nationals it was illegal to be tried in a foreign country, and appealed that their case should be referred to the ICC or commonwealth court.

Some further stated that they got the motivation to join Linyungandambo from Mr. Michael Sata, now Zambian Republican president, when he was campaigning for the presidency in 2011 January the 8th in Mongu, and therefore, wondered why he has decided to arrest them even when he himself is a self proclaimed member of Linyungandambo, a political movement  in Barotseland.

Of this group Kalaluka Muleta challenged that the magistrate sentence him to death by hanging rather than keep him in prison without trial. He also contended that both Zambia’s first republican president Kenneth Kaunda and current president Michael Sata be presented as witnesses to explain what they know about the Barotseland Agreement 1964 whose abrogation is what has led to their being in jail. They therefore stated that they would want both Mr. Sata and Mr. Kaunda to be witnesses in their case.

With courage, the Linyungandambo group all represented themselves and exhibited consistence in their statements.

In response the Magistrate stated that they were before him only for mention, and as such he cannot make comments on the witnesses to be brought as the case has not yet started. He reiterated the fact that they are awaiting committal to the high court.

He further stated that He has no powers to refer a case to the ICC or commonwealth court.

The case has been adjourned to 29/11/13 at which time the state is likely to refer the case to the High Court of Zambia.

The case which started at 10 hrs ended at 14:00, with the activists sent back to Mwembeshi Maximum Prison under armed paramilitary police escort

On hand to give support were many notable Lozi activists, leaders as well as some prominent Lusaka based Lozis.