The Zambian government has charged 54 people accused of pushing for the secession of Barotseland from Zambia with treason.
Chapter 7, section 43 of the penal code of Zambia under which they have been charged says, ‘A person is guilty of treason and shall be liable to suffer death who-
(a) Prepares or endeavours to overthrow by unlawful means the Government as by law established; or
(c) Prepares or endeavours to procure by force the setting up of an independent state in any part of Zambia or the secession of any part of Zambia from the Republic…’
Western province commissioner of police Lombe Kamukoshi, said the police consulted the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on the matter.
The number of suspects has risen from 47 to 54 following the arrest of seven more suspects in Kalabo and Sesheke on Thursday and Friday last week.
Two weeks ago, the suspects staged a protest after police thwarted their move to hoist a flag. They swore in the “administrator-general” Afumba Mombotwa who is still on the run.
“We have charged all the suspects with treason after we consulted the DPP. We have revised the charge,” she said.
Ms Kamukoshi said police received fresh instructions from the DPP to charge the suspects with treason.
She said all the suspects will appear in court on September 3, 2013.
On the seven suspects who were arrested between Thursday and Friday, Ms Kamukoshi said four were arrested in Sesheke and three in Kalabo.
Among those arrested is publicity secretary of the Linyungandambo association in Sesheke Alick Mahongo, 36.
Others who were arrested in Sesheke are Oliver Songa, 34, Chunga Suba, 21, and Enock Sindoyi, 23.
From Kalabo, Nosiku Liamba, 33, an employee of African Parks, Cliff Mumbula Mutukwa, 41 and Simasiku Walubita, 50 were arrested.