Barotse activists tried to use diplomacy, not violence – Video recording

The four accused being led to a prison truck

The four accused being led to a prison truck

The Kabwe high Court today was shown a clip of a video recording where Afumba Mombotwa allegedly made a declaration for a free Barotse state in line with the agreement of 1964 which created the unitary state of Zambia.

“Zambia has no right to continue the domination of, encroachment on Barotseland. We have fought for the recognition our state through diplomacy and not violence,” Mombotwa was heard saying.

Earlier defence lawyer Humphrey Mweemba had objected to the video and some DVDs being tendered as evidence until after scrutiny that they were not tempered with by the police in whose custody they have been. But Kabwe High Court Judge Dominic Sichinga overruled the objection on grounds that there was no dispute on the fact that the said devices were recovered from some of the activists.

Meanwhile Provincial police commissioner Lombe Kamukoshi has continued to defy the court directive not to restrict people from attending the hearings. Some relatives who have come to hear the trial where denied access while some journalists were stripped naked to ensure that they did not carry cameras and recording devices.

The gagging prompted journalists to formally complain to the court martial that they be allowed to have their gadgets with them as they were aware that they could not take pictures inside court. Even after being talked to by the Judge, reporters were still asked to leave the cameras far away from the site where they could take proper pictures.

Afumba Mombotwa, Sylvester Kalima, Likando Pelekelo and Paul Masiye are charged with treason following their demands for the restoration of the Barotse agreement of 1964. Under Zambian laws, the charge carries a maximum of a death penalty.

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