The Lawyer representing 84 suspected Linyungandambo members, and Hon. Clement Wainyae Sinyinda, who are charged with Treason according to Zambian laws, has strongly objected to state application for venue change of the case hearing from Mongu.
This was in the case where the Zambian state applied for change of the venue from Mongu to Mumbwa citing what the state says is a security concern after the arrest of 84 people. The state have contested that the environment in Mongu is no longer conducive as a venue for the continued court hearing, hence their application to have the venue changed to Mumbwa.
According to an affidavit in support of the application to have the venue for the case changed, Mongu divisional criminal investigations officer (DCIO) Boniface Ngwira stated that the environment after the arrest of the 84 people raised security concerns in Mongu adding that it may not be conducive for trial to be held there.
“That on 17th September, 2013 when the matter came up for mention, relatives, friends and sympathisers of the accused were unruly at the court premises and thereafter went on the streets demonstrating following the vehicles that were carrying accused persons,” he stated.
Ngwira also stated that there was not enough space at the remand prison in Mongu to hold the 84 accused persons.
However, an insider on condition of anonymity, has said that the Zambian government has become increasingly un-comfortable with the massive solidarity and attention this case has attracted so far in Mongu, where ordinary Barotses and Mongu residents were flocking and filling the court house amid shouts of solidarity to Barotseland and the accused who they consider as heroes.
“The whole thing (massive solidarity shown at last court appearance) has become increasingly embarrassing to the government, and they are hoping that not many Lozis would manage to travel to Mumbwa for the hearing compared to Mongu, the purpoted capital of Barotseland.” said our insider.
But Major Charles Lisita, in responding to the application before Lusaka High Court judge Evans Hamaundu, has asked for ample time to file a coordinated and summarized affidavit in opposition of the state application as the accused had diverse views on the application.
Meanwhile Western Province police commissioner Lombe Kamukoshi said Sinyinda was charged with treason last Wednesday but was moved to Mwembeshi Prison (Mumbwa) from Mongu.
“He appeared on the 25th that is last week Wednesday. He was taken to Mwembeshi. The whole group was taken to Mwembeshi. We had congested the Mongu Central Prison; they are 83 in total and the capacity couldn’t withhold,” Kamukoshi said.
“The women and the juveniles are in Lusaka Central Prison. There are six females and three juveniles and they will all appear in Mongu. They should have appeared today [the 2nd of October 2013] but it has been adjourned to the 10th of October. It was adjourned so that they could appear together with Sinyinda.” concluded Kamukoshi.
Our independent correspondent, reports that as the Barotse political prisoners were in transit from the High court yesterday they were chanting “Viva Barotseland”, visibly in high spirits, and seemingly undeterred by their current predicament, much to the amazement of the Zambians who were passing through great East road (fly over bridge) at that same time.