‘Unconfirmed’ reports indicate that Barotseland activist and Linyungandambo freedom fighting movement leader Afumba Mombotwa and two other colleagues who were serving ten year jail sentences have been released from prison.
There is no confirmation from Zambia Correctional Service authorities but Afumba’s relatives who have already arrived in Lusaka and are currently celebrating have stated this evening that the three have been released today.
Afumba Mombotwa, Likando Pelekelo and Inambao Kalima were arrested by the police on 5th December 2014 at Kasaya checkpoint in Mwandi on their way from Senior Chief Inyambo’s Palace.
They are expected to arrive in Mongu, Barotseland tomorrow but it’s not clear if the Zambia police will allow them to address their supporters in Mongu.
It is also not clear if the release is connected to the upcoming dialogue on the Barotseland impasse between the Zambian government and Barotseland.
The Barotse Royal Establishment is currently assembling a dialogue council that will meet the Zambian delegation and Linyungandambo refused to take part but later gave conditions that they will only participate if all Barotse prisoners arrested over Barotseland related issues are released and that the dialogue will have to do with the Barotseland National Council (BNC) independence resolutions of 2012 and not restoration of the defunct Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
.Afumba Mombotwa and his two colleagues were arrested, tried and convicted of treason felony by the High Court in Kabwe in March 2016 for trying to implement the resolutions of the 2012 Barotse National Council, which called for the independence of Barotseland in view of Zambia’s unilateral abrogation of the pre-independence Barotseland Agreement of 1964.
Afumba Mombotwa, Inambao Kalima and Pelekelo Likando were serving their 10 year jail terms at Luwingu, Kasama and Mansa state prisons respectively.