Sensing imminent defeat in the ongoing cases of ‘Seditious intention to secede Western province from the rest of Zambia’ and ‘Seditious practices for unlawful possession of seditious material’ respectively, Zambia police now seek to arrest Barotse activist Muleta Kalaluka indefinitely using Edgar Lungu’s declared state of emergency.
On 21st July, 2017, a dozen Zambian police officers were reportedly dispatched to search for Muleta at Litoya, going from village to village, until Sunday 23rd when the police heard Muleta would be attending a church service at the Libala new apostolic church in Senanga.
“Police officers, armed with guns, stormed the church and started to question some parishioners about Muleta’s whereabouts. The whole exercise looked so dehumanizing,” reported a parishioner who wondered what crime Muleta had committed to warrant the desecration of a divine service in that manner.
Muleta Nawa Kalaluka is already before a Zambian court after he was arrested together with ‘Rocky’ Lubinda Nyambe in March 2016 on two counts, seditious intention to secede Zambia’s western province from the rest of Zambia and seditious practices for unlawful possession of seditious material – whatever that means.
His case was transferred to Kaoma, more than 200 kilometers away from Mongu for unknown reasons, but underwent continuous adjournments until November 2016 when the Zambian state finally enlisted two police officers as witnesses against him.
However, it would appear that the police are no longer confident of Muleta’s conviction but now seek to arrest and detain him indefinitely under president Lungu’s declared draconian emergency rule.
“During cross examination, the testimony of the two state witnesses was so shattered that it became very apparent that Muleta and his co-accused would be acquitted on the next court sitting scheduled for 24th July 2017.
“This might have prompted the fresh police manhunt on Muleta to have him re-arrested indefinitely under president Lungu’s state of emergency. There are also reports that they may wish to arrest him for speaking to foreign and international media about the current situation in Barotseland.” revealed a source close to the case.
When the case came up for possible ruling on the 24th of July, however, the state prosecutors informed Muleta and his co-accused around 12:00hrs that their case would not be heard that day but the next morning on 25th July 2017, a move many sympathizers alleged was meant to not only punish Muleta who stayed many miles away in Mongu, but that the police wished to possibly effect his arrest at the court premises.
Muleta, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, is a well known critic of Zambia’s administration in Barotseland without the pre-independence Barotseland Agreement 1964, which the Zambian government unilaterally abrogated in 1965.
In the famous 2013 treason trial that involved over 83 Barotse activists charged with treason for celebrating Afumba Mombotwa’s publicized Oath of Office as head of a transitional government in Barotseland, Muleta publicly challenged a Lusaka court to prove its LOCUS STANDI on Barotseland citizens in the absence of the 1964 agreement which was the only instrument that would grant such.
He and other Linyungandambo members then had threatened to subpoena Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda to speak under oath why Zambia had continued administrating Barotseland illegally.
The Zambian state then abruptly discontinued the case against the over 83 Barotse shortly after Muleta’s court challenge was publicized in various national and international media; notwithstanding that the state claimed the trial would rattle some unnamed national public policy if continued, thereby acquitting all accused on Nolle prosequi.