Mukumbuta Akakandelwa, in the picture, is one of the more than 80 activists charged with treason and currently detained at Mwembeshi prison, west of Lusaka. Treason attracts a mandatory death sentence in Zambia if one is found guilty.
From the time he was arrested some three months ago, police and prison guards have used Akakandelwa’s lame physical status as an object of ridicule and entertainment for themselves.
‘He has been subjected to a form of torture were police and other security agencies have withdrawn his crutches and ordered him to walk without them,’ said a police officer who is disgusted by the inhuman behaviour of his colleagues.
Akakatendwa is extremely physically challenged from waist down to his legs, and sometimes as seen in the photo even crutches are not helpful.
But that is exactly what the Zambia police like.
The first day the police arrested him; they withdrew the wooden crutches and threw him into police van.
The locked him up in a holding cell with other body-abled men but did not give him his crutches.
The crutches were withdrawn for almost a week. Inside the congested jails from Mongu to Mumba, he had to snake his way to the toilet. The police did not allow his colleagues to lift him.
When he and other detainees were hauled to court in Lusaka last week, he had to be assisted to get to the police trucks as seen in the picture by sympathizers.
‘The crutches he has in the picture were donated to him at the last hearing of the matter some weeks ago,’ police sources say.
A senior police officer only identified as Superintendent Ngulube has been named as the one who ordered this treatment for Akakatendwa.
The lady wearing black and crying is the younger sister to the detainee.