UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE/ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE/ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE
Edition: #33 6 January 1998
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KAUNDA STEALS LIME-LIGHT OF COUP CASE
The arrest of former republican president, Kenneth Kaunda, looked like the final act by investigators probing the October 28 failed military coup.But hardly a week after the arrest on Christmas day, the act seems to be bringing more complications then may have been contempleted.
Until Kaunda's arrest, it looked like the investigators were on course for a speedy presentation of specific charges against each of the arrested suspects. But with Kaunda in the picture, focus has somewhat shifted from the case to how Kaunda should be treated whilst in detention and now under house arrest.
Both local and more so foreign pressure, began mounting on police and government authorites as soon as Kaunda was arrested and locked up in a Lusaka Prison.Several agitated members of Kaunda's UNIP party kept vigil at the prison, some of them getting into the odd physical fracas with other members of the public.
UNIP leaders and Kaunda's lawyers demanded that Kaunda be accorded better treatment than to band him with common criminals and the authorities were only too happy to oblige because the presence of the UNIP cadres outside the prison gates was beginning to cause anxiety especially with the facility situated in themiddle of a densely populated residential area. Kaunda was moved to the Mukobeko Maximum security prison, some 160 kms north of Lusaka, far from any major residential area. Here he was placed in a special cell with a lounge which opened onto a garden. However, pressure for him to be released continued, from leaders of the Southern African region, UNIP and Kaunda's lawyers.This pressure climaxed with a visit by former Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere who called on Kaunda in prison and where the two held private talks.
The next day, December 31, President Chiluba announced at a press conference that he was heeding the advice of leaders of the region.He indicated that it was with great consideration that he was agreeing to accord Kaunda special treatment though he stressed that in their appeal President Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Nyerere were specific about not wanting to interfere in the "due process of the law of Zambia".
Other leaders who expressed worry over the arrest were South African President Nelson Mandela and Botswana President Kurtumile Masire.The United States and Britain also voiced their concern at the arrest.U.S. State Department spokesman James Hauley said Washington remained concerned about Kaunda's detention.He said Kaunda was a distinguished and respected international figure and called on the Zambian governemnt to present evidence publicly and quickly.
Also, Britain's foreign office minister Tony Lloyd, who is due to visit Zambia, said he could only do so if he is assured of meeting Kaunda.Chiluba said, however, that he would not respond to any general statment issued by other leaders (other than Mugabe and Nyerere), saying that they were entitled to their own opinions.Chiluba also said that government would not interfere in the on-going police investigations.
Chiluba then annoounced that Kaunda would be placed under house arrest which would make it easier for his wife, Betty, to provide food for him.Kaunda had reportedly gone on hunger strike immediately he was arrested and later only ate food provided by his family.
The general belief that house arrest would make it easier for Kaunda was shattered when Chiluba announced a chain of restrictions, conditions for Kaunda's move.The conditions include full police surveillance of the house, restricting and control of the flow of visitors and a ban placed on Kaunda for involvement in any political activity.
Kaunda is also not allowed to give any statements to the news media and when CNN managed to get an interview from him, a senior police officer was suspended for failing to enforce the law.It has also become an offence to be within 100 metres of Kaunda's house without police authority.Chiluba has warned that should Kaunda fail to co-operate in implementing these conditions, he would be sent back to Mukobeko Prison
UNIP leaders and some family members are now complaining that the restrictions are too harsh.Kaunda's press secretary Muhabi Lungu says that it was easier to have access to Kaunda in Mukobeko Prison than now, at his home.He said UNIP would consider pressing for Kaunda's return to Mukobeko.
Kaunda, who denies all charges, has so far taken the developments in his stride.When he was arrested, he rebuked a police officer whom he accused of having tricked him (Kaunda) out of his home and down to the police station ostensiby only for questioning, only to arrest him.
When he was moved into the prison, Kaunda reportedly spent a short while playing soccer with some prisoners he found playing the sport in the prison grounds and when he was moved to Mukobeko, one of a few possesions he insisted moved with him was a guitar.
The tension that had begun to mount soon after Kaunda's arrest has begun to wear off, especially in Lusaka.The Lusaka High Court, however, continues to draw huge crowds whenever Kaunda apeears before it as his lawyers press for a formal charge or his release.Kaunda is currently being held under presidential state of emergency powers that allow police to detain anyone for 28 days (renewable) without charge or commencement of trial.
Going by a recent phone-in television programme, a majority of Zambians contend that Kaunda should not be accorded any special treatment regardless of his past or present status.Most of the callers expressed concern at the easing of detention conditions for Kaunda noting that any treason suspect should not be accorded preferential treatment.
The Zambia Democratic Congress (ZDC), a party that has sided with UNIP since losing the November 1996 general elections, is now accusing government of discrimination.The party's acting president Wynter Kabimba contends that it is discrimination for Kaunda to be accorded special treatment while the ZDC president Dean Mung'omba is being treated like any of the other 90 suspects arrested in connection with the coup.But Chiluba said Mung'omba cannot claim to have the same influence as Kaunda and noted that none of the leaders who had approached the government over Kaunda's detentions, mentioned Mung'omba.Mung'omba has been in jail for over 60 days without being charged.
With Kaunda on the centre stage, it is likely that Mung'omba will remain in the background as has Captain Steven Lungu, the man who announced the military take-over on the morning of October 28.It remains to be seen, however, whether international pressure which is evidently building up again will help speed up the commencement of the trial or will only put Kaunda and other suspects in a more uncomfortable situation.
STORIES FOR ZNO33
1.a - KAUNDA'S ARREST DERAILS INTER-PARTY TALKS
The arrest of former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda in connection with the failed October 28 military coup, has all but derailed inter-party talks. The talks appeared to be on course until Kaunda, president of the United National Independence Party (UNIP), was arrested on Christmas Day.UNIP, the former ruling party, and all other major parties have since withdrawn their participation saying there was no point in continuing the dialogue when key political figures were being arrested without charge.
Also in jail is Zambia Democratic Congress (ZDC) president Dean Mun'gomba. Another key political figure, Dr Roger Chongwe, is in self-exile for fear of being arrested over the coup attempt.Chongwe is leader of National Patriotic Coalition which has resolved not to take part in the talks aimed at easing off political tension in the country, particularly in the wake of the attempted coup.
Up to 16 of about 30 registered political parties have indicated that they will take part in the talks but most of these are insignificant parties with hardly any following.Government says the talks which were put-off after the arrest of Kaunda, will nonetheless go ahead.Michael Sata, the national secretary MMD, the ruling party, says government has nothing to lose from a boycott especially when the talks were insisted on by the opposition parties.
1. b. - UNIP PLANS DEMONSTRATIONS OVER KK'S ARREST
After failing to get police permits to stage public demonstrations over the arrest of UNIP president Kenneth Kaunda, members of the party are now threatening to defy the law and go ahead with ther planned protest.A planned demonstration scheduled for the Copperbelt Province fell through after UNIP leaders in the region were reportedly warned by the polie to keep their members off the streets.
UNIP's Copperbelt secretary Levy Mwansa wondered why the party was being denied the right to make a peaceful protest.He warned that there would be violence if UNIP was pushed so that its back was against the wall.UNIP chairman Malimba Masheke said the party would stage protests without a police permit. Government has warned, however, that no breach of the law would be tolerated.
2.VETERAN POLITICIAN RESIGNS FROM POLITICS
Veteran politician Humphrey Mulemba has resigned from politics due to poor health. Mulemba, once the country's second in command, has until now been president of the National Party, a key opposition party.During the reign of UNIP, Mulemba rose to the rank of party general secretary, a position that was equivalent to that of vice-president in a Zambia that was then a one-party state.
Mulemba was among the first members of parliament to resign from the MMD soon after the MMD came to power in 1991.He has been conspicuously quiet in recent months despite pressure from members of the NP for him to call for a national party convention to resolve numerous party problems that have seen the resignation of several members.
3.LACK OF SCHOOLS PUSHES CHILDREN ONTO STREETS
A shortage of secondary schools continues to force children onto the streets on completion of their primary school education.This year, over 100,000 out of about 175,000 pupils who sat for grade seven examinations, have failed to advance to secondary schools.
Education minister Godfrey Miyanda said the figures were, however, an improvement of about 37 per cent. This is attributed to the upgrading of some primary schools to create places for junior secondary school pupils.The figures also reflect an improvement in the number of girls advancing to secondary school.About 42 percent of those who qualified were girls compared to the 37.5 who made it after the 1996 examinations.
4.ZAMBIA ON ALERT OVER CHOLERA
Medical officers have been assigned to border points to attempt to check the spread of cholera from neighbouring countries, especially those to the north of Zambia.The measure follows an out-break of the deadly waterbourne disease in East Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where a total of over 2,000 people have died from the disease.
Zambia's Central Borad of Health spokesman Ben Chirwa said people were now being screened at the borders to ensure that no infected person brings the disease into the country.There has, however, already been suspected cases of cholera reported in some parts of the country. Dr Chirwa gave the assurance that there are adequate contigency measues in place to ensure that the disease is kept under control.
In the early 1990s about 500 Zambians died of the disease. Dr Chirwa said that now, because of Zambia's preparedness, the fatility rate has been reduced from 50 percent to two per cent.
5.CHRISTMAS/NEW YEAR WITH LESS ACCIDENTS
The Christmas and New Year festivities went by with a notable reduction in accidents and deaths in comparison to previous years.
Despite more activity this year, only 38 road accidents and four deaths were recorded, compared to 73 accidents and seven deaths over the same period last year.
Police spokesman Binwell Chimfwembe said that only 14 people were injured in this period compared to 57 last season.Chifwembe also said there were less crimes reported this period than the year before.
6.ZAMBIA BRACES FOR MAJOR FOOD SHORTAGES
A serious food shortage is looming in Zambia.Food stocks have virtually run out and there is no ready source to replenish supplies.Government says 28,000 metric tonnes of relief food is needed to avert hunger in the next three months.But government does not have the K13 billion (about $10 million) needed to purchase the food.
Vice-President Christon Tembo said 29 districts, mostly in rural areas, were in dire need of relief food and that government was scouting for the K13 million needed for the purchase of the 28,000 metric tonnes of food, mostly maize grain which is Zambia's staple food. Currently, only 8,000 metric tonnes has been sourced but this is expected to last only up to the end of January.
It is feared that the shortage will get worse after March when the adverse effects of El Nino begin to be felt.It is projected that the number of districts to fall in the hunger striken bracket will increase to 39.China is said to be among countries that have committed themselves to assisting Zambia in providing the needed food, but only in the second half of the year.
7.CONGOLESE REFUGEES GO HOME
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), has closed its offices in Kasama, Zambia's Northern Province capital.This follows the return of thousands of Congolese to their country which they fled early last year at the height of an armed uprising against the then government of Mobuto Sese Seko.
A UNHCR representative, Olseyi Bajulaije, said there was no need for the commission's continued presence in the province as there were now less than 100 refugees remaining and these refugees would soon be repatriated to the Democratic Republic of Congo.Most of the remaining refugees are believed to be former members of Mobutu's elite guard.
8.DEATH OF BOXER: QUESTIONS ON ZAMBIA'S SPORT'S FUTURE
Zambia's sporting year (1997) ended with a tragedy and renewed questions on whether or not boxing is a worthy sport.The death of boxer Felix Bwalya followed a tortourous battering in the ring. This earned Zambia a Commonwealth tile but the country lost its greatest boxing talent.
The government, through the sports ministry, has instituted a probe into the death of Bwalya who lapsed into a coma and died a week after the December 14 fight.But even before the outcome of the investigation is known, pressure is mounting on the government to ban the sport.There is, however, a lot of resistence from the boxing fraternity many of whom contend that rather than ban the sport, safety precautions should be stiffened.Most of Zambia's international honours in sport over the past 33 years of the country's independence, have come through boxing.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Tue, 06 Jan 1998 12:24:16 +0100 Subject: ZAMBIA NEWS ONLINE #33 Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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