THE Ministry of Home Affairs says Western Province’s Linyungandambo Association, whose leader Afumba Mombotwa is on the run after shooting and circulating a video depicting him being sworn in as ‘administrator general of Barotseland’ last week, is a threat to Zambia’s internal security.
And four government officials in Western Province have been suspended for involving themselves in Barotse ‘independence’ activities.
Ministry of Home Affairs head of public relations Moses Suwali stated yesterday that any attempt by Linyungandambo to be registered by the Registrar of Societies would not be entertained because the intentions of those behind it were inimical to the security of the nation.
“Given the unlawful happenings in the Western Province in respect of Linyungandambo and other affiliate associations, I wish to state that the office of the Registrar of Societies is displeased with the reported activities,” Suwali stated. “The role of the Registrar of Societies in registration and regulation of societies is statutory and meant to ensure that criminal elements do not form societies for purposes of pursuing criminal agenda or acts that threaten the internal security of the country.”
Suwali further stated that as such, chief registrar of societies, Kakoma Kanganja, had categorically made it clear that Linyungandambo and affiliate associations were illegal entities that were not registered with his office.
And Western Province permanent secretary Emmanuel Mwamba said on Sunday that Linyungandambo, with its associated groupings, were illegal, had no formal government registration and that all their activities were unlawful.
“On August 14, Linyungandambo chairperson, Mombotwa, is alleged to have circulated a video depicting him to be sworn in as administrator general of Barotseland. He is currently on the run together with his co-conspirators,” he said.
Mwamba said the purported swearing-in video and the follow-up address was allegedly shot in the house of a Sioma Secondary School teacher, Masialeti Masiye, who had since been suspended.
“The so-called swearing-in video of Mombotwa was shot in Sioma was made available on the internet blog sites, the Barotse Post and Barotse Radio on 15th August 2013,” he said.
Mwamba named the other three civil servants that had been suspended in connection with the Barotse activities as Muleta Kalaluka, a public prosecutor at the Drug Enforcement Commission DEC, a community development officer Mutaba Mutaba and a district works supervisor Lawrence Mukena.
He said the four suspended government officials were among the 45 protestors that were arrested on August 15 following the circulation of the purported swearing-in ceremony.
“The 45 are mostly members of the Linyungandambo,” Mwamba said. “Of the 45, nine were arrested from Mongu and another nine were arrested in Senanga, while the 27 were arrested in Kalabo following a synchronised public demonstration.”
He said police confiscated banners, Linyungandambo identity cards, flyers, compact discs and other documents.
He has since warned local radio stations not to publish or aid in the production of illegal or subversive material.
“These activities undermine the security and peace of the province and the government will not hesitate to shut down any entity promoting and circulating the material,” Mwamba said. “We are aware that the financiers and architects of the protests are using innocent young men and sponsoring the protests.”
However, Mwamba said the province was calm and people were conducting their business without disruption or incidents.
“The isolated but planned seditious and subversive activities will not deter the government’s commitment to Western Province,” he said.
Mwamba, who said the Barotse Royal Establishment BRE was enjoying warm and cordial relations with the central government, said the government was determined to promote co-existence and unity among all tribal groupings in the province.
The province has 38 ethnic groupings.
Mwamba said those arrested were currently remanded at Mongu Central Prison and were scheduled to appear in court yesterday.
They include a retired police officer, Siisi Simasiku, and 80-year-old Mubita Mubita, the oldest of the suspects.