4 February 2013

Zambia: Kabimba Accuses UPND of 'Murder'

Photo: CDDR-zambia
(File photo) Zambian police beat and teargas opposition protesters.

Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba says the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) is responsible for the murder of Southern Province minister Obvious Mwaliteta's brother Joana Liakoka.

But Mwaliteta says the ruling party should not act with prejudice in the matter and allow the police to conduct investigations professionally. According to the latest announcement, the UPND is now suing Kabimba for libel over these comments.

Kabimba, through the pro-government Post Newspaper, accused UPND of trying to instill fear in the Southern Province voters ahead of the Livingstone Central by-election, allegedly aware of impending loss for the ruling party.

He said the UPND struggled to find a candidate for the Livingstone seat and as such were using violence to impart fear in the electorate.

"I think it's time that the people of Zambia held UPND and its leaders to account for cultivating violence during elections or election campaigns," he said.

Wynter said the UPND leadership hired people to kill Liakoka and called on the police to arrest the culprits including the UPND leaders whom he said issued the instructions to kill.

"The police must make sure that the culprits are brought to book, even if it involves some leaders in UPND because whoever did it could not have done it without the express instructions from the UPND leadership," he said.

But Mwaliteta has condemned the act of vengeance by ruling PF cadres in Livingstone.

"I want to urge all my members to stay calm. Go back to your people and campaign peacefully. We don't want revenge. We should not be bitter with anything but leave everything in God's hands," he said.

Mwaliteta said police were investigating the matter and advised party members not to interfere with the process.

"There is no need for us to try and get revenge when the police are investigating the matter. We must leave them to establish the couse of death and give us a report of the findings," said Mwaliteta.

Other officials of the UPND say they are shocked that the PF is linking the murder to politics.

UPND campaign manager for the Livingstone by-election Garry Nkombo says the party condemns the violent killing of Liakoka and has sent its message of condolences to the Mwaliteta family.

"It is very unfortunate that a death like that one can be immediately be linked to politics. It is regretted that this death has coincided to a major political event. So I can only appeal to the police to investigate this case objectively and objectivity means looking at the statements that have been given by those that were with the deceased at the time of the murder," he said.

Nkombo said the libel lawsuit filed will teach Kabimba that the law in Zambia is not selective.

"Mr Kabimba and his associates will have to be brought to the courts of law. Being the minister of Justice Mr. Kabimba should be reminded that justice is not selective. Mr. Kabimba being the minister of justice should be champion number one to realize the course of justice," he said.

Nkombo said it was wrong and injurious to the UPND for Kabimba to allege that the opposition party murdered Liakoka.

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