Africa, Headlines, Human Rights

RIGHTS-ZAMBIA: Ex-President Remains Under House Arrest

Lewis Mwanangombe

LUSAKA, Jan 3 1998 (IPS) - Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda failed to regain his freedom Friday after a judge adjourned the hearing of an application for his release, submitted by his lawyers.

Kaunda, arrested on Christmas Day in connection with an attempted coup by junior army officers in October, had been placed under house arrest on Wednesday after spending a week in jail.

Defying restriction orders under which he was placed on his release from prison, the 73-year-old ex-president spoke to reporters and supporters of his United National Independence Party (UNIP) at the Lusaka High Court when he appeared there on Friday.”It is not Kenneth Kaunda who is on trial. It is (President Frederick) Chiluba who is on trial,” he told wildly cheering supporters and journalists.

Under preservation of public security regulations restricting him to his home in the Kalundu suburb of Lusaka, Kaunda is not supposed to speak in public.

At the High Court hearing, Kaunda’s lawyer, Sakwiba Sikota, told the court that defence lawyers had only managed to get a copy of the regulations supporting the restriction order on Friday morning, despite attempts to obtain them earlier.

The court will reconvene Tuesday to decide whether Kaunda, who has not been formally charged, may apply for bail which Solicitor General Sam Chisulo so far has denied on the grounds that the Dec. 25 detention order served on him has been superceded by the restriction orders.

Under these orders, Kaunda is not supposed to take part in politics, give interviews to journalists or issue press statements while it is up to the police to determine who may visit him. Members of the public are not be allowed to be within 100 metres of his house.

The former president’s release from prison was the result of mediation by former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere and Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe, who is the current chairman of the Organisation of African Unity.

However, at a press conference last Wednesday, Chiluba said the consideration being given to Kaunda would not be extended to the leader of another opposition party, Zambia Democratic Congress head Dean Mungomba, jailed under the same state of emergency powers as Kaunda had been.

Chiluba said the police had thus far detained 91 individuals suspected of being linked to the failed coup, staged on Oct.28.

He also promised that the police would give Kaunda the reasons for his detention with 14 days of his arrest, as had been the case with all other detainees.

 
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Africa, Headlines, Human Rights

RIGHTS-ZAMBIA: Ex-President Remains Under House Arrest

Lewis Mwanangombe

LUSAKA, Jan 2 1998 (IPS) - Former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda failed to regain his freedom Friday after a judge adjourned the hearing of an application for his release, submitted by his lawyers.
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