Zumani still behind bars, yet to appear in court

CHRIS Zumani Zimba is still gracing the cold concrete floor of Woodlands Police Station and has not yet appeared in court, 10 days after police divorced him from his cozy Chamboniza Bedding mattress, duvets and pillows on non-bondable terrorist charges.

After being detained a day earlier, Zambia Police Service spokesperson Rae Hamoonga announced on May 31, 2023 that Dr Zimba, a former political advisor to vanquished president Edgar Lungu and three others, had been charged with the offence of being in possession of articles for terrorism or proliferation purposes.

Hamoonga said the quartet, which include three residents of Lusaka namely; Given Phiri, Marlone Banda and Portipher Gwai, was found with Deep 600 and Halothane and others with intent to endanger life.

Even without police mentioning that the items for which Dr Zimba and company were linked to gassing, the public has concluded that police have finally nabbed the masterminds of the volatile gassing period of 2019 and 2020 which bred countrywide fear and threatened to plunge the nation into civil unrest. 

Although no one is said to have died from the so-called gassing, frightened communities turned into murderous mobs, attacking and killing people suspected to be gassers.

More than 50 people died in in the unrest before the gassing suddenly fizzled out without perpetrators being caught. 

Hamoonga said "terrorism" items were found on the suspects in February 2020, although he provided no explanation why the arrests were only made in May 2023.

With Dr Zimba's charges, political analysts have called into question the choice Lungu's associates.

Before Dr Zimba took up the job of political advisor, Kaizar Zulu had the job but was half the time in the news for violence, more than for doing what he employed for.

And just last March, the Mongu High Court convicted and jailed Lungu's personal barber Shabby Chilekwa for murdering an opposition party supporter during a by-election in Kaoma in October 2019.

Kalemba June 8, 2023

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