Rioting in Mongu after Arrest of Barotse Leader

Ngambela-SinyandiA Police battalion this morning arrested former Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) Ngambela (Prime Minister) Clement Sinyinda after surrounding his residence in the early hours of the morning, causing anti-government riots to break out amongst supporters in Mongu.

According to senior police officers who were interviewed via telephone from Mongu, Sinyinda was formally arrested and taken to Mongu Central Police around 09:00 hours.

The police, who requested anonymity, said the police battalion surrounded Sinyinda’s house at 04:30 hours before conducting a search.

According to the police, instructions were given to them to comb Sinyinda’s house for firearms, which were suspected to have come from a neighouring country.

After the arrest, the police were told to quiz Sinyinda on allegations that he had been pilfering security information and Zambia and the BRE to unknown people.

“We received instructions to arrest the former Ngambela. We were also told to search for offensive weapons which he received from a country that I cannot mention here because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“We are just doing our job since we cannot see anything incriminating in this case. We think it is the differences Sinyinda had with the Litunga (King) and they want to finish him because they think he is working with people to cause trouble,” said one senior police officer.

The Western Province of Zambia, also known as Barotseland, has for many years harboured separatist ambitions and, to an extend, has been granted some rights of self-governance.

As some senior Barotse traditional leaders have made deals with the government in Lusaka, Sinyinda is particularly revered for his strong stance on the underdevelopment in the region, which many citizens feel has been withheld by the ruling party in Lusaka.

By press time, the Sinyinda was still being questioned by the police and efforts to get a comment from the police proved futile because police spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela was out of office and her mobile phone went unasnwered.

During the questioning, the police officers who gave information to Zambia Reports said Sinyinda’s of sympathizers gathered outside the police station.

“We were told to search for guns, grenades, matchetes and other weapons at Sinyinda’s house and to ask him to tell us where these things are if we don’t find them at the house. From the investigations, we do not think there is anything like that,” the officer said.

Clement Sinyinda, the former deputy minister of education under the MMD government was crowned Prime Minister after he retired from the government job in 2011.

One year later, Sinyinda resigned his position but it was later established that he had differences with the Litunga, who has been accused to siding with the Patrotic Front government to block to implementation of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

“The government must find other means of dealing with the Barotseland Agreement because there will be a lot of trouble here. The PF promised to restore the agreement, but when they came to power, they ignored the promise. The people feel betrayed and they take the PF as a government of liars. We are the police and we know what the people are saying and feeling over these matters,” the policeman said.

Recently, President Michael Sata told the Litunga during his visit to Western Province that the former Prime Minister was plotting to oust the Lozi King from the throne using illegal means.

During the 2011 campaigns, Sata promised the restore the contentious Batrotseland Agreement of 1964, but he has vowed not to honour his campaign commitment, much to the furor of the batroseland activists.

Trouble has been brewing over the Barotseland Agreement and the former BRE Prime Minister has been accused to mobilising activists to pressure Sata to honour his campaign promise.

Comments are closed.