This was in the exercise of the powers vested in the Zambian President by Article 97 of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter (1) of the Laws of Zambia which provides for the Presidential pardon and substitution of severe punishment imposed on the convicted.
However, while State House circulated a signed statement of their pardon to both radio and television stations in Zambia, including the national broadcaster ZNBC and on social media by State House, Mr Afumba Mombotwa’s name was hours later dropped from the list read by the Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo.
Confirming the edited list in a press briefing, Zambia’s Minister of Home Affairs stated to the nation through ZNBC that only four inmates were pardoned by the President from various correctional facilities across the country to mark his birthday.
When asked why the list was now indicating four inmates instead of the regularly signed list distributed by State House earlier which had five names, Kampyongo emphasized that his list was the official one without explaining why Afumba Mombotwa’s name was no longer on it.
State House is yet to clarify the matter.
Afumba and two others, Inambao Kalima (59) and Likando Pelekelo (64) are serving 15 years treason felony sentences with hard labour for usurping the powers of the executive.
Their arrest in December of 2014 and eventual imprisonment came after he took an oath of office in August 2013 as Barotseland administrator general to push for the peaceful implementation of the 2012 Barotse National Council (BNC) unanimous resolutions for Barotseland independence from Zambia.
Recently, however, State House has come under increasing international and local pressure to have the three political prisoners released from jail unconditionally, and the latest Afumba pardon fiasco may be the result of that.