POLICE on the Copperbelt have again stopped farmer and Kitwe businessman Kelvin Soper from taking a lone protest walk from Kitwe to State House over the land allegedly grabbed from him by Northern Province permanent secretary Elias Kamanga.
But Kamanga has threatened to sue the 62-year-old Soper for defamation.
In March 2018, Soper began a walk to State House from Kitwe, but police stopped him.
He wanted to plead with President Edgar Lungu to intervene in the matter.
Soper, who claims Kamanga had gotten 600 hectares of his land and obtained title without his consent, yesterday embarked on his protest walk again but police stopped him just after leaving Ndola and took him to Kitwe Central Police.
“I am married, we have 13 children and nine grandchildren at the farm. This Kamanga is a problem. So I am walking to State House,” Soper said.
Last Friday, Soper told The Mast that despite him giving the police the necessary notification, no feedback was given.
“I have done what is needed but the police, including the high office, have not given me any feedback. So in search for justice, I’m walking this Sunday (yesterday) starting at 05:00 hours. I ask for your support and prayers,” Soper said on Friday.
“…we have no feed from our trip to Lusaka where we made a formal complaint against Jack Kamanga for land theft. This is indicative of zero empathy for our suffering. Our only savior will be our Republican President. Zambia police has not communicated with me. Permit to walk constitutional…I do not need a permit to recommence walking in a peaceful appeal to see the Kateka at State House. My walk restarts on Sunday 29th 2018 at 05.00hours on the Kitwe-Ndola highway.”
Yesterday when he started his walk at Luangwa bridge and had reached Maposa area, police ordered Soper to stop.
“When I reached Maposa, police officers came and told me to go back. They said that they had received instructions from High Command that I shouldn’t proceed. I didn’t resist, they picked me, took me to Kitwe Central Police. I have gotten assurance from Police Deputy IG Malcolm Mulenga that this issue will be sorted out, and that is how I agreed to go back,” said Soper.
However, a police source said Kitwe district commissioner Binwell Mpundu ordered the police to release Soper.
In March, Kamanga threatened to take legal action against Soper.
He has also explained to Secretary to Cabinet Dr Roland Msiska his position in a letter obtained by The Mast.
“As discussed with you Sir, in our earlier telephone conversation, a Mr Kevin Soper, a British citizen domiciled in Zambia is reportedly marching to Lusaka to meet His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu accusing me of having grabbed his farmland in Kitwe. The facts of the matter, however, are that I was duly offered the said land (a subdivision of Farm No 3416) by the Kitwe City Council following a Supreme Court ruling which directed the council to re-plan and offer subdivisions of the said farm to interested developers. The judgement arose out of an appeal by Mfubu Ranch (the owners of Farm 3416) to the Supreme Court against Somore Ltd (belonging to the late former Wusakile MP, Barnabas Chela and SOPER) who had allegedly illegally obtained title to their Land,” the letter read in part.
“It might interest you to note, Sir, that there are several farmers who have since proceeded to develop their land, including the late Hon Chela who was also offered part of the subdivided lots. It might also interest you to note that I have been at the said farm for close to ten years. The allegation therefore that I have grabbed land from Soper is not only mischievous but intended to malign me and the Government of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, most especially to the International Community. I have as a consequence instructed my lawyers, William Nyirenda and Company, to commence legal proceedings against Mr Soper.”