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Family demands mayor Simoloka’s freedom

THE family of detained Choma mayor Javen Simoloka says their relative is being tortured in police custody for committing no offence.

On March 22 this year, Simoloka and Mazabuka mayor Vincent Lilanda were ‘arrested’ in Lusaka, around the issue of the PF-driven narrative that Pheluna and Milton Hatembo of Choma have been abducted.

The government and pro-PF media continue to present a view that the Hatembos have been abducted.

The duo had initiated in court a Kalomo farm ownership dispute with UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.

After losing the matter in court, the Hatembos have ‘disappeared,’ for fear of being harassed by PF operatives, for refusing to appeal the matter.

Others in police around this issue are Ackson Sejani, a UPND National Management Committee (NMC) member, and businessman Fines Malambo, all of Choma.

Sejani and Malambo are held at Ridgeway Police Post in Lusaka, since March 21, 2021.

On the other hand, Simoloka and Lilanda are being held at Woodlands and Kabwata police stations, respectively, in Lusaka.

The two mayors were arrested on March 22.

On March 26, 2021, Mbambara Legal Practitioners and Muleza Mwiimbu Legal Practitioners, the advocates and co-advocates, respectively, for the detained quartet issued a writ of habeas corpus before the Livingstone High Court.

Younger brother to Javen, Christopher Simoloka, says his relative is noble and deserves no mistreatment, at the hands of the Zambia Police.

“For us, this man (Javen) is noble; he is an upright man. He has not done anything and so, let him go. His family needs him. They are torturing an innocent man,” Christopher said in an interview. “If he had done anything wrong, he would have been charged and taken to court. He is detained from March 22 and today is April 2. He was detained around 12:00 hours on March 22 and I was with him as they were taking him in.”

He emphasised that he would remain steadfast beside his brother.

“I’m at Woodlands Police Station every day. What we are asking is that please, let this man go. He is noble! He is a productive member of society and it is not a secret that he is the mayor,” he said.

“Let him go – his family needs him. His mother in Choma needs him and she is struggling now; she’s diabetic. His wife and his children need him. His friends need him. So, the wider family needs. Please, let him go home [because] he has not done anything wrong.”

Christopher said if mayor Simoloka had done anything wrong, he would have been charged with an offence by now.

“[But] he has not hurt anybody,” he said.

Asked about the state in which Simoloka is in, Christopher responded: “he is very strong! They are not going to break him.”

“Peace comes from within and he has peace within himself, because he knows that ‘I have done nothing wrong,’” Christopher explained.

“So, he is not broken [but] strong and in good spirits. He would have been struggling if he knew that he had done something wrong. But our cry is that please, let this man go home immediately.”

He insisted that if mayor Simoloka had done something wrong, he would have been charged the time he arrived in Lusaka.

“It seems that there is another group of people who are above the law and it’s hard to deal with them. But if we are working with the laws of the country that we all know, what they are doing is illegal,” said Christopher. “So, let this man go and continue with his everyday life. His office of mayor is waiting for him. Let him go and attend to the needs of the people who elected him.”

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