Tue, 09 May 2017 12:11:57 +0000
By Charles Musonda
Contradictory statement concerning the whereabouts of the UPND vice President Geoffrey Mwamba have raised serious concern in the party.
Last week party counsel Martha Mushipe told senior resident Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile that Mr Mwamba was scheduled for knee surgery when his case came up for mention, apparently alluding to reports that Mr Mwamba had travelled to India for treatment.
But information coming from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport revealed that there were no records to show that Mr Mwamba left Zambia from any airport or indeed any border.
And yesterday party Spokesperson Mr Charles Kakoma said the party was not aware of Mr. Mwamba’s alleged fleeing to an unknown destination.
Asked whether or not Mr. Mwamba was in Zambia, Mr Kakoma told Daily Nation to call the UPND vice president and find out where he was.
“I am not aware about him fleeing. You can call him and he will tell where he is,” Mr. Kakoma said.
But efforts to get Mr. Mwamba proved futile as calls to his mobile phone number could not go through.
Later, when Kakoma was called to help in getting in touch with Mr Mwamba, his phone went unanswered.
Two weeks ago, a member of the UPND legal team who preferred to remain anonymous told journalists in Lusaka that Mr Mwamba had flown out of the country to seek specialist medical attention for the excruciating pain on his knee.
This followed days of rumours and speculation on the whereabouts of the UPND strong man after he missed Mr Hichilema’s court appearances before skipping his own court case in which he had been charged with illegal drilling a fortnight ago.
“All I can tell you is that he has travelled to India on a medical trip for his knee. He might require surgery there. His family has requested that we allow them some privacy as you know that medical issues are very private”, the source said.
However, in an interview, Mr Mwamba’s lawyer Martha Mushipe told Daily Nation could not comment beyond what she told the court regarding her client’s scheduled knee surgery outside Zambia, an operation that would reportedly see the UPND second leader out on medical rest for close to eight weeks.
She refused to further discuss her client’s whereabouts on grounds that any comment on Mr. Mwamba’s location will prejudice him.
This was in a case where Mr. Mwamba is charged with 19 others for illegal drilling without authority of the Republican President.
“I cannot comment on things that are in court because that will prejudice my client,” Ms. Mushipe said.
Prior to Mr. Hichilema’s arrest, Mr. Mwamba was on hand to offer solidarity to some senior UPND figures and sympathisers appearing before the courts but he has conspicuously missed all the court sittings his superior has attended since last month.
Since Mr Hichilema’s arrest on April 11, 2017, his only vice president has not been seen in public and his whereabouts remain a mystery, fueling speculation that he might have fled Zambia for unknown reasons.