Over 20 out of 80 Patriotic Front cadres who illegally grabbed land and assaulted a police officer in Lusaka West last week have been arrested and detained at Matero Police Station.
Police said that 11 panga wielding cadres who clashed with the police for encroaching on Siisii Lisulo’s farm on Sunday were apprehended on the same day and nine others were surrounded and picked on Thursday after a tip off from members of the public.
Lusaka police commissioner Lemmy Kajoba told journalists that some of the cadres have been charged with aggravated robbery and are still in detention.
Kajoba said that some of the suspects have since appeared before the courts of law while others were still detained to help the police with information leading to the ring leaders in land wrangles which have engulfed Lusaka in the recent past.
“We have already charged some cadres who have since appeared in Court with different charges. Some have been charged with aggravated robbery and are being held in custody. We are still holding them in the cells because we want them to help us with investigations leading to the arrest of others,” he said.
And owner of the farm, Lisulo, said the PF cadres have been giving him trouble since 2011.
He explained that since PF formed government, the cadres have been threatening him with violence, “They have been threatening me over this land since 2011. So far they have managed to encroach about 3 acres out of 9.1. This is my land situated off Mungwi road on number L5411/M.”
“2011 that is when the PF cadres started claiming ownership of my farm, last year they come with ‘pangas’ and machetes and beat me up. Right now I even have all the medical reports,” narrated Lisulo.
Lisulo said the cadres recently invaded the farm on 15th March, 2014 threatening to kill him if he did not leave the farm for them.
“They told me that they were President Micheal Sata’s people and that even if I reported anywhere nothing would happen to them,” said the heartbroken Lisulo.
Lisulo said when the cadres invaded his land, they started removing maize and beans plants and threatened to kill his workers who were making blocks.
“After we saw that the situation had gotten out hands, my son got a gun and fired in the air that was when the cadres scampered into different directions but promised us that they would still come back,” he narrated.
Lisulo said his life was no longer safe and that he could not sleep anymore because of the PF cadre’s numerous threats on him and his family.
And deputy minister of home affairs Steven Kampyongo said it did not matter whether the cadres where from PF or not, they would have to face the law.
Kampyongo said the police will protect Lisulo and his family from the cadres who have threatened to kill him if he did not leave the land in question for them.
“We shall make sure that those cadres are brought to book and pay for their wrong doing according to the law,” Kampyongo said.
Kampyongo noted with sadness that there were many people who had been threatened by cadres over their own land and police would soon put to an end such threats.
Meanwhile, Local government and national housing deputy minister Forrie Tembo disclosed that the government has come up with a committee which would looking into land matters.
Tembo noted that cadres had become unruly on land matters and that his ministry would partner with the ministry of lands and home affairs.
“We shall not sit down and watch the cadres take over innocent people’s land in the name of politics,” Tembo said.