Chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II of Chongwe says she will fight for her people to protect her land in Shimabala’s Kabweza area.

And senior headman Regius Nkomeshya says Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo should stop using police officers “like they are his children”.

Residents in the area have complained of being threatened by police officers whom they have accused of treating them like animals.

Addressing the residents in Kabweza, princess Choolwe Nkomesha who spoke on behalf of chieftainess Nkomeshya, her mother, wondered why over 60 police officers were sent to the area to offer security to surveyors.

“This land is not state land, are you hearing me? It is crown land. Why should they come all the way here from Lusaka to come and start demarcating land? You are the owners of the land, you are not second class citizens. You are indigenous people. Let me take you [back to] 1974 [when] the first president of Zambia Dr. Kenneth Kaunda sat with the Chieftainess and he asked for a place where they can construct a military establishment. The Chieftainess accepted and government at that time did not have land. The Chieftainess agreed to offer them a place at Mikango and bring the people to Kabweza. There is a written agreement between Her Royal Highness and Dr Kaunda. We praise God for keeping him alive, we need to have a meeting because with stakeholders, we can’t have our people displaced,” princess Choolwe said. “Your children were born here and they will die here. I hear there are big shots from Lusaka like the ministers and they want 20 hectares of land here but they are giving you 20 hectares, what is that?”

She said the people’s land would be fought for until the deal was reversed.

“This is our land, we will not apologize for it. God is the one who has given us this land. I was supposed to be at work this time, they (village headmen) called me that police officers armed with guns and surveyors came, and I asked what they came to do. They said they came to demarcate land. I was surprised because this is not their land. I told one of the headmen to give the phone to the person who was in charge of the police and I asked him who sent them, they answered that we were working on orders from the police commissioner and that the surveyors were working under the instruction of the Surveyor General’s Office under the Ministry of Lands,” princess Choolwe said. “They said ‘we were told to protect the surveyors because they will start demarcating land tomorrow morning’. [That was a] police officer in charge accompanying surveyors. I told them it was not their land, they should go [because] they were trespassing. Even you, when people come to you and offer a million kwacha, you should not accept it, that is a small amount. You will buy yourself a corolla and it will be damaged in a short time.”

And Senior Headman Nkomeshya said Kampyongo would be held responsible if anything happened to the residents.

“We are all citizens and we vote and I will ask Kampyongo to go round his commanding officers in the province of Lusaka; he will be held responsible because he is the home affairs minister. He is wasting government resources by using his police officers like they are his children. And he should tell his commanding officers not to dance to the tune of those characters who bought stolen land. It is not good; we will take them on, they will not manage us,” headman Nkomeshya said.

The residents, through their representative Regina Zulu, explained that they were living in fear because they did not have weapons to protect themselves from the armed police officers offering security to surveyors that had been going to the area to demarcate land.

“Our parents brought us here in 1996; we are being treated like animals by the police officers. What happened yesterday has left us in shock…guns were pointed at us, we realized they are cadres that grab land but after you talked to them on the phone, they ran away. We are not free; we are always crying about what will happen to our land, we cannot continue to live like this,” complained Zulu.