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THE prolonged disappearance of the Hatembo siblings is scary to the nation because such a thing has never happened before in this country, the Bishops Council of Zambia (BCZ) has said.

The bishops said those responsible of abducting or forcing the siblings to disappear and hide should be punished harshly to stop the ‘evil’ spreading.

The siblings disappeared about two months ago following a disputed land deal in which UPND president, Hakainde Hichilema allegedly fraudulently dispossessed them of their 2, 000-hectare farm in Kalomo by manipulating records and signatures at the Ministry of Lands.

Police have announced that the two siblings are witnesses in the land case involving Mr Hichilema.

The Bishops have called on law enforcement officers to dig deeper into the abduction so as not let Pheluna and her brother Milton be sacrificed at the altar of political expediency.

“The Archbishop of Lusaka, Alick Banda is right, this is pure evil and not correct,” BCZ secretary-general, Able Kaela said.

Bishop Kaela said it was cruel for anyone to continue holding the Hatembos knowing too well that Pheluna’s daughter, Nasilele, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy needed motherly care nonstop.

He said the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of the Hatembos had brought fear among citizens.

“We really fear for the missing siblings because we don’t know what is happening. This is why the police should dig deeper into this and round up all suspects,” said Bishop Kaela.

Earlier, Archbishop Banda condemned the silence from the Church, NGOs, the civil rights organisations, bloggers and police on the abduction of Pheluna and her brother Milton, saying that “the apparent silence is too loud for a deaf person not to hear it.”

Archbishop Banda said all life mattered especially that of the poor, victims of the rich and powerful but stingy. 

The Hatembo saga was ignited when the family sued Mr Hichilema for his alleged fraudulent acquisition of their family farm in Kalomo, a case subsequently dismissed by the court on account of being time barred.

However, the subsequent disappearance of Pheluna and Milton from public after they were driven to Lusaka without their lawyers’  knowledge to discredit the case and stop attempts at appealing the matter. Has raised concern

Other than another organised appearance at a press briefing organised by Zitukule Consotium, the siblings have not been seen or heard of since.

This has forced their other siblings Cosmas and Emmerson reported the duo as missing while Pheluna’s daughter, Abigail appealed for help in taking care of her sick sister, Nasilele Nyambe.

Nasilele needs constant care with feeding and cleaning, something her mother, Pheluna, used to do.

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