‘I DIDN’T KILL LAWRENCE’
…Muchemwa cries for clearance from new dawn Govt
By MARY MBEWE
I AM desperate to be cleared because my life is in danger and I am in hiding because there are people who want to kill me because they believe I killed Lawrence Banda, when this is absolutely not true, says former Intercity PF branch member and a member of the PF security wing, Francis Muchemwa.
Francis, who has since retired from politics, says the state security knows the truth.
He also says his group have been made scapegoats for Lusaka City Council inefficiency with revenue collections from the bus station when PF had nothing to do with that as all bus owners deposited money in the council accounts.
In welcoming the announcement by Inspector General of Police, Lemmy Kajoba, that police will reopen old cases which were not conclusively dealt with, Francis Muchemwa, feels this is the only life line for him to be finally cleared of a terrible accusation.
Francis has been living in self-exile since the UPND ascended to power for fear of his life. When UPND cadres started attacking PF cadres believed to have committed wrongs, whether verified or not, Francis left the country.
Asked if he fears for his life, Francis says, “Yes I do, and until such stories are cleared, I wont fell safe.” He is currently living in South Africa while his wife and children are struggling on their own.
“What the Inspector General, Lemmy Kajoba, has announced is very important and I am very happy, so that finally we can put the propaganda to rest. I have always advocated for justice for Lawrence Banda and I have always prayed for such an investigation,” says Francis.
With tears in his eyes and cracking voice, Francis talks of his upbringing and how a life in the seminary taught him to respect life, that which his enemies have accused him of taking.
Francis has put his faith in the new dawn administration, the last people, many of his friends would expect him to trust. But he says, he has nothing to hide and the truth will be found by the authorities.
He says some people have accused him of being behind the Kaoma killing of Lawrence Banda, but he was nowhere near Zambia, let alone Kaoma.
He has told this story many times but his enemies refuse to accept the simplest explanation.
“I am so happy with the IG pronouncements, on this matter, and in the interest of the public, let them do a proper homework and call on Hon. Mumbi Phiri who confessed seeing everything happening. There were other people there who can be interviewed,” he says.
“So with this pronouncement I am hoping the person who truly did that should be arrested, so I can have my life back. I am not free,” Francis says with pain in his voice.
Well in this case, the simplest explanation is what Francis has.
At the start of campaigns in the Kaoma incident, Francis was in South Africa with his wife, nursing their son, who was born with a serious medical condition. He says after spending some months in the University Teaching Hospital, the family decided to go to South Africa, to consult with other specialists.
Francis: Yes my child was born with a health condition, we were in UTH for 10 months and records are there to show. Then we went to South Africa at Sunninghill hospital
I can recall that, I came on the 3rd of from South Africa which was a Thursday, still nursing my child I never moved around
In fact by the time there was this unfortunate thing in Kaoma, I was at Waterfalls Mall with Royd Moonga, then a full time UPND supporter and his wife as I was looking for recommended medication from the hospital at the chemistry,” Francis said.
That was the first time he heard that there had been a shooting incident in Kaoma.
Francis says he is raising the matter now because it is important.
“I called in the interest of justice in the case that was maliciously put out with propaganda. There are people who know the truth and can be interviewed like honorables Mumbi Phiri, Mulenga Kampamba and others.
These are Honourable people who were present and can tell the truth.
I want to be free. The past few years have been terrible because this has been hanging over me and my family.
I stated applying for my clearance during PF time.
Last August, I wrote to the Attorney General through my lawyers, to clear me and we are still waiting for that clearance. I must become free,” he says.
For the 3 months, I have been away and my family is suffering. My business is also affected. I have over 50 people relying on me for salaries and this is tough.
He says, Police investigate him and were able to find the truth of his whereabouts during the time of the Kaoma incident.
My family has been devastated for years and it’s our prayer that finally justice can prevail.
Some might ask, how a simple man could afford such an expense of taking a child to South Africa for treatment.
Well, he might be simple but also very hard working.
He explains that when one starts off with only village life as his background, people do not believe that one can make it life. But people do make it.
“I am a villager, who was brought up in Mporokoso, went to Lubushi seminary,” Francis explains his start in life.
He says spending part of his education at Lubushi Seminary helped to ground him, to appreciate life and learnt what it means to be a servant of the people.
Having veered from priesthood, Francis tried all sorts of skills to eke out a living and better himself. I stated my business way back from Twikatane, and few people like former Mayor Chisenga can recall.
It was a religious center, where we learnt a lot of crafts, from honey selling, selling different merchandise for fund raising.
So from there I learnt how to sell pure honey, which I used to buy and package in bottles and then resell.
Gradually the business stated to grow and I stated selling duvets/ blankets. After I was introduced to Intercity, I used to send hosts on buses to buy for me then I would resell on 2 months’ pay slow.
Then after that before PF even came into power I become a loader at RK Motorways, and later I become one of the managers in 2011.
After that I become manager at RK Motorways.
It was this time that I opened my first liquor store, still in operations, at Northmead, which was called Frill 1.
Later I opened my second club at old Titanic in Kanyama. it was called Frill 2 but because of theft and crime it never worked so I relocated to Namakau in Chilenjewhich I had to run for over a year also till I moved it to Garden compound, it was still called Frill 2 until recently when the owner of the property died and was subsequently sold and I had to move it to Ibex.
When I moved the business to Ibex, I rebranded the business and called it Altitude Lounge.
In the same year I registered Altitude properties, where I had a chance to get a Vehicle finance from FAW Zambia, and I managed to obtain 2 trucks which have been working between Zambia and South Africa.
I would like to put it on record that, after RK, I had joined Intercape and worked with the company as country manager. And that is where I learnt the trucking / bus business and learnt about vehicle financing and the like.
In all my little saving, my dedication was based on growth and I stated building my now Altitude Apartments with only 12 rooms from savings and a few loans I had managed to obtain from Barclays Bank, now Absa.
Asked he was getting money from Intercity when the PF had an office there, Francis denies this.
“Never,” he says and adds, “In fact besides Altitude, my other company is FriltechNetworks Zambia limited. I have been a supplier both to the government and private and records are there to show.”
“In fact I have never worked for the council at anytime and they should check records now and before, if what they are making is not the same,” he says.
“I believe the town clerk was politicking for his job safety, he wasn’t honest,” he says.
When pressed further that everyone believes PF collected money from Intercity through him and the other people, Francis says,” If you ask people who work at intercity they will tell you that buses pay through the bank. And bus ownersproduce coupons for them to come out as gate pass. No money flows in any ones’ hands.”
“According to what I have heard from those who worked there And for clearance you can even call the former Manager to explain, Penjani, he is the former Manager.
“I have just been hardworking and innovative,” he says.
He says the council superintendent , maybe of help to explain the procedure.
He says because there are so many lies, he is afraid for his life.
He is also running a chicken rearing business in Six Miles where he has 3000 birds in six and sells them. “And that’s my main form of business. I rent poultries in 6 miles. That’s what people never knew about me.”
He is running part of the business from Johannesburg where he rents offices and warehouses to store products that he sources on behalf of clients and transports to Zambia.
“I pay 10,000 dollars to FAW every month for those vehicles. Anyone can get that,receipts are there at FAW Zambia. I pay bit by bit. My wife goes to pay even a 1,000 dollars when we have.
“Not every one hustling in streets has a dirt mind. I am actually smart and I wish to grow my company even more. In fact I am supporting the economy, because for every goods I transport from Johannesburg, every one pays duty and my target market are those women traders, Young entrepreneurs that I carry goods for.”
Francis says he has left politics because there is too much jealous.
He admits that he was at Intercity under PF but as director of the Boxing Academy, which was identifying talent among youths and arranging fights for them.
“More like redirecting talent in the right direction as opposed to engaging violence,” Francis says.
His role was to organize international fights for the boxers plying their trade under the academy.
Now, the boy from Mporokoso, is a businessman with a good chance of succeeding in life in only the state can clear his name of wrong doing.