By Brightwell Chabusha
The land saga between UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and the Hatembo family of Kalomo has taken a new twist as complainants in the matter – Ms Pheluna Hatembo and her brother Milton – have gone missing for over a month.
Their whereabouts are unknown as they have not returned to the village since they came to Lusaka for the case where they took UPND leader HH to court over fraudulent acquisition of the Kalomo Farm Number 1924, which was left for them by their father.
The two brothers – Emerson Hatembo and Cosmas Hatembo – were bothered by their relatives’ silence as the last contact made with Ms Pheluna was on 2nd February, 2021.
Since then, her phone has been off; she has not returned to the village and neither has her brother Milton with whom she jointly took Mr Hichilema to court, demanding repossession of their farm.
The High Court threw out the matter on grounds of alleged lapse of time, but Ms Pheluna and her brother appealed to the Court of Appeal. A few days later, the duo received threats from Mr Hichilema through third parties, prompting them to discontinue the appeal. They were then forced to issue a video statement in which they distanced themselves from their lawyer and announced that the appeal had been discontinued.
That was the last to be heard of Ms Pheluna and Mr Milton.
The first report of missing persons was lodged but there was no action from police. The two brothers have decided to lodge a second report with the hope that police will assist in finding where their relatives are.
The family now suspects that the duo could have been abducted or even killed by some UPND officials whom they were in contact with.
They said it was strange for Ms Pheluna to be away from home for a long time as she was nursing her daughter who had a medical condition since birth that requires her constant attention.
“It is inhuman to keep the mother away. This child of hers is 33 years old but she can’t do without the mother. She has never left her daughter so her being away for almost 40 days was the red flag and that is why we suspect she has been killed together with our brother Milton,” they said.