PROMINENT Kitwe farmer and businessman Kelvin Soper yesterday vowed to spend nights at State House until he sees President Edgar Lungu over a land wrangle with Northern Province permanent secretary Elias Kamanga.
Soper has been embroiled in a land dispute with Kamanga regarding ownership of a piece of land.
In April last year, Soper embarked on a long walk from Kitwe to Lusaka to see President Lungu but police stopped him.
He alleges that Kamanga grabbed his land where he had lived for over 40 years.
He alleged Kamanga had used his influence and power to displace him. He started this when he was mayor of Kitwe, back in 2010. These are the corrupt civil servants that need to be fired,” Soper told The Mast in an interview.
“I have asked for audience with the President so that I explain what this corrupt man Kamanga has done. After getting highest office as PS for Copperbelt, he even went to the Ministry of Lands and made title deeds to get my land. This is total abuse of power from this corrupt man. So I am walking to Lusaka. I am asking the people that will be seeing me not to think that I am mad or have smoked something. I am fighting for my land which this man has grabbed from me.”
He complained that a lot of civil servants were tarnishing the name of the President by doing corrupt things.
Soper said he would not give up the property that he had fought for.
He explained that his family had occupied the 1,700 hectares of land from 1979 and that he was surprised that Kamanga decided to invade his land.
But Kamanga said President Lungu was not a court.
“This is a mad man. I am tired of this man. I don’t want to talk about this man. This chap is just claiming that I have grabbed land from him. I am getting irritated with this now. Let him go to court instead of scandalizing me in public. There is literally nothing that I can grab from this man. He is a vagabond. You are allowing a vagabond to mess my life. I am not the one who gives land, let him go to the council. He should ask the TC, ask the council,” said Kamanga when phoned for a comment.
“It’s unfair to allow a mad lunatic to tarnish my image. This is an idiot. Let him go to court. Is President Lungu the court? Let him go to court so that the court can determine. He with Chella (late Wusakile member of parliament) forged title deeds. But the Chella family has now done the right thing. This has given me enough stress. I don’t want him to die on his walk. Let him stop this nonsense.”
Yesterday Soper arrived at State House and was not attended to by press time.
“I am at the back entrance [of State House], I am trying to see the President. I sent a couple of letters but it seems they are ignored. It’s been eighteen years looking for justice and people seem to be ignoring me,” he complained. “My theory is that the President is not aware of my plight, that civil servants are hiding true facts. So I want to see the President and today is my birthday, I am sixty-three years old, I’ve got sixteen children, I’ve been here [Zambia] all my life and I’ve been treated like a foreigner,” he said. “I think it would have been easier if I was Chinese, it’s ridiculous.”
Asked whether he had been attended to, Soper responded in the negative.
“I am not leaving, I’ll sleep here tonight (yesterday), I am not leaving until I see my President, I want to see the Kateka. I am tired now of being pushed from here to there, everywhere like a ball, I am tired now,” he said.
Soper said he should not be treated like a foreigner.
He said he had sent a letter to Presidential affairs minister Freedom Sikazwe two weeks ago and that although his problem had been investigated, nothing had been done.
“And it’s forced me to come and see the Kateka now. I have tried all protocol measures, I have tried everything possible, so what do I do?” he asked. “When you get civil servants stealing from the people, that’s ridiculous.”
Soper said he did not want to embarrass President Lungu but merely wants him to hear his plea for justice.
Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda and Sikazwe could not pick calls when phoned for comment.