Shot Kaunda claims attempt on life

 

The former Zambian President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, yesterday accused high-ranking Zambian officials of ordering his assassination, after he was shot and wounded by heavily armed police at an opposition rally. Dr Kaunda was struck on the forehead by a bullet on Saturday as police fired on his car after they moved in to break up a rally of the National Opposition Alliance in the town of Kabwe, north of Lusaka.

Two other senior opposition figures, Mr Roger Chongwe and an unnamed official, were also shot and injured.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the assassination attempts on our lives was an instruction from above," the former president told the BBC from his hospital bed after the shooting.

"We held a peaceful rally," said Dr Kaunda (73), but the "paramilitary came and just started firing tear gas at us . . . and then they fired live ammunition."

A senior member of Dr Kaunda's United National Independence Party (UNIP), Mr Tiaonse Kabwe, also called the shooting an assassination attempt, asserting that UNIP had discovered that Mr Chiluba's ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy had plans to "eliminate" Dr Kaunda.

Mr Chiluba is currently in Indonesia on a state visit.

Asked earlier by the BBC to speculate on a motive behind the attack, Dr Kaunda said: "The main reason is that I have said, and my colleagues have agreed, that when we are back in office we are going to form, like the South Africans, a truth commission to find out who has been selling our copper, our cobalt . . . ever since we left office in 1991. Where is the money, that is the problem."

Dr Kaunda has led a campaign of civil disobedience since constitutional change prevented him from taking part in elections in 1996.