Thursday, 31 May 2018

Police Re-Arrest Suspected Supplier Of Drugs To Gangs


By Paul Shalala
Bright KAFULA a.k.a. Kamasu


A suspected drug baron who authorities believe is the main supplier of marijuana to most criminal gangs in Kitwe has been re-arrested by Police.

28 year old Bright Kafula, who is popularly known as Kamasu, was on Wednesday re-arrested after being given a suspended sentence for trafficking in psychotropic substances by the Kitwe Magistrates' Court.

Kafula was arrested a week ago with 6 kilograms of marijuana but when the case went to court, he was charged for trafficking in 6 grams.

Initially, he accepted having been found with the marijuana in his house and pleaded guilty.

On Tuesday, Kitwe Magistrate Dominic Lesa sentenced Kafula to two months imprisonment with hard labour but he suspended the sentence for 24 months.

Magistrate Lesa convicted him after he pleaded guilty to trafficking in psychotropic substances contrary to Section six of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act Chapter 96 of the Laws of Zambia.

In Mitigation,  Kafula pleaded with the court for leniency saying he was a married man and had children who would suffer if he is jailed.

"I will not repeat the act again," said Kafula who spoke in Bemba.

However,  Magistrate Lesa noted that the accused was a first offender and gave him a suspended sentence of 24 months.

Facts before the court are that Police officers found the accused with 51 rolls of marijuana at the time of  his arrest.

The suspended sentence means that he will serve the sentence at home and he should not commit any crime in the coming 24 months.

But Police officers on Wednesday arrested Kafula with the hope of taking him back to court to face the law again.

Police are arguing that the suspect must answer for the 6 kilograms he was found with, not the 6 grams he faced in court.
The marijuana which was found in
Kafula's house

"How was he tried in court for 6 grams of marijuana when the officers found him with 6 kilograms? What happened to the evidence the Police took to court?" said Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga in a telephone interview.

She argues that the case which was sent to the Police did not portray the actual facts the Police found in Kafula's house.

"Police weighed those drugs and it was 6 KGs, not the 6 grams which he was facing in court. So we have apprehended him and he will appear in the High Court tomorrow so that the case can be reviewed," said Mrs Katanga.

On 22 May, Police officers were tipped that Kafula was hiding Mwamba Siame also known as Mayweather, a top commander of the Tokota Boys gang who has been on the Police’s Most Wanted List for over a month.

However, Police officers did not find Mayweather, they ended up finding drugs and arresting Kafula.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Tokota Boys Gang Members Slapped With More Charges

Tokota Gang members leaving the Kitwe
Magistrates' Court after taking plea 
-Picture by Marilyn Rose








By Paul Shalala 

More charges have been filed against a number of suspected Tokota Boys gang members, two weeks after they were charged for grivious harm, unlawful wounding, abduction and poisoning.

On Monday, the de facto leader of the Tokota Boys gang Boniface Lubansa was slapped with a further charge of unlawful wounding, contrary to Section 232 A of the laws of Zambia. 

The 21 year old Lubansa, who is popularly known as Nigga Lu, has been jointly charged with two other Tokota Boys gang members. 

These are 23 year old Kingsley Ngoma and Wezzy Chilembo who is  aged 20.

The three appeared before Principal Resident Magistrate Chongo Musonda for allegedly assaulting Israel Chileshe on 27th February this year. 

They pleaded not guilty and their case has been adjourned to June 4 for commencement of trial.

On the same day, three other members of the gang were charged with raping a woman when they appeared before Kitwe Chief Resident Magistrate Yvonne Nalomba at the Kitwe Magistrates' Court. 

The three, who include 21 year old Richard Chileshe, Teddy Chilufya and Chris Kalenga who are both 20 years old, are separately charged for unlawfully having carnal knowledge of a woman in February this year.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges and the case was adjourned to June 11 for commencement of trial.

And in the main matter which came up on Monday, 19 Tokota Boys appeared for mention before Kitwe Chief Resident Magistrate Yvonne Nalomba where the state informed the court that the Director of Public Prosecutions has not yet issued instructions to commit them to the High Court.

Magistrate Nalomba later adjourned the matter to 11th June, 2018 for another mention.

The 19 suspected Tokota Boys are facing three charges of grievous harm, abduction or kidnapping and unlawful wounding and poisoning, charges which are only triable in the High Court. 

Their cases arose from a video where they allegedly assaulted a 16 year old of Mulenga Compound in April this year.

According to court records, the 19 Tokota Boys gang members are bus conductors, shopkeepers, pupils and unemployed youths from Kitwe, Ndola and Mufulira whose ages range from 15 to 34.

Meanwhile, trial in the case where the youngest member of the Tokota Boys gang is facing a single count of assault, failed to take off on Monday due to the absence of the minor's guardians.

When the case came up before Chief Resident Magistrate Yvonne Nalomba, the state presented the arresting officer as a witness but Magistrate Nalomba could not proceed with the case due to the absence of the boy’s guardians. 

The 15 year old boy is alleged to have assaulted Gift Mwale on 29th April this year.

Magistrate Nalomba has since adjourned the matter to 11th June for possible commencement of trial.

The 20 suspected Tokota Boys were ferried to the Kitwe Magistrates Court in four Police pickup trucks under heavy security.

Hundreds of Kitwe residents stood on either side of President Avenue to catch a glimpse of the notorious youths who have been brutalising residents for some time now.

The Tokota Boys are just one of the many gang members in Kitwe who are appearing in court on various criminal cases.

Other gang members from The Hundreds, 90 Niggas and Sons Of the Devil (SOD) gangs are all appearing in different courts on various charges such as idle and disorderly conduct, assault and theft.

Each of these gangs "control" several neighbourhoods of Kitwe where they beat up people and steal from them, especially at night.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Several Criminal Gangs "Take Over" Zambia's Second Largest City

Police Anti-Robbery officers lead 90 Niggas Gang member 
Martin Nkonde (in black shirt) to prison after being sentenced to five
years in jail for assault -Picture by Matthews Kabamba

By Paul Shalala

About seven teenage gangs have “over run’ Kitwe, Zambia’s second largest city, literally “taking over” several residential areas and brutalizing residents especially at night.

According to Wikipedia, Kitwe, which is a mining town in Zambia's mineral-rich Copperbelt Province, has the second largest population after Lusaka.

Several criminal gangs, which are composed of dozens of members, ambush and beat up Kitwe residents at night and grab whatever is found on them.

Police officers have been battling these gangs without much success.

In the past one year, over 200 gang members, mostly teenagers, have been arrested but this has not stopped the gangs from attracting more members.

These gang members have been taken to court and so far, only four convictions have been secured.

In some cases, complainants have abandoned the court process and suspects end up being released by the courts.

But which are these gangs?

Who leads them and where do they operate from? These are the questions this article seeks to answer.

This blogger has reported extensively on these gangs since 2015 and in this article, he shares what he has gathered so far.

Motivation

Like many other mining towns, Kitwe has a large population of miners both working within town and in nearby mining towns.

However, there are of course some youths who are not employed.

One school of thought believes that some of the gang members are unemployed youths who want to earn a living by stealing from their victims.

This could be true on the part of The Hundreds Gang whose members are above 18 years, these could be school leavers.

But it may not be true with Tokota Boys, 90 Niggas and Sons Of the Devil Gangs who have members as young as 15 years, school age boys who have nothing to do with employment.

These are boys who are in Grades seven to nine who are perhaps joining the gangs for prestige purposes.

The other school of thought thinks these are just criminal elements who are trying to earn a mark in society as "real men."

They could be trying to copy what "Jerabos" did in the past years.

Jerabos were illegal miners and shrewd businessmen who wrecked havoc on the Copperbelt and were untouchable by the Police.

People on the Copperbelt are of the view that the "success" of the Jerabos could be the motivating factor behind the mushrooming of gangs in Kitwe.

On the Copperbelt where money is hard to go buy as compared to Lusaka, being "Umupondo" (a thug) is considered the normal thing to do.

They call it hustling and these boys think being a thug, brutalising and stealing from people is normal. 

But another view is that recreational centers are slowly diminishing in various residential areas in Kitwe.

Where play parks used to be, today you will find houses, bars or car parks some of which were "legally" sanctioned by the Kitwe City Council. 

These are places where children in the past years spent their free time playing, but today these places are out of bounds to children.

These kids have nowhere to spend their free time from.

This is what some people think is the reason behind the spread of these gangs.

Sons Of the Devil 

The latest wave of teenage gangs in Kitwe can be traced back to 2015 when the Sons Of the Devil (SOD) gang started beating people in Bulangililo, Kamitondo and Kapoto areas.

In that year, over a dozen of SOD members were arrested and tried in court.

But because most of them were Primary and Junior Secondary School pupils, they were convicted and given suspended sentences.

Two years later, this criminal gang is back.

A number of its members have been nabbed and they are appearing before various courts on various charges.

Some of its senior leaders are being tried in the Kitwe High Court.

Radio Icengelo Senior Presenter Kunda Kunda, who has over the years reported extensively on criminal gangs, fail victim to the SOD gang when six of them beat him up last year.

Mr Kunda spent three months in hospital, recovering from the attack.

“I was walking with my wife and daughter from a funeral when I was attacked in November last year. Six SOD members attacked me, they beat me and left me for dead. Lucky enough I survived and in hospital, I had 12 stitches on my head,” said Mr Kunda as he showed this blogger the scars on his skull.

Despite what he went through, Mr Kunda still hosts live phone-in programs to discuss criminal gangs.

Tokota Boys 

The Tokota Boys gang is the most brutal, popular and most feared of them all.

The gang operates from Ndeke, Mulenga and other surrounding areas and sometimes straying into other gang members' “territory.”

Mayweather's profile on Facebook
Residents of Kitwe West, particularly in Kamakonde, have also reported that Tokota members occasionally harass workers at the health center to demand for condoms.

"We now knock off early from work for fear of these Tokota Boys and SOD who harass us for condoms, its too much," said one health worker.

And in Kalulushi, graffiti can be seen on walls where words like “Team Tokota” or “Tok Tok” have been written to confirm the presence of these boys.

The Tokota Boys has over a hundred members and seems well organized than others.

Its strength was confirmed on New Year’s Eve last year at the Mukuba Mall when its members clobbered SOD Gang members during the New Year countdown.

Bottles flew all over and patrons scampered in all directions as the two notorious gangs clashed.

Three weeks ago, a video showing the Tokota Boys brutally assaulting a 16 year old boy of Mulenga Compound went viral on social media.

The four minutes and 30 seconds video showed a helpless boy being beaten with a huge stick, stones and slaps.

A teenager wearing a head sock repeatedly beat and stoned the boy and later undressed him.

In the video, the helpless boy was seen defecating and later eating his own faeces.
 
As all this was happening, over 10 other Tokota Boys were watching and laughing at the torture.

As this was going on, Tokota Boys members kept singing “Walitwishiba Ifwe……. Tuli ba Tokota…….”

It was later learnt this song was done by a Kitwe-based rap group called 408 Empire whose music video for the song “Walitwishiba Ifwe” was released recently and uploaded on YouTube in March 2018. 

The song is now said to be the "anthem" for the gang.
Members of the 408 Empire music group

Interestingly, a number of Tokota Boys were featured in this music video and names of their “Commanders” like English Tolo (Wisdom Chilekwa) and their overall leader Nigga Lu (Boniface Lubansa) are all mentioned in the music video.

Some of these Tokota Boys “Commanders” have since been arrested by Police.

They are part of 20 suspected Tokota Boys rounded up over the past 10 days in an effort to stop the criminal gangs from getting out of hand.

19 of the suspects appeared at the Kitwe Magistrates' Court on 16 May, charged with grivious harm, abduction or kidnapping and unlawful wounding and poisoning.

Appearing before Kitwe Chief Resident Magistrate Yvonne Nalomba, the 19 identified themselves as pupils, shopkeepers and businessmen of Kitwe, Mufulira and Ndola.

Their ages ranged from 13 to 34 but most of them are 20 year olds. 

The three cases they are facing are only triable in the High Court and the Tokota Boys have been remanded at the Kamfinsa Correctional Facility (Prison) as they wait for the Director of Public Prosecutions to issue instructions to commit them to the Kitwe High Court.


The youngest of the Tokota Boys (whose names cant be revealed for ethical reasons), faces a separate charge of assaulting someone.

After appearing for the three charges he is jointly charged with 18 other Tokota Boys, the teenager remained alone to take plea for the assault case in which he pleaded not guilty.

The case was adjourned to a later date for trial.

Meanwhile, Police have instituted investigations into the "Walitwishiba Ifwe" music video especially that its lyrics supported the Tokota Boys and described some of their criminal acts.
Mayweather wearing a shirt 
written "Team Tokota"

“This music video borders on national security and 408 Empire is inciting the public to commit crimes. How do musicians sing how Tokota Boys cut off people’s heads in Chimwemwe, that’s criminal,” said Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga in an interview.

But one prominent Tokota Boy who was seen assaulting the teenager in the video is still at large.

Copperbelt Police Chief Charity Katanga says Mwamba Siame, who is popularly known in the gang as "Mayweather," has evaded capture by the Police for close to three weeks now.

In a Facebook posting a few days ago from his hiding place, Mayweather apologized to his mother for his “sin.”

However, his apology did not go well with his friends who insulted and described him as a coward.

There has been speculation that the leadership of the Tokota Boys had changed hands from Nigga Lu to Mayweather.

With the incarceration of Nigga Lu, it is not clear if Mayweather still calls the shorts in the gang from his hiding place.

In the past three weeks, Police officers have raided various places to "smoke out" the young man but those efforts have proved fruitless.

In one raid on a house in Kwacha Township, Police officers from Riverside Police Station ended up finding 50 rolls of cannabis in a suspected hiding place for Mayweather and picked up 28 year old Bright Tom Kafula who is popularly known as Kamasu.
Mayweather's apology to his mum on Facebook

Police suspect Kamasu to be a close friend of Mayweather who also supplies drugs to all criminal gangs in Kitwe.

He has been charged with trafficking in psychotropic substances and is expected to appear in court this week.

When this blogger used all efforts to enter the "not-so-safe" Mulenga Compound to locate the 16 year old victim of the Tokota Boys, the teenager called for justice in his case.

“Those people aimed at killing me. They did all that because they wanted to kill me. It is just by the will of God that am alive today,” said the boy who is a Grade nine pupil.

When asked whether the Tokota Boys beat him because he belongs to a rival group called The Hundreds or Ba Zale, the teenager refused saying he was beaten for demanding to be paid his salary for the piece work he does in Chamboli Compound where he molds bricks.

But in the video, one of the Tokota Boys was heard describing the teenager as a spy who killed people and deserves to go to jail.

As "Mayweather" continued beating the teenager in the video, he kept asking him if he belongs to Ba Zale.

On Facebook, most members of the Tokota Boys Gang have adopted the word "Tokota" at the end of their names to show their membership.

Under cover investigations in Ndeke compound have revealed that pupils in this area are now moving with bags on their back throughout the day to avoid being beaten by the gang.

Parents have revealed that Tokota Boys members always move with bags on their back and any teenager walking the streets without a bag is seen as an enemy, a target for assault and possibly a member of a rival gang.

This has sent shivers in the community and children who are not even aligned to this gang are now moving with bags as a precaution for their own safety.

90 Niggas 

In Buchi and Bulangililo Compounds, another teenage gang has sprung up and it is called the 90 Niggas Gang.

This one is composed of mostly teenagers from the age of 13 and the oldest is 18 years old.

13 of these boys were rounded up last month and charged for idle and disorderly conduct.

Since last month, the 13 ‘Niggas” have been appearing before Kitwe Magistrate Leonard Tembo and the case has now reached trial stage.

When they appeared for plea, all the boys pleaded not guilty.

They immediately applied for bail because most of them are in Grades Seven and Nine and are expected to write examinations at the end of the year.

Magistrate Tembo granted them K5,000 bail with two working surities each.

In a separate case, three suspected members of the 90 Niggas Gang appeared before Magistrate Tembo on 18 May on two counts of assaulting a neighbourhood watch officer of Mulenga Compound.

The three, 23 year old Martin Nkonde, 24 year old Fred Chipaila and 27 year old Martin Kafula where jointly charged on two counts of assaulting Richard Chitembo.

Magistrate Tembo sentenced Mr Nkonde to five years imprisonment with hard labour after he pleaded guilty to the first count but pleaded not guilty to the second charge.

His co-accused Mr Chipaila and Mr Kafula pleaded not guilty to both counts of assault and their matter was adjourned to June 4th, 2018 for commencement of trial.

The Hundreds

Another gang which is gaining prominence is The Hundred which is commonly known as Ba Zale.

This one is said to be based in Chamboli, Luangwa and Wusakile areas of Kitwe where it “rules” the night.

Last week, the group released a video in which it was torturing an alleged member of the Tokota Boys gang in revenge against the assault on the 16 year old teenager of Mulenga Compound.

In the video, a middle aged man is seen crying as he holds his clothes in his hands.

Just like in the Tokota video, the Zale members also undressed their victim and forced him to insult Tokota “Commanders.”

Nine gang members took part in the assault and seven have since been arrested by Police for assault occasioning bodily harm.

On 18 May, one of those arrested Elijah Sikazwe appeared in court.

He pleaded guilty to one count of assault and he confessed having assaulted Richard Chitembo who he suspected of being a member of the rival Tokota Boys gang.

Magistrate Leonard Tembo sentenced him to five years with hard labour. 

During the proceedings, State Prosecutor Sarah Mvula told the court that upon his apprehension, Elijah told officers at Wusakile Police Station that he was indeed a member of The Hundreds gang.


On Saturday, seven more members of The Hundreds gang were arrested by Police and they appeared in court this morning.

Two of them pleaded guilty to assault and they will be sentenced tomorrow.

Other Gangs

Other gangs operating in Kitwe are Buchi Boys, Boko Haram and Mbwambwambwa which is based in Musonda Compound.

These are little known and their activities have not yet reached the ears of the law enforcement agencies.

Public Reaction

The reaction to the arrest of the gang members has been overwelming.

On 16th May when the Tokota Boys appeared at the Kitwe Magistrates' Court, thousands of Kitwe residents lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the boys who have been terrorising the town.

As the Police truck (popularly known as Kasalanga) carrying the suspects made its way through the Central Business District of Kitwe, people danced and sung songs of joy to see their tormentors being brought to justice.

"Fipayeni fye ifyo (Just kill them,)," shouted one of the residents as four Police pick-ups carrying heavily armed Police officers escorted the Tokota Boys to court.

Two days earlier, President Edgar Lungu had directed the Zambia Police Service to ensure that the gangs are crushed.

This presidential directive led to the creation of a Security Taskforce which has led to many arrests and subsequent prosecutions.

Macky 2, arguably Zambia's leading rapper, has reacted to the mushrooming of gangs in Kitwe. 

The rapper, whose real names are Mulaza Kaira, hails from the Copperbelt and knows what is happening.

Below is what he posted on his Facebook page:
Macky 2


"TOKOTA or DOKOTA?

There's something wrong with our society today and if we don't address this now we are heading into a very dangerous future.

Where's happened to the society that produced doctors? Who is to blame when society begins to produce TOKOTA boys and not DOKOTA boys to save lives?

It is easy to look at the TOKOTA boys with disdain but we should be brave enough to look at the community where these boys are coming from. 

Most of these boys are coming from broken homes and in most cases they grew up knowing hate and violence as a way to survive. 

These kids are coming from a society where education is never celebrated. 

A society where thuggery is the key to success. These boys are a fruits of a broken society.... 

Change Begins With Us."