Zambia Shifts Ex-Leader to House Arrest

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Under international pressure to either free former President Kenneth D. Kaunda or put him on trial, Zambia’s government released him from prison Wednesday but put him under house arrest.

Kaunda was arrested Dec. 25, soon after returning from a trip abroad. Zambia accused the 73-year-old former leader of inciting an Oct. 28 coup attempt.

Kaunda arrived home in the capital, Lusaka, at dusk Wednesday after an 80-mile journey from prison. He was escorted by about 100 heavily armed police, said his son Wezi Kaunda.


Wezi Kaunda said his father did not accept the conditions imposed by President Frederick Chiluba in exchange for the release, including a ban on political activities, but was undecided how to protest them.

The United States, Britain, South Africa, Botswana, Libya and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) all have called for Kaunda to be put on trial or released.

Chiluba said Wednesday that he granted house arrest for Kaunda following appeals from former Tanzanian leader Julius K. Nyerere and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the OAU chairman.

Kaunda will be restricted to his home under a state of emergency enacted after the coup attempt. He will not be allowed to engage in politics, give interviews or issue media statements, Chiluba said.

Police will have complete access to Kaunda’s villa and determine who can visit.

“I hope he will cooperate because if he doesn’t, maybe we will be compelled to take him back,” Chiluba said.