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14 Oct, 19 tweets, 3 min read
After Years of Secrecy, Massive State House Tunnels Unveiled

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There can’t be too many days when you start work climbing down a ladder, with a government spy, into a dingy underground shaft in search of a torture chamber.
This was how the meandering road of journalism took aLusaka based, Zambian reporter into tunnels and bunkers deep beneath Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, on a sunny day in September 1995.
A few hours earlier the journalist had been sitting at the presidential palace with the diminutive former President Frederick Chiluba.
FTJ assured the jpurnalist, with his peculiar trademark expression of rolling his eyes so all you could see was their whites, that he would see shocking evidence of torture in the days of his predecessor Kenneth Kaunda.
At the time, KK had been a thorn in the side of FTJ and was staging a political comeback. To give Chiluba his due, the union leader had ousted Kaunda, fair and square, at elections on a wave of votes of people fed up with food shortages and autocratic tendencies from the old man.
It ended Kaunda’s 27-year reign since the day Zambia won independence on October 24, 1964. KK was determined to fight back at the 1996 elections and was going to wring out every bit of popularity he had as well as making a nuisance of himself to the people in power.
President Frederick Chiluba, winner of elections in 1991 that ended 27 years of authoritarian rule by President Kenneth Kaunda, claims the bunkers were used to imprison and torture Kaunda’s opponents.
Reporters taken on the tour saw an elaborate network of tunnels and chambers, equipped with luxury living quarters and a cache of weapons, but no evidence of torture.
Kaunda, who was trying to return to power in elections the next year, 1996,and other opposition groups had accused Chiluba of compromising national security by opening the bunkers.
They said the government’s revelations were intended to portray Kaunda as a brutal, paranoid and power-crazed leader who squandered his impoverished nation’s resources on whims.
The bunkers were constructed between 1974 and 1976 by engineers sent by Yugoslav leader Josef Broz Tito
A built-in wardrobe, yielding to a gentle tap, folded away to reveal a darkened tunnel leading into a bomb-proofed labyrinth equipped with living quarters, a broadcasting station, meeting rooms and a cache of weapons.
One bunker lies five levels by elevator beneath the presidential palace. The other is a seven-level basement tucked under a hill four miles away in eastern Lusaka.
Former security officials loyal to Kaunda said the facilities were built at a time when he gave refuge to guerrillas fighting to overthrow the white governments of Namibia, South Africa and the former Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
Rhodesian commandos attacked guerrilla camps and safe houses in Zambia and Zimbabwean Vice President Joshua Nkomo, then head of a guerrilla army, used one of the bunkers after an assassination attempt in 1978.
In a statement Chiluba reacted sharply by saying he decided to open up the state secrets because there was strong and harrowing testimonies made by torture victims.
However, no evidence of torture chambers was found
Source- APNews, ForbesAfrica, Mwebantu

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