A PATRIOTIC Front (PF) Councillor in Luanshya has been burnt to death after his bedroom caught fire in the early hours of yesterday in suspicious circumstances.
Police have not ruled out foul play as they investigate the death of Mpatamatu ward 17 councillor Hured Nkhata, aged 37.
Copperbelt police commissioner Mary Tembo confirmed the incident.
“We are still investigating the matter to establish the cause of the fire,” Ms Tembo said.
Luanshya district commissioner Harold Mbaulu said the incident happened at Mr Nkhata’s house number 129, section 22 in Mpatamatu.
He was believed to have been home alone as his wife was away in Lusaka to take the children for the school holiday.
“We suspect he got burnt and suffocated because there was no power in Mpatamatu almost the whole of last night. Only the bedroom was burnt and the rest of the rooms are intact,” Mr Mbaulu said.
Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge, who visited the funeral house yesterday, said Mr Nkhata’s death is a great loss to the party because he played a pivotal role in securing victory for the PF in Luanshya.
He appealed to the bereaved family to be patient and wait for police to conclude investigations.
Mr Nkhata’s neighbour, Kahilu Zyani, narrated that he heard him screaming around 01:50 hours.
“We broke the window panes and forced the door to his bedroom open and when we tried to rescue him, we found that he had been burnt but the mattress he was sleeping on was intact. A defective television and fridge were on fire,” Mr Zyani said.
He said he rushed Mr Nkhata to Roan General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Luanshya mayor Nathan Chanda also confirmed Mr Nkhata’s death in a statement issued in Ndola yesterday.
Mr Chanda said Mr Nkhata was a teacher at Suzika Primary School in Mpatamatu.
He said Mr Nkhata died of suspected suffocation and burns.
“Councillor Nkhata died in the early hours of this morning [yesterday] of suffocation and burns,” Mr Chanda said.
“The council has lost a team player who was very focused and left no stone unturned in ensuring that there was transparency and accountability in all council operations,” Mr Chanda said.