PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
THREE witnesses yesterday told the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court that United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema showered them with provocative and injurious insults.
And the court has thrown out an application by the defence team to reject a nolle prosequi by the State in count two in which Hichilema and five others are jointly charged with disobedience of lawful orders.
This was after principal State advocate Gamaliel Zimba informed the court that the State had entered a nolle prosequi in count two.
However, the defence team rejected the nolle prosequi saying the prosecution team should allow the accused persons to face trial so that they can be acquitted.
But in a ruling, magistrate Greenwell Malumani rejected the application and allowed the State’s decision to enter the nolle prosequi in the matter.
“It is my view that the current position of the law is that a trial court cannot question the powers of the DPP. State advocates can carry out the duties of the DPP by delegation. Notwithstanding the objection by the defence, I have difficulties ruling otherwise.
“I have no option but to allow the nolle prosequi and to discharge the accused persons accordingly. We shall now proceed with count three which is the only charge left,” magistrate Malumani said.
And when trial in the use of insulting language case started, Lilayi Police College assistant superintendent Martin Musambachime said on April 11 this year, he was at police headquarters when he received intelligence information that some people were planning to cause confusion to officers who had gone to arrest Hichilema at his house.
“I and assistant police commissioner Patson Mukomungo had a chat with HH’s lawyers and informed them why they were there. Mr Hichilema’s lawyers promised that they were going to avail him to us around 11:00 hours. Mr Hichilema came out of the house with his family members. When he moved closer, he insulted us,” he said.
Mr Musambachime said Hichilema repeatedly insulted the officers, the situation which angered them.
“At this point after he had calmed down, we picked up Mr Hichilema and took him to Woodlands, after which we went to Lilayi where he was formally arrested,” he said.
Another witness, chief inspector Henry Mulungisha, narrated that he and other officers were insulted in full view of Hichilema’s lawyers.
“It was on 11th April, 2017, when I was assigned with intelligence officers, namely Musamba, Mbita, Hamweene to go to Mr Hichilema’s house after receiving information that some people were planning to cause confusion to police officers who went to arrest HH. Around 11:00 hours, we found police officers and lawyers, among them Jack Mwiimbu, Nelly Mutti and Martha Mushipe,” Mr Mulungisha said.
He said Mr Musambachime cautioned Hichilema to stop using insulting language.
Mr Mulungisha said Hichilema was later asked to get on a police vehicle but he refused saying he was going to use his own.
Meanwhile, another State witness Mpazi Mbiti told the court that one of Hichilema’s lawyers, Martha Mushipe, wanted to beat him as she took a position of wanting to throw punches at him.
“Your honour, we were upset and provoked, but we had to restrain ourselves because there was going to be chaos and it would have resulted into breach of peace,” Mr Mbiti said.
Mr Mbiti said he made a formal complaint at Kabwata Police Station in form of a report concerning the incident at Hichilema’s residence.
Magistrate Malumani adjourned the matter to today for continued trial.