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HH, GBM defence not ready

MR Hichilema and his running mate Geoffrey Mwamba.

THE trial of United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema and his vice-president for administration Geoffrey Mwamba for alleged seditious practices and unlawful assembly failed to take off for the second consecutive day in the Luanshya magistrates’ court yesterday because the defence is still not ready.
The case was adjourned for the second time in two days after lawyer Nellie Mutti asked for more time to study the matter because she had just joined the defence team.
Ms Mutti told Ndola chief resident magistrate John Mbuzi, who was sitting in Luanshya, that she needed to study the indictment and also receive instructions from her clients on how to proceed with the matter.
“Your honour, I just joined the defence team. I need time to prepare the defence as failure to do so will be misconduct on my profession. I therefore seek the indulgence of the court to enable me get full instructions from my clients and also study the indictment. I therefore seek the indulgence of this court to adjourn the matter,” she said.
Earlier, another defence lawyer, Mulilo Kabesha, complained that the alleged harassment on their clients by Zambia Police Service officers in the district has continued.
Mr Kabesha said the police have continued harassing Hichilema and Mwamba despite the court ordering earlier that they be allowed to freely move around the district.
But acting deputy chief state advocate Nkumbwiza Mumba informed the court that she had talked to the police command in Luanshya about Tuesday’s alleged live fire incidence and was assured that nothing of that sort had happened.
Ms Mumba, however, told Mr Mbuzi that she would make arrangements to bring the police commanding officer for Luanshya to the next court sitting to testify on what transpired.
Mr Mbuzi adjourned the matter to March 22 this year.
Hichilema and Mwamba are both on police bond.

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