Magistrate acquits UPND cadres accused of rioting at Lusaka High Court grounds

SIX UPND cadres who were accused of rioting at High Court grounds during hearing of the election petition in December 2016 have been acquitted on no case to answer stage.

Remmy Mukoba, Evans Malunga, Kings Lumano, Clement Berejana, Maunga Polika and Cloud Bwalya were in court for rioting and malicious damage to property.

They pleaded not guilty to both counts and five prosecution witnesses testified against them.

When the matter came up today for ruling on whether they had a case to answer or not, Lusaka resident magistrate Felix Kaoma said the evidence that seemed to implicate the accused was discredited such that no reasonable tribunal could safely convict on it in the absence of any explanation.

He said a police witness, inspector Alfred Mwale, in his evidence in chief implicated Mukoba, Polika, and Bwalya in count one but that in examination-in-chief, he said he apprehended the trio from a group of UPND cadres who were rioting after pursuing them from the Supreme Court ground through to the High Court and that one of the accused was found standing.

He said there was a serious contradiction with his evidence-in-chief, further that it was extremely difficult to comprehend that in one breath, the accused were running after being pursued by officers and in the other breath, they were found standing.

“It is clear to me that the prosecution have failed to discharge their obligation to the requisite standard against all the six accused persons and as such I have no choice but to acquit all of them of the two counts as charged under section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” ruled magistrate Kaoma.

The allegation in the first count was that Mukoba and five others on December 15, 2016 in Lusaka jointly and whilst acting together with others unknown unlawfully took part in a riot.

Count two alleged that the six on the same day wilfully and unlawfully damaged a windscreen of a Toyota corolla registration No. GRZ 268 CJ, a filing cabinet, a light fitting and one 1.6m x 0.85m window pane valued at K70, 200, the property of the government of Republic of Zambia.

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