THE State has discontinued the matter in which a UPND official Neto Halwabala was charged with seditious practice for allegedly saying President Edgar Lungu was a danger to Zambia’s stability. Halwabala, 41, who is Southern Province UPND information and publicity secretary, was in court on Wednesday for continued trail when the State prosecutors requested resident magistrate Willie Sinyangwe to stand down the matter for 15 minutes so that they could trace witnesses who include PF Southern Province chairperson Lawrence Evans.
When the court reconvened after three hours, a state prosecutor applied for the matter to be discontinued through a nolle proseque. The prosecutor said a written submission would be filed later. Halwabala’s defence counsel Malambo Haimbe of Malambo & Company did not object to the discontinuation of the matter but requested that their client be given back his mobile phone which was confiscated in June last year when he was arrested.
Magistrate Sinyangwe did not object to the application and ordered that the cell phone be handed back to Halwabala. Halwabala, who was arrested in June last year, appeared in court more than 10 times before trial commenced. Trail only commenced in October this year and two witnesses, a Daily Nation correspondent Andrew Mukoma and PF Livingstone Constituency chairperson Elias Mwila, testified against him. Halwabala of house number ME 199 Maramba township was charged with seditious practices contrary to section 57 (1) (b) of the penal code of the laws of Zambia.
The particulars of the offence were that on dates unknown but between February 23 and 24, 2017, in Livingstone, Halwabala did utter seditious words saying: ‘Zambia was no longer a safe country to live in because President Lungu was masquerading as Republican President. Lungu is a danger to our peace and national stability simply because he wants to destroy the democracy this country is built upon…no amount of intimidation from him will change the fact that he is not wanted by the Zambian people.”