REPUBLICAN Progressive Party leader James Lukuku yesterday shed tears of joy after the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court restored his police bond.
The opposition leader, in handcuffs, was escorted to chief resident magistrate Lameck Mwale’s court for return of the warrant of arrest issued against him for missing court appearance on two occasions.
But the court gave Lukuku a benefit of the doubt and quashed the bench warrant that was issued against him upon hearing his explanation.
On Monday, September 16, Lukuku was remanded in custody after his arrest on September 12.
When the matter was called, magistrate Lameck Mwale asked the RPP leader to show cause why his police bond should not be revoked for absconding court without an explanation.
In his explanation, Lukuku told the court that he did not know that the matter was coming up on September 6 as he thought it was scheduled for September 13.
When asked why he was not before court on September 13, he said that he was in detention adding that he learnt from s ZNBC news segment that a bench warrant had been issued against him.
He said when the warrant was issued, he went to the Legal Aid Board to consult his advocate by the name of James, who explained to him that there was a difference between a bench warrant and a warrant of arrest, causing him to get confused.
“I never intended to deceive you my judge, from my heart, I have been consistent with coming to court since the matter started I even cross examined the witnesses on my own, my action did not amount to contempt of court, I just got a wrong date,” Lukuku explained.
When asked about his lawyer, Mulambo Haimbe, who he recently issued instructions to represent him, Lukuku said he was advised that some lawyers would represent him but the advocates he appointed in his personal capacity were from the Legal Aid Board.
Magistrate Mwale cancelled Lukuku’s bench warrant and warned him not to miss court sessions.
“In view of the explanation, I give the accused a benefit of doubt and maintain his police bond make sure you get the correct dates” said Magistrate Mwale.
At this point, the opposition leader broke down as a way of showing gratitude.
Allegations in the matter are that Lukuku, between November 1 and 5, 2018, uttered a seditious speech titled ‘Kitwe riots against China are welcome, let us multiply these riots a million fold’ in a statement that was circulated to five WhatsApp groups.
Lukuku is also alleged to have uttered words and published writing expressing and showing hatred for Chinese nationals because of their race, place of origin when he issued the statement in which he called for people to protest against the Chinese dominance in Zambia.
Speaking to the media Lukuku said he saw the hand of God in the restoration of his police bond as it was not expected.
He also vowed never to miss court sessions.
“I prayed the whole night, God has answered my prayer. I never deserved it. I will comply with court procedure. I am a law-abiding citizen. It was so disturbing, it made an impression like I was trying to run away from justice. Never will I be a person to run away from justice. We must respect the statutory instruments that we have set. I will follow procedure until the end of my case,” vowed Lukuku.
The matter comes up on September 24.