THE State has removed the aggravated robbery charge slapped on UPND deputy secretary general – politics Patrick Mucheleka and three others, and replaced it malicious damage.
Meanwhile, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has complained that PF cadres have more freedom that other citizens when it should not be the case.
The four who had been detained at Milima Correctional Facility since September 17 this year were yesterday morning discharged on instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The State has also amended the indictment to include a fifth person, Kelvin Bwalya, 28 of Chisenga village who has also been in police custody since his arrest in September.
He joins Mucheleka, Elias Mubanga, Samuel Ngwira and Chishimba Bwalya who all now face one count of causing malicious damage to property of the Republic of Zambia worth K83,097.
Facts of the matter are that the five jointly and willfully damaged two typewriters and a printer, property of GRZ valued at K83,097 in Kasama district, Northern Province.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charge, and the court has set November 26 and 27 as trial dates.
Earlier, defence lawyer Mulambo Haimbe applied for bail immediately the non-bailable charge was discharged.
He pleaded with the court to set favourable bail conditions to reduce the number of detainees in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The State on the other hand did not object to the application, but prayed that the court would ensure that the accused did not jump bail.
And in thanking the State for not raising any objections, Haimbe said there was no need for them to be seen to be determining bail conditions, as it remained the preserve of the court.
The accused have since been granted cash bail of K10,000 in their own cognisance, with two working sureties resident in Kasama.
And commenting on how PF cadres in Mpika attacked him and his entourage in full view of the police, Hichilema wondered where the country was going.
“As usual, PF thugs have attacked us here in Mpika, Muchinga Province in full view of the police. But we are stronger than ever before and our struggle is for them to start having decent meals a day. Instead of protecting us, since we were simply passing by Mpika on a public road, the police just stood by as the PF thugs came our way,” posted Hichilema on his Facebook page. “When we are in government next year, we will end this lawlessness and give these abused, jobless PF cadres and other decent youths meaningful jobs and business opportunities as opposed to buying them junta or konyagi beer with instructions to attack those with divergent views.To the true PF and other youths out there and currently with no jobs nor business opportunities, we say: Don’t accept to be used by the corrupt who have failed to provide you with necessary survival skills because they have no plans for you. To those who thrive on violence and rule by the fist and not democracy, we say: Do not attack us but attack our vision and ideas because this time around we will defend both the people’s rights, life and also our vision for the country.