Harassment of journalists by the PF regime has continued unabated. Today, Tuesday May 6, government coerced a terminally ill person to testify against Kabwe based journalist Wilson Pondamali.
Pondamali appeared before magistrate Shiwanga to answer trumped up charges of theft of a library book and unlawful possession of military pamphlets. The real reason is the PF government officials suspect that Pondamali is one of the people operating Zambian Watchdog which has made lying difficult for them.
In court today, Pondamali’s persecutors called one Grace Wina, a worker at the council library to testify. Grace, who depends on government support for her life prolonging drugs, claimed in court that she is the librarian and has worked at the library for 18 years.
The fact is that she joined the council as a clerk and the substantive librarian is a Mrs. Kunda who refused to testify because loss of library books was dealt with administratively and she had information that the book in question was discarded and as such no longer a property of the library.
Wina, however admitted that the library does discard books when they are not so much of use to the public. She said book was brought in the council library in 1972 and she discovered during a random check that it was missing in 2012.
In cross examination by Pondamali’s lawyers Mulilo Kabesha and Collins Chizawu, she said she did not report the matter because it was against the procedure. She said there was no complainant in the matter, and admitted that the first page where the ‘discard’ stamp is placed was removed from the book.
Then came another witness Detective Chief inspector Benard Kamukwamba. He told court that he was assigned to search Pondamali’s house for seditious materials after a tip that he had them on the laptop.
The laptop and desk top computers are still with the state since July 2013 being ‘screened’ for the same seditious materials.
This is the same foolish cop who displayed high stupidity levels in the other charges of attempted escape and malicious damage of which IPondamali was acquitted. His other colleagues Kosamu and Nzhibwe could not even go to court.
In cross examination, asked what seditious materials are, he said he doesn’t know and that he was not the dealing officer. He said the case officer was a Mr. Mbewe who at that time was DCIO. On military pamphlets, he lied again that they called a soldier witness from Chindwin Barracks to identify the books, the soldier according to him has since been transferred to Chirundu.
Other witnesses who were supposed to come failed to come and the state had no concrete excuse for their not coming. Matter adjourned to 10th June for continued trial, four more witnesses to be called by the state.