An arresting officer in the case were UPND deputy chairperson for youth and sport Michael Chuzu is charged with seditious practices on Friday failed to quote a passage in the penal code and constitution that state that failing to recognise a president is an offence.
Chuzu is charged with one count of seditious practices contrary to section 57(1)(b) of the penal code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the charge are that on September 26, 2016, in Chipata, Chuzu, with intent to raise discontent among people of Zambia, seditiously uttered and published a seditious publication concerning the government of the Republic of Zambia containing the following words, The position of the party, UPND, including me, the national management met on Saturday and our position is that we do not recognise Edgar as a duly elected, so for us at the moment, we do not
have a president,”
Chuzu is alleged to have issued the statement on Chipata TV.
Testifying in the same matter, chief inspector Kenneth Chihana, who is the arresting officer, explained how he arrested Chuzu and how he
obtained footage from Chipata TV containing what the accused is alleged to have uttered.
But in cross-examination by defence lawyer Zevyanji Sinkala of Mleza Mwiimbu and company, chief inspector Chihana could not specifically refer to any article in the penal code and constitution which stipulates that failure to recognise a leader was an offence although he insisted that Chuzu committed an offence.
Sinkala told the arresting officer that he could take his time to peruse the two documents because as a defence counsel, he was in Chipata for the same case the whole day.
Asked whether he had heard UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and other UPND members saying they do not recognise President Lungu, chief
inspector Chihana answered in the affirmative.
When asked why he did not arrest HH, chief inspector Chihana said he could not do so because he stays very far.
Sinkala wondered why chief inspector Chihana could not travel to Lusaka to arrest HH and GBM the way he did with Chuzu.
He told the arresting officer that he was discriminatory by only arresting Chuzu for saying things that many others in the UPND had said.
Sinkala wondered why chief inspector Chihana could not also arrest UPND MPs who walked out of Parliament when President Lungu was addressing Parliament because they did not recognise him.
Chief inspector Chihana said he did not get superior orders to charge and arrest Chuzu of the current office but admitted that he was detailed by then officer-in-charge Christopher Kanema to investigate the matter on November 8, 2016.
When asked whether he was aware that the Constitutional Court had not declared President Lungu as a duly elected President, chief inspector
Chihana said he does not know.
Asked whether he had heard some people saying they do not recognise President Lungu, chief inspector Chihana said he had heard.
Asked further whether he obtained a script from Chipata TV containing what was read on that particular day, chief inspector Chihana said it was not necessary although Sinkala emphasised that it was very important in the matter.
Sinkala informed the court that he would write submissions before the matter comes up for ruling on May 24, 2018.
Chipata TV reporters that include Enala Phiri, Sera Mathotho and Iris Mwale also testified in this matter that is before magistrate Philip Mpundu. Chuzu was jointly charged with Chipata TV news editor Iris Mwale, who was released through a nolle prosequi.