Trial for the four Barotse treason accused failed to take off in the Kabwe High Court today as the defence lawyer Humphrey Mweemba from Legal aid board was not in court while the new lawyer requested for time to study the matter properly. The matter will now come up on Thursday.
Afumba Mombotwa, Sylvester Kalima Inambao, Likando Pelekelo and Paul Masiye Masiyaleti who are being held in a filthy jail cell at the notorious Mukobeko maximum security prison are charged with treason and by Zambian law, if found guilty they will be hanged to death.
When the matter was called before Judge in charge Dominic Sichinga, the lawyer notified the court that the lead defence lawyer was not before court and applied for an adjournment to enable her study the case properly.
The state had no objection and the court made the adjournment, the accused were later taken to a holding cell before being driven out to Mukobeko amid tight security. Several relatives and well wishers have travelled from far places to come and hear the case.
Zambia has not had any treason case since 1998 after an army officer Stephen Lungu alias captain and other senior officers overthrew then president Fredrick Chiluba citing bad leadership and corruption as reasons for the military takeover. The coup which lasted close to eight hours was later crashed as some soldiers drew cold feet, leaving the main architects arrested and detained at the same Mukobeko maximum security prison.