Police deny assaulting UPND cadres

Police deny assaulting UPND cadres

According to the police, this never happened

Two police officers have denied assaulting any person while on duty during the  demonstration by United Party for National Development (UPND) youths on June 6 this year.

The duo who today appeared before Lusaka Magistrate Lameck Ng’ambi, told court that when they went to the scene to stop the confusion
caused by the UPND cadres, they were not armed and didn’t beat any person that took part in the demonstration.

The five accused persons are Aaron Pumulo, Joseph Mazonda, Lemmy Mukoba, Patrick Ntalasha and Newton Chisuntu.

Trial in the matter in which five UPND youths are facing one count of idling and disorderly conduct likely to cause a breach of peace begun
today with the state presenting six witnesses.

First witness in the case Inspector Patrick Tembo of Emasadale police station told court that on June 6, this year he received a call from
an informer notifying the police of the alleged demonstration which could cause disturbance in the area where it was being staged.

He further proceeded and told court that however upon hearing that news he took it upon himself to summon other police officers together
with him to go and see what was happening.

Inspector Tembo said after accessing the number of staff at Emmasdale police he decided to pick only two officers from there and picked
three other police officers from Central police so that they could go and monitor the situation as notified by the informer earlier in the
morning.

Inspector Tembo however narrated to court part of the shocking behaviour that he saw from one of the accused persons, Lemmy Mukoba.

“Your honour can you imagine when I tried to reason with this man I saw him as a ring leader he removed his manhood and started urinating
on the road,” he said.

He told court that upon reaching Addis Ababa drive, the police officers noticed that traffic was not moving therefore they decided to
disembark from their police van and walked towards the junction where the mob of cadres were.

He said before the police could reach Lagos road they found a group of people chanting with placards, others sleeping on the road as the
other group blocked the road with tyres refusing motorist from using the road.

“This situation caused panic among motorists who intended to use the road as they resorted to using the pavement going back because the
road was blocked and they feared for their safety,” said Inspector
Tembo.

Inspector Tembo further said the reaction by the demonstrators forced the police to arrest some of the cadres so that peace could be
restored.

In cross examination defence lawyers had a tough time with the witness as the witness insisted that the police did not assault anyone despite
being showed some of the pictures that where published by the media following the same event.

Defence lawyer Keith Mweemba presented pictures of people that were injured and further asked Inspector Tembo if at all the police was
aware that during the day in question, some people where assaulted adding that some police officers were captured beating UPND cadres.

In response, Inspector Tembo told the court that he was not aware of people that were injured or beaten by police as he did not see any
armed police officer at the scene.

This response however prompted defence counsel Mweemba to ask Inspector Tembo if at all he was aware of his constitution rights such
as freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Inspector Tembo who looked infuriated by the defence counsels question told court that he was aware of his constitutional rights but had not
come to answer to such questions but the matter at hand.

And another witness told court that the police arrested the five accused persons because of their disorderly conduct which caused
confusion and disturbance to motorists and other road users by blocking the road.

Constable Erick Nguni told the court that because policemen were out numbered by the crowd at the scene, they only managed to apprehend
five people.

The witness later presented to court two old tyres as evidence of what was used to block the road.

However defence lawyer Keith Mweemba told the witness to clarify from who in particular the police confiscated tyres from but the witness
failed to state clearly if the tyres were found in custody of the five accused persons.

In addition defence lawyers asked the witness to present documented evidence of the event to prove to court that the police did not injure
anyone.

Constable Nguni however asked Magistrate Ngambi to guide the lawyers as one of his duties as a police officer did not include that of
carrying a camera to record events.

In his ruling Magistrate Ngambi told defence lawyers to stick to the matter and not ask things that did not border on the case at hand.

In closing the Examination to the witness defence lawyers asked the witness, “As police officers who gave you the directive to arrest or
beat up these accused persons before court?”

In response Constable Nguni told court that as police they did not have to wait for instructions for them to restore order but act
accordingly.

After almost having a half day of trial on the matter with only two witnesses, Magistrate Ngambi decided to adjourn the matter to August
16, for continued trial in the matter as state brings in four more witnesses.

Particulars of the offence are that Pumulo, Mazonda, Mukoba and Chisuntu jointly and whilst acting together with other people unknown
conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace by blocking roads at the junction of Lagos road and Addis Ababa drive in
Lusaka.

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