The trial in which UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema is charged with publishing alarming statements failed to take off Monday due to police brutality on UPND supporters and harassment of Hichilema’s lawyers.
Police and PF cadres prevented Hichilema’s lawyers from entering court for close to an hour while party supporters were harassed and others beaten up. Ordinary citizens were prevented from entering court premises as police in conjunction with PF cadres accused anyone trying to enter court of being a UPND supporter.
When they were eventually allowed to enter the court after physically hassling with police and PF cadres, lawyers asked the court to adjourn the case saying they were psychologically affected and could not represent their client well.
Lawyers Sakwiba Sikota, Martha Mushipe, Jack Mwiimbu and Keith Mweemba took turns to condemn the action and said they were not psychologically ready to proceed amid such unprecedented levels of intimidation.
Hichilema is alleged to have said PF was training party militia men in Sudan to cause havoc in the country
Hundreds of heavily armed police and PF cadres were deployed and soon after Hichilema entered the court premises around 08:30hrs, they blocked the gate and denied any person access to the premises, people coming for other cases were also affected as they were suspected to be Hichilema’s sympathizers.
Magistrate Chulu accepted the lawyers’ complaints and adjourned the matter to 15th and 16th of June for continued trial.
After the court session hundreds of supporters who had camped outside the court praised the UPND leader as he drove out in a convoy.
Party cadres and ordinary citizens chanted slogans of ‘we want change, we want change’ as HH waved at them.
Among the people that were summoned as today’s witnesses are Wynter Kabimba himself, ZNBC Director of News Kenneth Maduma, and others.
Kabimba was accompanied by PF thugs Lusaka province chairman Geoffrey Chuumbwe and Lusaka province youth chairman Kennedy Nkamba who were completely overshadowed in the fully packed courtroom.