LEADER of the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Kasonde Mwenda and 19 of his partisans have been remanded in custody by the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court for absenting themselves from Court.
Mwenda and his supporters have been delaying their prosecution for unlawful assembly as they have been taking turns to stay away from Court.
When the matter came up for plea, one of the accused was absent without justification and the sureties could not state why the accused was not present.
Magistrate Amy Masoja was forced to revoke police bond for Mwenda and his followers and remanded them in custody as punishment for trivialising the Court proceedings.
She directed that the demonstrators will be detained until they provide two working sureties each, unlike relying on the surety who secured their police bond.
The court adjourned the matter to June 26 for plea.
Mwenda, who is also indicted for escaping from lawful custody, orchestrated a demonstration against the awarding of a tender to Micro Ocean Consortium for the construction of the Ndola-Lusaka dual carriage way.
The EFF leader who had notified the police about his party’s intent to carry out a demonstration on March 10, 2023, did not indicate the route they would use to manoeuvre from civic center to the Boma local Court to avoid disturbing traffic and breaching peace.
Failure to give information to the police officers and proceeding with the protest Mwenda and his partisans attracted criminal offences and booked themselves free accommodation in a police cell at Lusaka central police.
Instead of showing leadership and braving the cold floor of the cells together with his rebels Mwenda put up a cowardice show when he escaped from lawful custody and took to his heels.
The EFF leader is jointly charged with George Mumbi, Zenis Daka, Bwembya Mubanga, Bale Suzo, Ibrahim Mwamba, Joseph Lungu, Danny Kalenga, Nathan Kamau, Gift Nguni, Jeff Filamba and Thomas Mvula.
Others are; Nkole Mubanga, Changala Siame, Astone Mwanza, Bwalya Katongo, Victor Malauni, Coaster Museke, Collins Munyinda, Moses Nyirenda, Beatrice Pilo and Gilbert Njobvu.
By Mwaka Ndawa
Kabemba June 19, 2023.