Court dismisses Munirs request to quash seditious charges for duplicity

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THE Lusaka Magistrates Court has thrown out an application by Lumezi Constituency member of parliament Munir Zulu asking the State to kiss-off some of his seditious charges which have been duplicated.

Zulu wanted the State to choose one count on which it will try him.

In this case the law maker is charged with three counts of seditious practices.

It is alleged that Zulu between May 25 and May 27, 2024 accused President Hakainde Hichilema of instructing the Inspector general of police and the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security to wipe him out together with others unknown, in order to raise discontent or disaffection among the people of Zambia.

Zulu is said to have declared Eastern province a no-go area and danger zone for Southerners in attempts an act said to promote feelings of ill will or hostility between different communities
or different parts of a community.

He allegedly said that in an event that he was killed, his offspring would avenge his death, as an attack on one person was an attack on all, with an aim to raise discontent or disaffection among the people of Zambia.

Before witnesses could testify in the case yesterday, Zulu’s lawyer Mcqueen Zaza submitted before magistrate Faidess Hamaundu that the charge sheet was bad for duplicity.

Zaza said the charges pressed against Zulu stem from the same facts when he uttered the alleged remarks at Cresta lodge in Ibex Hill on May 26 and not the wrong dates cited by the State.

He said Zulu returned from Rwanda on May 25 and made the alleged utterances on May 26.

“Your honor these offenses slapped on the accused stem from the same facts, same incident and facts, they arose on the 26th of May, 2024, at a lodge called cresta in Ibex Hill. There’s duplicity in the way these charges were formulated,”he said.

“Duplicity arises when a single count charges two or more distinct offences or when multiple counts charge the same offence from the same facts. When we look at the charge sheet we will find the same offence has been charged for two counts.”

He wondered how Zulu will defend himself on duplicated charges.

“These counts were preferred in total breach of Section 134 to 137 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The purposes of the cited Sections, is to afford an accused person an opportunity for understanding the charges and be able to defend himself, in line with Article 18 of the constitution for a fair trial,” Zaza said.

“It is our humble prayer that these counts be dismissed as they are bad for dublicity, or the State can choose one of the counts they want the accused person tried with.”

In response, State advocate Susan Bess argued that the charges were not duplicated.

She said Zaza had misdirected himself as the charges had different particulars of the offense which Zulu committed on different dates.

“The law is settled on what amounts to duplicity of counts and riding on the Shamwana versus the people case, in relation to charges, duplicity means charging two or more separate charges on the same fact,” Besa said.

“Duplicity of counts is distinguished from multiplicity of counts which entails having several counts arising from the same offence. In this case, there is no duplicity nor multiplicity of counts.”

She said even though the facts in count one and two arise from one incident, each count exhibits a different intention as the various words ultered by Zulu amount to two different offences.

“We implore the court to dismiss the application,” said Besa.

Ruling on the application, magistrate Hamaundu said there was no two fold increase on the charges.

“There is only one offense alleged in each charge and the question alleging duplicity does not arise. The application is refused,”said magistrate Hamaundu.

By Mwaka Ndawa

Kalemba June 18, 2024.

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