We are broke, can't commence Munyinda Munukayumbwa's trial - Zambian State

29 October 2019
Author  Grace Njekwa, Barotseland Post Correspondent
FILE: (L-R) Munyinda Munukayumbwa, Ngambela Mukela Manyando - CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

The Kaoma Magistrates' Court on Monday adjourned the matter in which 25-year-old Barotseland activist Munyinda Munukayumbwa,  is facing four counts of libel.

Kaoma senior resident magistrate Chrispin Hampungani adjourned the matter to November 26 and 27 for continued trial, after State witnesses failed to travel from Lusaka to Kaoma due to logistical challenges.

Munukayumbwa, who was composed as magistrate Hampungani announced the adjournment in a packed courtroom, is being represented by Mr Victor Kachaka of ICN Legal Practitioners.

Magistrate Chrispin Hampungani ordered the state to ensure all witnesses are brought before the court on the agreed dates.

Counsel Kachaka echoed the magistrate's stance so that there shall be no more delays in the matter.

Munyinda has been slapped with four counts of libel contrary to the laws of Zambia.

The charges are all connected to his Facebook postings earlier in the year (April) which were considered defamatory to the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and or the Litunga.

But impeccable sources disclosed that the adjournments were because the four charges were baseless and aimed to instil fear in Munukayumbwa.

The sources expressed displeasure at how the BRE was conducting itself and wondered if they, as complainants,  will ever stand in the dock to testify.

Munyinda was arrested on Tuesday, 14th May 2019, after a police call-out at Mongu police station where he was reportedly interrogated for over three (3) hours by Police officers from Lusaka and Mongu Central Police.

After detaining him at Kambule remand prison for over two weeks without charge or trial, the Zambian state then charged him with the charge of ‘promoting tribal war’ contrary to section 46 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, the first time such a charge was ever slapped on any Barotse activist.

However, when he appeared in the Kaoma magistrate court on 25th July 2019 for possible commencement of trial, Munnyinda (25) learnt that his charge had been changed to ‘criminal libel’ on four counts, but all related to some Facebook articles he allegedly authored or caused to author on a Facebook page titled Barotseland Watchdog.

Munyinda was then asked to take a fresh plea to the new charges and his case adjourned repeatedly for one reason or another.

The Zambian state has often arrested Barotse people and then look for what charges to slap them with, while the victims endure lengthy incarcerations without trial or later release them on nolle prosequi after the state fails to prove their criminality.

The nolle prosequi is the instrument the Zambian state often uses against its political victims, especially the Barotse, after holding them in unlawful lengthy detention or unending trial adjournments in which they suffer untold torture and punishment for their perceived political crimes.

In this way, the accused are punished for crimes they never committed, with the view that they will stop their social or political activism, and with the nolle prosequi, the victims would not be able to counter sue the state for unlawful detention or claim any compensation.

 

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