JUSTICE Minister Given Lubinda broke down yesterday as he narrated to the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court how he was allegedly slapped and punched on the face by one of the five PF supporters accused of assaulting and proposing violence on him.
Lubinda, who is also Kabwata PF member of parliament, said it was the worst kind of humiliation to have gone through as a person who had diligently served the nation, adding that he was extremely fearful for Zambia that a Cabinet Minister with 24-hour security could be beaten in public.
In this matter, Martin Mambwe, a 38-year-old driver of Kalingalinga is charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Mambwe is also charged with businessmen, Patrick Mubanga, 40, of Zambia Railways area behind Intercity Bus Terminus; Major Chansa, 35, of Misisi; Moses Mulenga, 35, and Goodson Mwange, 45, of John Laing, with proposing violence or breaches of the law to assemblies.
In count one, it is alleged that Mambwe on July 12, last year, assaulted Given Lubinda, thereby, occasioning him actual bodily harm.
And in count two, it is alleged that on the same date, Mambwe, Mwange, Mubanga, Mulenga and Chansa, whilst acting together, proposed violence to Given Lubinda by saying “we will beat you next time you step your foot in Kabwata Market.”
The incident is alleged to have happened when Lubinda toured Kabwata Market.
Testifying before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale, the Kabwata lawmaker said it was painful to have undergone such an experience, adding that until now, he had not recovered from the shock and humiliation.
He testified that July 12, 2019, started like any other ordinary Friday.
Lubinda told the Court that his security team went to pick him up around 07:30 hours and after leaving his residence, went to his office at the Ministry of Justice before going to Parliament.
The Kabwata MP narrated that at around 14:00 hours, as was the case on Fridays, he went to his constituency office.
He added that on the material day, he had not planned to attend to people from his constituency, but to instead visit two markets in his constituency namely; Libala and Kabwata.
Lubinda explained that that was because he was visited two weeks before by some developers from Time Project, who were constructing a mall outside Kabwata Market.
He added that the same developers lodged a complaint to him that they had paid a cadre some money for him to pay traders, who traded outside Kabwata Market as a way of inducing them to vacate the place so that the developer could develop a car park.
Lubinda said because of the complaint, it became imperative for him to go to the market to hear for himself from the marketeers.
He said he visited Kabwata Market on the material day, whilst accompanied by his ADC Dominic Nsokoshi, one of his councillors Lombe Chiboboka, his professional assistant, the market master and others.
Lubinda said when he and his team got to the market, many people who saw him there were excited.
“Since I had been elected four times, the norm was that whenever I went in the constituency, I was met with smiles and greetings. I was welcomed by the marketeers and it was not easy to walk because many people wanted to speak with me,” he said.
Lubinda said during his tour, he noticed a beautiful cosmetic stall with a lady in it.
He said the stall was built very close to the drainage system, adding that he approached the lady and enquired whether she was happy to be selling right in front of the drainage system.
“I engaged her for some seven minutes and she said to me, ‘we are waiting for you, our MP, to improve our market in the same way you improved Chilenje and Libala’,” Lubinda said.
He then said while he was engaging the lady, he saw a group of young men approaching from the northern side of the market.
Lubinda said initially, he thought they were ordinary youths going to meet him and when one of them extended his hand to greet him, and he shook hands with him.
But he said before long, the ones standing behind him, started yelling insults and the one who greeted him started pulling his hand.
“What was striking were the words that were being uttered. Your honour, he said to me in Bemba: “Chi Lubinda uli chawoyo. Ninshi ulefwaya muno mu market? Niwebo uleonaula icipani. Twalikuvotele, twakupela nabu minister ulelya bwino nefibana fyobe nomba ifwe muma market mulefwaya muletukanya ukubombela kuma bus. Bushe ifwe tukalya banoko?” Lubinda narrated.
He said there was commotion as his ADC went to his rescue by pushing him away from the cadre who was pulling him.
Lubinda said at that point, he realized they were not ordinary youths as some of them were wearing masks, one had a chain, others had sticks.
“I further realized that my life was in danger and walked away from where I was to go towards Kabwata Police Station. Shortly after turning away from the commotion, I heard a voice of someone saying ‘ba MP!’ ” he added.
He recalled that when he turned to look, he received a slap and a fist on his face, adding that he later felt kicks behind him.
He said when he again looked back again, he saw that his ADC had removed a pistol and pointed at one of the youths, who was kneeling down.
Lubinda said that the youth knelt down with his hands in the air in a surrender position.
“Your honour, it was extremely painful to go through such experience. I felt pain on the right side of my face. I felt shocked and I felt hot on my face. I later obtained a medical report from Chilenje Level-One Hospital and reported the assault case to Kabwata Police,” he said.
Lubinda said a few days later, he was called to Kabwata Police Station where he identified Mambwe as the person who assaulted him.
As he continued with his testimony, he said that he had not recovered from the shock and humiliation he suffered from the beating.
It was at this point that he became emotional, and as he tried to hold back tears, he eventually broke down.
After wiping the tears, Lubinda said he was in the market for the good of the people, not to be beaten by irate people who wanted to continue with thuggery.
“I am extremely fearful for this country! If a government Minister, with protection 24 hours a day, can be beaten in public, I wonder who is safe?” he lamented.
In cross-examination by the defence, Lubinda said he was not aware that youths in his constituency had a meeting on the day he toured the market.
Lubinda further said the one who shook his hand did not assault him and added that Mambwe was not in a mask for him to fail to identify him as his assailant.
After his testimony, the State closed its case.
Magistrate Mwale then set April 24, 2020, as a date for ruling on case to answer.