The State this afternoon moved incarcerated UPND president Hakainde Hichilema back to Mukobeko maximum prison from Lusaka Central Remand Prison, under heavy police escort by road.
This is against a court order issued by Lusaka magistrate Ireen Wishimanga last month where she directed that HH must be detained at Lusaka Central Correctional Facility during the period under which the contempt case against National Guidance and Religious Affairs Minister Godfridah Sumaili would be heard.
Magistrate Wishimanga further threatened to cite the Prison Authority and the Police Command for contempt of court if they defied her order of keeping the accused in Lusaka.
But according to HH’s senior lawyer Jack Mwiimbu, the defence legal team was not informed about the decision to move the UPND president from Lusaka.
I can just confirm that there is a total breakdown of law and order in this country. There is a court order which has not been varied, and today when the matter came up this morning, it was adjourned to 26th, with the existing order that they must be detained here. We are only caught unaware that the state has done what they have done today,” said Mwiimbu.
“We have no documents whatsoever, pertaining to his movement from Kabwe.”
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And UPND Secretary General Stephen Katuka has complained to the Judiciary and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) over the delay in setting up the trial date for Hakainde Hichilema’s treason case.
In a statement today, Katuka said it was against public interest to treat the biggest opposition leader in the manner the PF government was treating HH, adding that his continued detention without hearing his case was tantamount denying him justice.
“As UPND, we believe that when there is a conflict between public interest and the law, public interest takes precedence. It has been over 90 days since the imprisonment of the leader of the largest opposition party in Zambia on treason charges that threaten to divide the nation. Despite a lot having been said by the PF and its leaders, including allegations that Hakainde Hichilema’s lawyers are to blame for his continued incarceration, the reality of the matter is that in Zambia an accused person (and his lawyers) have little or no say as to when such a person is brought to Court, it is all in the hands of the
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Judiciary,” Katuka stated.
“It has now been over 30 days since HHs committal and yet nothing has been heard from the DPP or indeed from the Judiciary as to when he and other accused persons will be brought to trial to face his accusers. While it is understood that the DPP and the Judiciary are very busy, it must equally be understood that they have a duty to mother Zambia because justice delayed is justice denied.”
Katuka appealed to the offices of the DPP and the Judiciary to rise above partisan politics and ensure justice in the case of Hichilema’s trial.
“A speedy conclusion to this case is a very important step towards healing our divided nation and the onus lies squarely with those two offices to simply do the right thing. Zambians want to believe that our Judiciary and the DPP are above partisan politics and each of them now has the best opportunity to prove that, not for the sake of HH and his co accused but for mother Zambia and all of us, her citizens and future citizens. We wait with prayer on our lips,” stated Katuka.