Chipili Independent member of parliament Jewis Chabi has pleaded not guilty to the charge of malicious damage to a PF chitenge and a plank worth K250, in the Mansa Magistrates’ Court.
And Chabi told a multitude of Mansa residents who thronged the court premises to offer solidarity, that he would continue speaking for them, adding that a court process would not intimidate him.
The accused was arrested last year in December, but the matter was abandoned until this month after the parliamentarian who beat the ruling PF Secretary General Davies Mwila in the last tripartite elections, joined hands with Democratic Party leader Harry Kalaba in his political activities.
Chabi has been critical of the PF government, and has been mobilising an opposition uprising in Luapula, much to the discomfort of the Patriotic Front.
It is alleged, in this court matter that, on December 17, 2017 around 16:00 hours, Chabi damaged property namely; a PF chitenge material and a plunk valued at K250 at Mansa Town Center without any legal authority.
On the material day, Chabi went to Mansa Civic Bus Station situated at Mansa Town Center to collect a parcel from one of the buses which was coming from Lusaka.
Whilst at the station, the accused observed that there was a pole mounted at the bus station with a PF chitenge material mounted on it.
He proceeded to ask the council official who collected levies from the premises as to why he had allowed the party regalia to be put at a public bus station, but was told that it was put there by some gentleman who drove a taxi with inscriptions ‘bola na lesa’.
Chabi then decided to uproot the pole and later gave it to his friends to give it to the owner when he returned so that he could put it at his home.
After a few minutes, Chabi drove back to the location and found the said man, but when he asked him why he had mounted the pole, the man remained quiet.
While telling him that it was wrong for him to mount a party regalia at a public place, the said man received a call from someone he was referring to as honourable, and he walked away.
when the matter came up before magistrate Mulenga for plea yesterday, Chabi denied the charge.
The matter has since been adjourned to January 17, next year, for mention and January 29, 2019 for trial.
And addressing his supporters in Bemba after appearing in court, Chabi vowed to continue speaking the truth in the face of injustice.
He added that going to court didn’t scare him because he was ready.
“What we are now passing through is not new. When our forefathers were fighting for freedom, they passed through the same. We won’t be scared of coming to court because we can’t keep quiet in the face of injustice. [Kenneth] Kaunda passed through the same. So arresting us, taking us to court, taking us to the police or any other thing wont stop us from talking about our rights. So the matter has been adjourned to January 29, we will be back,” Chabi told a jubilant crowd that surrounded him.
“We want to come and hear what the court will say. If stopping someone from committing a crime is also a crime under the leadership of President [Edgar] Lungu, the courts will determine. Campaigns ended long ago. They have even started insulting us that (Bembas) are thieves. The year has ended but we still haven’t received our monies for the maize old to FRA. And they want us to be praising them, no. We will continue speaking the truth. They have neglected us in Luapula. Today, Luapula is the poorest province.”