New Labour Party president Fresher Siwale has finally appeared in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on one count of Defamation of the President for alleging that President Edgar Lungu had stolen someone’s identity.
Siwale is alleged to have on April 22, 2018, with intent to bring the name of President Edgar Lungu into ridicule, published defamatory matter by word of mouth to which he said ‘the President of the Republic of Zambia is not the actual Edgar Chagwa Lungu but Jonathan Mutawale, he must be arrested for having three National Registration Cards, he is an identity thief’.
But when the matter came up for plea, Wednesday, it could not proceed as the state was not in custody of his docket.
Siwale, whose lawyer from Keith Mweemba Advocates, Mulenga Mutamfya was not present, asked for bail pending his trial but magistrate Alice Walusiku asked him to wait until he took plea.
Magistrate Walusiku then adjorned the matter to May 3.
Meanwhile, People’s Party president Mike Mulongoti and ADD leader Charles Milupi who had gone to offer solidarity to Siwale expressed concern at the way the state was abusing it’s powers.
Mulongoti said he was looking forward to the day Siawale’s case would commence in court.
He insisted that a day would come for President Lungu to appear in court because he had committed treason on many occasions.
“The injustice is there but with the law, whether they like it or not, the matter will have to commence in court. That’s the day we are looking forward to. For now whatever tactics they can play, it’s a matter of time. We hope that the people who are getting instructions from outside will be subpoenaed to come and explain why they have done this. We are also not in doubt that the President himself has committed treason on many occasions, so his day will come in court,” said Mulongoti.
And Milupi said it was unconstitutional for one to be detained for more than two days without being charged.
“It’s unconstitutional to hold someone beyond 48 hours. Fresher Siwale has been in the hands of the police for nine days as opposed to two days in which they are supposed to hold him and charge him. We also recognise that the matter, which is defamation, these are bailable issues you cannot hold someone for so long,” he said.
And Milupi observed that it was wrong for politics to influence judicial matters.
“So there is the issue of politics getting involved in judiciary matters. This is wrong for our country. We are not saying they should not charge him, we are saying ‘let them follow the law, the Constitution’. He is a human being. At the moment they are stopping everybody exept one person from seen him and yet he has his requirements, friends and family to attend to,” said Milupi.
“Yes, without a shadow of a doubt they are abusing the power and authority that they got from the Zambian people. Lets begin to treat each other as Zambians in this country. Whether we think one is guilty, one has committed an offence, starting from the President, let him treat others as human beings, as Zambians. What they have done to this gentleman, holding him for nine days, it is as if he has committed murder or very serious crimes, defamation is not a very serious crime.”