The Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has fined a 23-year-old garden boy of Obama area K2,000, in default six months simple imprisonment, for unlawfully wearing a Zambia Air Force (ZAF) uniform.

In this matter, Prince Mwanza, a general worker of Lusaka’s Obama area in Chelston, was facing one count of unlawful wearing of uniform contrary to Section 182 (3) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.

Particulars of offence were that on dates unknown but between February 1, 2018 and April 30, 2018 in Lusaka, Mwanza unlawfully wore a ZAF outfit without authority.

Mwanza had initially denied the charges and trial had commenced but changed his plea on Monday.

During trial, a witness identified as Alice Chimula of Chilenje Township, had told the court that she only met Mwanza via Facebook and after accepting his friend request, he sent her two pictures in which he posed in a ZAF uniform.

Chimula, 28, narrated how the garden boy proposed marriage to her on Facebook, before they physically met.

“In his first message to me Mwanza wrote ‘I really like you and I want to marry you. My friends are laughing at me because I am single’,” she said.

Chimula said on April 7, last year, Mwanza called her to arrange for a meeting with him at ZAF Airport so that they could know each other in person.

“Mwanza told me that he was stationed at ZAF Airport and that I should go and meet him there around 13:00 hours, which I did. When I got there I found a ZAF officer only known as Mr Banda at the gate,” she said.

Chimula said with the aid of the pictures, the said Mr Banda took her to his superior who explained that the man in the photos was a garden boy working for a senior ZAF officer.

She said she was later informed that ZAF officers had apprehended Mwanza the same day around 20:00 hours in Obama Chelston and he was taken to Chelston police station.

The matter came up before magistrate Nsunge Chanda, Wednesday, for facts and sentencing.

And when the facts were read to him, Mwanza said the facts were true and correct adding that he wore the uniform in the house and did not go with it outside.

In mitigation, Mwanza, through his lawyer, asked the court to be lenient on him as he was a first offender who did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty.

He said he had a two-year-old child who solely depended on him and a custodial sentence may jeopardise his current employment.

Mwanza said he was remorseful for his actions.

In her ruling, magistrate Chanda said although Mwanza deserved leniency, the offence he committed was very serious because he was not allowed to wear a security uniform especially for police and defence forces.

She therefore fined him K2,000 to be paid within three days, in default, six months simple imprisonment.