Lusaka High Court judge Wilfred Muma has recused himself from handling a case in which Special Assistant to the President for Political affairs Kaizer Zulu and others are accused of kidnapping and assaulting four Lusaka men.

In recusing himelf, judge Muma said there was a growing conflict of interest as he personally knows Zulu.

In this matter, four Lusaka residents have sued Zulu and his acquaintances in the Lusaka High Court for allegedly beating and kidnapping them on accusations that they were taking pictures of his speedboat at Chita Lodge in Kafue.

The four, who are seeking damages for assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, among other claims, stated that Zulu in particular fired several shots in the air while continuously assaulting them with his pistol and also pointing it to their heads with threats of killing them.

The plaintiffs – Bernard Nshindo, Sengelwayo Jere, Saul Masikoti who are qualified surveyors and businessmen, and Mason Mweemba, a driver – sued Zulu and his two acquaintances, Mpange Kachingwe and Raffiq Rashid.

Others sued are the Attorney General, Chita Lodge Limited and Bella Mwanza, an employee of the said lodge.

But when the matter came up on September 26, 2019, there was no appearance from both the plaintiffs and the defendants.

At this point, judge Muma said he was recusing himself from handling the matter to avoid conflict of interest.

“There is growing conflict of interest as I personally know the first defendant herein. I therefore recuse myself and refer the matter for re-allocation,” said judge Muma.

In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry last month, the four claimed that while at Chita Lodge in Kafue on September 7, this year, they were approached by Zulu, Kachingwe, Rashid, Mwanza and other unknown acquaintances who accused them of taking pictures of Zulu’s speedboat.

They stated that they denied taking any such pictures but offered to delete all personal pictures taken on the phones while at Chita Lodge to satisfy the demands of Zulu and his acquaintances.

The Plaintiffs stated that at this point, Zulu, Kachingwe and Rashid, while armed with pistols, immediately proceeded to begin to physically assault the second plaintiff, Jere, as Masikoti and Mweemba attempted to drive out of Chita Lodge’s establishment.

They claimed that it was Mwanza, an employee of the lodge, who ordered security guards of Chita Lodge to close all exits at the lodge, leading to the apprehension and unlawful detention of Masikoti and Mweemba.

The plaintiffs added that this was after a car chase characterized by gunshots fired by Zulu, Kachingwe and Rashid.

They claimed that Zulu, in particular, fired several shots in the air and from time to time pointed his pistol to their heads with the threats of killing them on an allegation that they were assassins sent to kill him.