The Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has warned the State not to be casual in the way it is handling the matter where five Patriotic Front supporters are accused of assaulting and proposing violence on Minister of Justice Given Lubinda.

The warning came after the State asked for an adjournment on grounds that the prosecutor handling the matter was on leave and that Lubinda was out of the country.

In this matter, Martin Mambwe, a 38-year-old driver of Kalingalinga, is charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Mambwe’s co-accused are businessmen Patrick Mubanga, 40, of Zambia Railways area behind Intercity Bus Terminus; Major Chansa, 35, of Misisi; Moses Mulenga, 35, and Goodson Mwange, 45, of John Laing, who are facing a charge of proposing violence or breaches of the law to assemblies.

In count one, it is alleged that Mambwe, on July 12, this year, assaulted Lubinda thereby occasioning him actual bodily harm.

And in count two, it is alleged that on the same date, Mambwe, Mwange, Mubanga, Mulenga and Chansa, whilst acting together, proposed violence to Lubinda by saying “we will beat you next time you step your foot in Kabwata Market”.

The five had denied the charges and were granted cash bail of K5,000 each, with two working sureties bound in a sum of K10,000.

When the matter came up before Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale for continued trial, Wednesday, State prosecutor Aaron Tuntuluka asked for an adjournment on grounds that the prosecutor in the matter was on leave.

The court also heard that the witnesses were not before court, including Lubinda.

Detective chief inspector Mwila, the arresting officer, said summoned Lubinda last week but was informed that he was not in the country.

At this point, magistrate Mwale expressed concern and cautioned the State and the officer to be serious.

He warned that “let us not be casual in handling this matter where we adjourn because of the absence of the prosecutor. That is why you are a team. Officer, let’s be serious. You went there last week, it doesn’t mean he is still out of the country today”.

The defence said the matter was not complicated and that it was public knowledge that Lubinda was in the country.

The court adjourned the matter to December 30, 2019 for continued trial.

Previously, Kabwata Ward Six councillor Longa Chiboboka narrated to the Court how a mob allegedly disrupted a tour that Lubinda was having in the area and started kicking objects.

The witness however told the court that he didn’t see anyone attack or grab Lubinda.

Meanwhile, Lubinda’s personal assistant Paulson Tembo narrated how the parliamentarian was allegedly hit on the right side of the head by a man who was part of a crowd that disrupted the said tour.

Tembo, 31, testified that on the material day while Lubinda was interacting with one of the marketeers, he (Tembo) saw two men coming from the western side of the market.

“When coming, one man was uttering words in Bemba saying ‘tapali efyo ulelanda fuma muno’ (there’s nothing that you are saying, go). After seing that he was directing those words to the member of parliament as he was charging towards him, the ADC came in to separate the man from the member of parliament,” he said.

Tembo told the court that when said man was pushed away, he saw a group of people coming from the same direction of the market.

He said he remembered seeing two men with masks and one was in PF regalia.

Tembo testified that some of the men had chains and planks and wanted to pull Lubinda whilst chanting in Bemba that “Given Lubinda you have turned against the party”.

He said after noticing that the said people were pulling Lubinda, the ADC went and removed the minister from the crowd.

Tembo said when they started moving towards the southern direction, the crowd was still chanting the same words while insulting and chasing Lubinda out of the market.

He added that as they moved a few steps away, he suddenly saw a tall and dark man from the crowd who ran towards Lubinda and hit him from behind.

Tembo said since the man was too quick, Lubinda was however hit on the right side of the head when he tried to look behind.

He said at that point, Lubinda’s ADC pushed the same person away to protect the parliamentarian.

“After we moved, the ADC removed a gun and that’s how the crowds moved a little behind and started kicking things. That’s how we managed to leave the market,” Tembo said.

He identified the first accused, Mambwe, as the one who hit Lubinda.

Tembo said he, Lubinda and others on the entourage later proceeded to Kabwata Police Station to report the matter and the Minister’s face had by then turned red.