Former National Restoration Party (NAREP) president Elias Chipimo’s son, Chito, has been sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour for trafficking in 1.43 grams of cocaine and possession of psychotropic substances.

And Chipimo has wished his son the best, saying his heart goes out to any parent experiencing something similar because he knows how painful it is.

In this matter, Chito, 23 of Kasangula Road in Roma, was charged with three counts of trafficking in narcotic drugs, possession of psychotropic substances and unlawful use of motor vehicle.

He had initially pleaded not guilty when he first appeared in court on December 31, last year but changed his plea and admitted all charges when the matter came up for commencement of trial last Wednesday.

In count one, it was alleged that on December 27, 2019 in Lusaka, Chito trafficked in narcotics drugs namely 1.43 grams of cocaine without lawful authority.

In count two, it was alleged that on the same date, Chito had in his possession psychotropic substances namely 0.11 grams of amphetamine without lawful authority.

In the last count, it is alleged that on December 27, 2019 in Lusaka, Chito used a motor vehicle namely, Toyota blade Registration Number BAJ 9330 to carry, conceal and convey psychotropic substances without lawful authority.

The matter came up yesterday before Lusaka magistrate Albert Mwaba for facts and sentencing.

Facts in this case were that on December 26, last year, officers from the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) received information that there was a male person dealing in suspected drugs in Kabulonga area.

The officers proceeded to the said place where the suspect was identified as he was seen seated in his car at a named mall.

Officers introduced themselves and the purpose of their visit was made known to him.

Before a body search could be conducted on him, he was asked to declare anything illegal in his possession and he voluntary handed over a glass cup containing six sachets and two tablets of suspected narcotics.

The accused was shown what he had handed over to the officers and he admitted ownership.

He was then picked up and the suspected drugs were seized and taken to UTH Food and Drug Control Laboratory where the Public Analyst identified and confirmed them to be cocaine and Amphetamine.

Under warn and caution statement recorded from him, he gave a free and voluntary reply admitting the charges.

He was formally charged and arrested for the subject offence.

When asked by magistrate Mwaba whether the facts were correct, Chito said yes.

Magistrate Mwaba then found him guilty and convicted him, upon his admission of guilt.

In mitigation, Chito, through his lawyers, asked the court to exercise leniency on him and to consider a sentence that would permit his rehabilitation.

The defence lawyers said Chito was of youthful age and that he had ample room for reformation and change should the court consider giving him a second chance.

“The convict has spent time in custody from December 26, 2019, and he has had time to reflect on his life. He has instructed [us] that he has learnt a lesson not to involve himself in such activities. We pray that this court gives credit to the time that he has spent in custody,” the defence lawyers said.

“Further, the now convict is very remorseful for his actions and to show such remorse, he has readily pleaded guilty as such he has not wasted the Court’s time and resources. The now convict is a first offender and has never been charged with any similar offence or any other offence at all.”

The defence lawyer said Chito had informed him that was is willing to undergo counseling so as to become a better citizen and contribute positively to the growth of the economy, and to further sensitize his peers on the dangers drug dealing.

But magistrate Mwaba said although he considered the fact that Chito was a first offender who had pleaded guilty, offences to do with narcotics and psychotropic substances were now prevalent in society.

He added that there was need to punish the offender in order to deter would be offenders.

Magistrate Mwaba sentenced Chito to nine months in count one, three months in count two and six months in count three, which sentences would run concurrently effective December 26, 2019 when he was arrested.

After the sentence was passed, Chipimo, who composed, wished his son the very best.

Chipimo said his heart goes out to any parent who was going through the same, as he knew how painful it was.

“The magistrate has exercised his discretion. We are thankful for what has happened. There is nothing more we can say at this point. I am just a father who loves his son and I can only wish him the very best. Any parent that is going through something like this, my heart goes out to them because I know how painful it is,” he said.

Chipimo urged everyone not to judge but to offer their prayers.

“I just urge everybody not to judge and just to offer their prayers. I hope that they will take a leaf from what has happened today and be encouraged. It’s not easy being a young person in our society today. Opportunities are limited and young people are not given enough understanding. I hope that this opportunity will be taken seriously even by Law Enforcement authorities. Our approach must be to love and to guide. Not to claim victory over putting young people in the cells. My son has taken full responsibility and I am very proud of him and I love him,” said Chipimo.