I WAS not in Kafue, but in Mkushi, Central Province on the day when the kidnapping and assault incident allegedly took place, Kaizer Zulu’s friend and acquaintance Mpange Kachingwe, has told the Lusaka High Court.

Kachingwe states that he was out of Lusaka Province from September 5 to 8, 2019, attending to a business transaction in Mkushi District and, therefore, was not privy to whatever transpired in Kafue.

In this matter, four Lusaka men: Bernard Nshindo, Sengelwayo Jere, Saul Masikoti and Mason Mweemba sued President Edgar Lungu’s former special assistant for political affairs Kaizer Zulu and his two acquaintances; Kachingwe and Raffiq Rashid in September, last year, for allegedly beating and kidnapping them on accusations that they were taking pictures of Zulu’s speed boat at Chita Lodge, in Kafue.

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

However, in their defence, Chita Lodge and Mwanza denied being aware of the alleged assault on the plaintiffs, nor participating in it.

They argued that Zulu and his two acquaintances were admitted into the premises as visiting guests, and that if at all the assault took place, which is denied, they acted in their individual capacities as guests.

And in his defence filed in the Lusaka High Court, July 30, 2020, Kachingwe denied the kidnapping and assault allegations, stating that he was out of Lusaka on the said day when the incident allegedly took place.

He stated that he was in Mkushi on September 7, 2019, inspecting mining projects with the-then Mkushi District Commissioner Luka Mwamba.

Kachingwe, however, admitted to the Court that Zulu was his friend and acquaintance.

“The second defendant (Kachingwe) will aver that he was out of Lusaka Province from September 4 to 8, 2019, attending to a business transaction in Mkushi Province. The second defendant will further aver that on September 7, 2019, he was in the company of then Mkushi District Commissioner Luka Mwamba in Mkushi where they inspected mining projects and only returned on September 8, 2019,” he stated.

Kachingwe, who is represented by Dickson Jere and Associates, further stated that he could not make any comment on what happened in Kafue on the material day as he was not at the said place and, therefore, not privy to whatever transpired.

“The second defendant denies each and every allegation put forth in the statement of claim as if the same was traversed seriatim,” he stated.

In their statement of claim, the four plaintiffs claimed that while at Chita Lodge in Kafue on September 7, 2019, they were approached by Zulu, Kachingwe, Rashid, Mwanza and other unknown acquaintances, who accused them of taking pictures of Zulu’s speed boat.

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, leading to Masikoti and Mweemba attempting 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 establishment leading to the apprehension and unlawful detention of Masikoti and Mweemba.

The plaintiffs added that this was after a car chase characterised by gun shots 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 at their heads with the threats of killing them on an allegation that they were assassins sent to kill him.