LUSAKA Chief Resident Magistrate Lameck Mwale has convicted and sentenced a 39-year-old driver of Kalingalinga Township to two years imprisonment with hard labour for assaulting Justice Minister Given Lubinda when he toured Kabwata Market last year.
In his judgment, magistrate Mwale said the prosecution team had proved the assault case against Martin Mambwe beyond reasonable doubt, adding that the 39-year-old PF cadre deserved a custodial sentence to deter would be offenders from engaging in political violence.
He said the convict’s physical attack on Lubinda was not only retrogressive but barbaric and un-African.
In this matter, Mambwe was accused of assaulting Lubinda, thereby occasioning him actual bodily harm on July 12, 2019.
Mambwe was also charged with five other Patriotic Front cadres with proposing violence against Lubinda when they allegedly said “we will beat you next time you step your foot in Kabwata market”.
However, magistrate Mwale acquitted the other five but found Mambwe with a case to answer on the charge of assault and placed him on his defence.
Delivering his judgement yesterday, Magistrate Mwale said it was a fact that on the material day, Lubinda was touring Kabwata Market and that in the process, the minister saw a large group of youths, two of whom were wearing masks.
He said it was also a fact that the group went towards the minister’s entourage and that one of them slapped and punched Lubinda who was left with a red hot face.
Magistrate Mwale said it was a fact that Lubinda and other witnesses identified Mambwe as the assailant.
He said an identification parade was also conducted at which Mambwe was identified as the assailant.
Magistrate Mwale said he was satisfied that the incident happened, adding that the possibility of mistaken identity was not there as Mambwe was identified by Lubinda and other witnesses.
He said Mambwe’s defence of being at home on the material day was an afterthought because there was no way that several witnesses could only mention him as being the assailant out of the entire group.
Magistrate Mwale further said he had no reason of doubting that Mambwe committed the offence and found that the prosecution had proved its case beyond any reasonable doubt.
He found Mambwe guilty of the offence as charged and convicted him accordingly.
In his mitigation, Mambwe, through his lawyer Aggripa Mulando, pleaded for the court’s lenience as he was a first offender and had four children to look after.
But passing his sentence, magistrate Mwale sentenced Mambwe to two years imprisonment, effective yesterday.
He said he had taken into consideration the fact that Mambwe was a first offender but noted with regret and concern the high level of political violence and intolerance.
Magistrate Mwale said the convict’s actions were barbaric and that he deserved a custodial sentence.
“I note with regret the high prevalence of politically charged violence and intolerance. The convict’s physical attack on the complainant is not only retrogressive but barbaric and un-African. I will be failing in my duties if I allow such kind of violence to go [on], especially violence on an elected representative of the people occasioned during the performance of his parliamentary functions,” said magistrate Mwale.
“I therefore sentence him to 24 months with hard labour, effective today.”
Judgement could not be delivered on July 23, 2020 as Mambwe allegedly developed a running stomach and was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Mambwe allegedly fell sick within the
Court premises while waiting for his judgment to be delivered.
In March this year, Lubinda broke down as he narrated to the court how he was allegedly slapped and punched on the face by Mambwe.
Lubinda, who is also Kabwata PF member of parliament, said it was the worst kind of humiliation to have gone through as a person who had diligently served the nation, adding that he was extremely fearful for Zambia that a minister with 24 hours security could be beaten in public.
But in his defence, Mambwe had denied assaulting the Justice Minister, saying he was home on the material day recovering from an illness.
He informed the court that he was a driver who operated from Kamwala market.
Mambwe explained that from September to December 2018, he was sick and was put on medication for Tuberculosis for eight months.
“I was put on TB medication in December 2018,” the accused said.
Mambwe said his legs started swelling as a result of the drugs, which made him have difficulties walking.
He told the court that on the material day, July 12, 2019, he was home when he was visited around 13:00 hours by a man he worked with in Kamwala.
“I told him that I was recovering except for my legs which were swelling,” Mambwe said.
He said he explained to his visitor about his financial problems and that he had no money for rentals and food.
Mambwe added that when he asked for help, his visitor told him to go to Kamwala so that he could assist him with money for rentals.
He, however, said when he went to Kamwala market the next day, two people lifted him up, handcuffed and demanded that he reveals who assaulted Lubinda.
Mambwe said he was then put in a vehicle before being driven to Kabwata Police Station.
He also told the court that Lubinda and his bodyguard identified him as the person who had assaulted the minister at an identification parade.
On the accusations by other witnesses that he assaulted Lubinda, Mambwe denied, saying those were lies.