LUSAKA Magistrate Felix Kaoma has set August 31, 2020, for ruling on case to answer in a matter where Lusaka lawyer Martha Mushipe is charged with seditious practice.
This was after the State closed its case yesterday.
In this matter, Mushipe, is alleged to have on unknown dates, but between July 1, 2015, and April 11, 2016 in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown and without lawful excuse, had in her possession seditious material namely “Strategy of domination, PF against opposition UPND 2015, 2016 and beyond-UPND at crossroads – transition or conflict / PF’s use of ethnic divide and rules as a means of maintaining political control in Zambia 2015-2016 and beyond” by General Tendai Muduli, Dr Ngosa Simbyakula and Dydmus Mutasa.
The seditious document was allegedly found in one of the offices at Mushipe’s law firm in Millennium Village Villa 48, Madagascar, during a search that was conducted at the premises in 2016.
When the matter came up for continued trial, Tuesday, the State informed the Court that it was closing its case and would rely on its evidence before Court.
Magistrate Kaoma adjourned the matter to August 31, 2020, for a ruling on case or no case to answer, after giving the defence 21 days in which to file in their written submissions.
Previously, the arresting officer had narrated to the Court how he allegedly seized a document at Mushipe’s law firm detailing strategy domination of the ruling PF against UPND from 2015, 2016 and beyond.
Bernard Phiri, 40, a detective inspector based at force headquarters, told the Court that Mushipe allegedly chaired a meeting at her law firm to discuss the said seditious document, which was given to her by a well-wisher.
He added that at the end of the discussion, the meeting resolved to form a quack squad whose aim was to perform acts of violence against the people of Zambia and the State.
The arresting officer claimed that 10 people attended the said meeting namely; Mushipe, Emmanuel Chilekwa, Ephraim Shakafuswa, Clayson Hamasaka, Nchimunya Siamunjeye, Soko Habinda, Clance Zulu, Sambo Lubasi, Omia Hakanga and Hastings Shakanga.
In cross-examination by defence lawyers Keith Mweemba and Gilbert Phiri, the witness was asked if he was aware that Charles Mafa, one of the State witnesses, was in possession of the document long before Mushipe even possessed it, the witness said he was aware.
Asked if to this day, the police had arrested Mafa, the arresting officer said no.
He added that Mafa was not arrested because he never sat to form a quack squad.
The State witness, however, agreed that the said document was in public domain as it was on the Internet.
Asked by Mweemba if he agreed that it was erroneous of him to arrest the accused person based on something, which was already in public domain, Phiri said “no I do not agree.”
He, however, admitted that Mushipe did not author the document and that the said document brought out issues of public interest.
And former Bulletin and Record Magazine journalist Charles Mafa had previously testified that he came in possession of the alleged ‘seditious document’ in February, 2015, way before Mushipe had it.
Mafa said it was scary that some of the issues highlighted in the same document, detailing how the PF had planned to use violence, tribal division among other vices to win the 2016 elections, had actually come to pass.