PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu’s former political advisor Kaizar Zulu and his acquaintance Raffiq Rashid have denied the kidnapping and assault allegations by four Lusaka men.
Zulu and Rashid claim that the four men were the ones who posed a threat to them as they were armed with pistols and were hiding while recording and taking pictures of them.
In this matter, four Lusaka men – Bernard Nshindo, Sengelwayo Jere, Saul Masikoti and Mason Mweemba – sued Zulu and his two acquaintances Mpange Kachingwe and 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.
But in their defence filed in the Lusaka High Court, Wednesday, Zulu and Rashid denied the said kidnapping and assault claims by the four.
The two, however, admitted that on September 7, 2019, they were at Chita Lodge in Kafue but that they would aver at trial that the four men were hiding while recording and taking pictures of them.
Zulu and Rashid added that at that time, they were having a private and confidential meeting within the vicinity of the secluded part of the lodge.
They stated that they will further aver that they alerted a police officer who was nearby to check on why the plaintiffs’ were hiding and recording as well as taking pictures of them without authority.
Zulu and Rashid stated that in fact, the plaintiffs did admit taking unauthorized photographs and agreed to delete the same but the police officer discovered that they were armed with pistols and posing a danger to the lives of the first and third defendants (Zulu and Rashid).
“The first and third defendants will aver at trial that the plaintiffs attempted to drive off when accosted by the police officer and instead fired gun shots in the air as they attempted to escape from the police officer who accosted them,” read the defence.
Zulu and Rashid stated that they would also aver that the plaintiffs were apprehended by police officers and in fact, one of the suspects escaped when they reached Kafue Police Station.
They stated that the plaintiffs were later moved to Lusaka Central Police by the police officers where they were detained.
“The defendants will aver that the plaintiffs do not deserve any of the reliefs sought, at least not from the first and third defendants herein. The defendants deny each and every allegation put forth in the statement of claim,” Zulu and Rashid 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 began 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 characterized 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.
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 was denied, they acted in their individual capacities as guests.
Kachingwe, in his defence, also 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.