THE Lusaka Magistrates’ Court has acquitted NDC president Chishimba Kambwili in a case in which he was accused of expressing racial remarks against an Indian national.
Principal Resident Magistrate Jennipher Bwalya dismissed the charge and acquitted Kambwili, saying the prosecution had not sufficiently made out a case against the NDC leader to require him to be put on his defence.
And Kambwili says it’s gratifying that there are a lot of magistrates who follow the law and cannot be politically interfered with.
In this matter, Kambwili was charged with one count of expressing or showing hatred, ridicule or contempt for persons because of race and he pleaded not guilty.
It was alleged that Kambwili on February 19, last year, expressed racial remarks on Rajesh Kumar Verma, an Indian national.
The State had called two witnesses; the arresting officer Chikuba Muluti and ZNBC’s Mark Ziligone before closing the case on December 2, this year.
Kambwili was represented by defence lawyers; Keith Mweemba, Gilbert Phiri and Christopher Mundia.
However, when the matter came up for ruling on the submissions on no case to answer, magistrate Bwalya found Kambwili with no case to answer.
She said it was not for the court to put the accused person on his defence for the sake of putting him on his defence.
Magistrate Bwalya added that there must be reason for such action, and that the reason must be that the prosecution had called evidence which on the face of it could result in a conviction if the accused person were to remain silent and not adduce any evidence in his defence.
“It appears to me and I am satisfied that the prosecution has not sufficiently made out a case against the accused person to require him to be put on his defence. I therefore find the accused person Chishimba Kambwili with no case to answer and I dismiss the charge and acquit him forthwith pursuant to section 206 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” she ruled.
And reacting to his acquittal, Kambwili thanked magistrate Bwalya for being magnanimous and following the law.
He added that he wouldn’t want any Zambian to go through what he had gone through.
“Today’s judgement for me is a landmark in Zambia and for my family that indeed even if you are in the opposition, magistrates can look at the case following the law. This is the way that it should be. It is extremely gratifying that we have a lot of magistrates who follow the law and cannot be politically be interfered with. What I have gone through under this case, I wouldn’t want any Zambian to go through. Don’t treat your friends badly the way I have been treated. Surely we all knew from the beginning [that] I did not commit an offence. But people were just being malicious, they were just trying to keep me in the confines of the courts so that I cannot go out to campaign, I cannot organise my party, I cannot find money for my children,” said Kambwili.
“But surely to waste my time from February last year to now, over a year just coming to court over a case that I did not commit, a case where they did not even have evidence, where even the complainant could not even come to give evidence, surely mweba muninane [friends] in government stop treating your friends like this. For me I can tell you, I have forgiven all these people that have done this to me. Posterity will judge them very harshly.”
He also thanked his lawyers for the job well done.