The Director of Public Prosecutions Lillian Siyunyi has entered a nolle prosequi in Hakainde Hichilema’s treason case.
When the matter came up for commencement of trail this morning, the DPP informed the court that she had decided to enter a nolle.
“At this juncture I would like to inform the honorable court that I am entering a nolle prosequi in respect of all the accused persons before you, having regard to Article 180, section seven of the laws of Zambia, Siyunyi said.
And without giving the defense team an opportunity to respond, judge Charles Chanda said; “The DPP has decided to terminate these proceedings by virtue of her constitutional powers. Therefore, you are hereby discharged from this offense. But this is not an acquittal as at any time, you can be arrested for this [same] offense but for now you are free to go home.”
At this point, HH’s wife Mutinta was too overwhelmed and she broke down. Some members of the opposition UPND then got her out of the courtroom to the car where she continued crying.
Hichilema himself did not seem pleased with the outcome of his treason case, as he did not show signs of relief upon hearing the nolle prosequi pronouncement.
Meanwhile, the DPP’s decision drew mixed feelings from the court attendees, some of whom were heard saying “this is nothing to be happy about, these men have suffered a lot for nothing.”
Hichilema and his five co-accused were then taken back to Lusaka Central Prison for discharge formalities, as UPND supporters waited in sing and dance outside.
On April 10, 2017 police raided Hichilema’s house in New Kasama, breaking furniture and other property in the process. He however remained in hiding until the following day when he gave himself to police.
On April 12, 2017, Inspector General of police Kakoma Kanganja held a press a press briefing to announce the charges.
“I would like to inform the nation that we have jointly charged and arrested Mr Hichilema and five others; 1. Treason contrary to section 43 (1) (a) 2.Disobedience to lawful orders contrary to section 127 of the penal code. 3.Disobeying of statutory duty contrary to section 126 of the penal code of the laws of Zambia (rule No. 222 of the High Way Code) And 4. Use of insulting language contrary to section 179 of the penal code,” Kanganja said.