UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says the state keeps losing cases in court because PF is composed of petty thieves who are just focused on looting public resources.

He was speaking to journalists after the state entered a nolle prosequi in a matter in which UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and 19 others were jointly charged with unlawful drilling.

When the matter came up today, a public prosecutor, Michael Nundwe, applied to discontinue the matter in accordance with section 88 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Lawyer for the accused Jack Mwimbu raised no objection.

Lusaka principal magistrate Mwaka Mikalile then discharged GBM and the UPND youths but has warned them that this was not an acquittal as they could be re-arrested.

“There being no objection, this matter is discontinued. You are hereby discharged you are warned that this is not acquittal you may be re-arrested,” said magistrate Mikalile.

Trial in the matter never commenced although GBM and the youths were taken to court in February 2016.

GBM was between February 13 and 27 accused of training youths to the use of arms, military exercises, movements or evolutions.

The youths are on the same dates alleged to have assembled without the President’s permission to be trained into militias.

They were arrested at GBM’s premises on Luanshya road in Lusaka’s villa area.

Reacting to the court’s outcome, HH observed that police were arresting citizens without investigations whilst the ruling party was focused on looting.

“Let me congratulate my colleague GBM who has been discharged from one of the frivolous cases and then also to offer our support to our colleague, president [Nevers] Mumba here who has been waiting for judgment and it is not coming through. But the point I am making here is that this is why we are emphasizing the importance of changing the criminal justice system so that people are not arrested before any investigation. People don’t have to live in courts because they have lives outside court but you are in court for a year, you are in prison, and then a nolle or discharge or indeed delayed judgment, you experience punishment before any investigation is done…So you see acquittals, nolles, discharges, delayed judgments then you know that a country has collapsed,” HH said.

“Zambia under PF has collapsed. You know it yourself, everyone knows it, there is no order at all, even in Parliament and everywhere, there is no order. What is there is a platform where people give us a platform to serve them then the PF are using that platform to steal. We hear now, out of the 42 fire tenders, three have had accidents so $3 million is gone. Yesterday we were at the Ndola airport, the so called VIP lounge was flooded. So why not repair the roof of the airport before you buy the fire tender? You buy the $1 million fire tender because you want to steal $700,000 dollars per fire tender. The country has collapsed, those in leadership are now focusing on using public office to steal money to enrich themselves. They have never been businessmen, that is why I call them petty thieves. They don’t know what it means to run a business, I call them petty thieves, including those at the top in State House. They are just petty thieves.”

He said when voted into office, he would adopt a zero tolerance approach towards corruption.

“When we come in, it’ll be zero tolerance on corruption. Have you seen what is happening to the former Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe? I am asking PF to say ‘do you want to end up that way?’ If you don’t want to end up that way, because it will come, people will reclaim what belongs to them, if you don’t want to be like others, why do you continue stealing money?” HH wondered.

He charged that PF was against dialogue because those in government wanted to continue brutalizing citizens.

“PF are saying they are not ready for dialogue because they want to maintain the toolkit of brutality, the toolkit of arresting innocent people and taking them through court processes like this for years on end and detaining people. That toolkit is what they want to keep, that is why they are afraid of dialogue. They don’t have the support of the people on the ground. They are there because of the use of police brutality, use of the intelligence to suppress citizens. That is what [Robert] Mugabe was doing for those many years,” said HH.

Meanwhile, MMD faction president Nevers Mumba’s ‘criminal trespass’ judgment was adjourned to November 30.