The Lusaka Magistrate Court has granted satirical singer Chama Fumba alias Pilato a K30,000 bail in his own recognizance with two working sureties from reputable organizations holding managerial positions.
And UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has expressed happiness that Pilato has been granted bail, hoping that the case is disposed of quickly.
Meanwhile, Hichilema says he is glad that UPND was not part of the “confusion” that characterized the first stage of the ZCID led-dialogue process last week.
This is a matter in which Alliance for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti, PeP president Sean Tembo, Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) executive director Lewis Mwape, Pilato, Bornwell Mwewa and Mika Mwambazi, are charged with one count of disobeying lawful orders.
The accused were nabbed outside Parliament buildings in Lusaka on September 29, 2017 as they were protesting the purchase of 42 fire trucks purchased for $42 million.
The case had stalled for months as Pilato had fled the country following death threats after he released his hit-song: ‘Koswe Mumpoto’.
After several adjournments, Magistrate Mwaka Mikalile issued a bench warrant against Pilato, and the singer was nabbed immediately after arriving from South Africa at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) last Wednesday leading to his bond been revoked.
And when the matter came up for ruling to determine whether Pilato’s bond would be restored, Monday, Magistrate Mikalile observed that after reviewing video evidence, she was satisfied that Pilato had indeed received threats.
She, however, said the accused had wasted the court’s time when he was out of the country and, therefore, could not enjoy the privileges of the other accused persons.
“After watching the video I was satisfied that there were threats on the accused’s life and that he reported the threats to the police, but the police did not do anything. The state has the duty to protect its citizens and threats on one’s life have to be investigated so that the culprits are brought to book. However, the accused cannot enjoy the same privileges of the police bond as for the other accused persons because he unnecessarily took long to appear in court. And he wasted the court’s time,” Magistrate Mikalile said.
She then granted him K30,000 bail in his own recognizance with two working sureties from reputable institutions.
Meanwhile, Hichilema, who went to offer solidarity with his vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, said he was glad that Pilato had been granted bail and hoped that the case was disposed of quickly.
“We want to show support to citizens who are in difficult situations like this. We are also pleased that Pilato has been granted bail and that the bail is achievable. It’s not too erroneous as the case of my brother, [Fresher] Siwale. Because if you give erroneous bail conditions, it’s as good as denying a citizen bail and that is against the Constitution, against the Bill of Rights. We are reasonably comfortable that the court today discharged it’s duties within the legal provisions of our country. This is the way it should be. We expect the case to be disposed of quickly and people get on with their lives,” he said.
And asked why his party had missed the first stage of the ZCID led-dialogue process last week, Hichilema said the dialogue process should be credible.
He added that ZCID had failed to announce the resolutions, which had been made during the conference.
“We have stated our position very clear. From the beginning, we are very consistent, others have been inconsistent. These are serious dialogue issues, the country is in distress, we need to take a credible process because a process must protect the content,” Hichilema demanded.
“We all know that they failed to announce the resolutions of that conference they had, which included a vote. I’m sure you are all aware that delegates were asked to vote, those in favour of ZCID, and those in favour of Commonwealth. Those in favour of Commonwealth won where we were not present. Why can’t they announce those resolutions? ZCID lost amongst the people they thought were their friends. It’s because people want seriousness in our country.”
And Hichilema said the UPND wanted a serious dialogue process.
He expressed relief the UPND was not part of the “confusion” that had characterized the first stage of the ZCID led-dialogue process.
“We want a serious dialogue process, which will result in measures being taken: rule of law, restore of human rights, liberties and freedoms; to stop political violence orchestrated by the police and PF cadres. We want the release of political prisoners [and] we want absolute criminal justice system, which is treating everybody innocent until proven guilty, not otherwise. That’s what every citizen wants. So, you can’t say we missed an opportunity. It’s good we were not there to be part of the confusion,” said Hichilema.