Life Gospel Ministries International General Overseer Bishop Joseph Kazhila has pleaded not guilty to one count of seditious intentions.
Bishop Kazhila, 61, who appeared before the Chingola Magistrate Court for plea, Thursday, was arrested on January 24, 2020 for seditious intentions after he appeared on Kokoliko FM where he allegedly made remarks on the Chingola attacks that were likely to cause the breach of peace.
Particulars of the offence are that Bishop Kazhila, of plot number 4471B of Chingola’s Riverside, did incite violence when he called on residents of Chingola to arm and defend themselves against ritual killers.
Police picked up Bishop Kazhila from the radio station and has been in custody since January 24.
He has since been granted cash bail of K5, 000 in his own recognizance with two working sureties from reputable organisations.
Chingola Resident Magistrate Stephen Mabona adjourned the matter to February 7, 2020 for commencement of trial.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) expressed concern at Bishop Kazhila’s continued detention without granting him police bond, saying that was unlawful and a violation of his rights to liberty and equal protection.
In a statement, HRC spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya stated that police’s detention of Bishop Kazhila for several days without taking him to court was illegal.
“…Section 33 of the Criminal Procedure Code Act, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia, which gives legal effect to Article 13 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia, provides that persons detained without warrant should be taken before the courts of law within 24 hours, failure to which the police should consider granting such a suspect police bond,” stated Muleya.
“Article 13 should be read together with Article 18 (2) (a) of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia, which provides that every person charged with a criminal offence is presumed innocent until proven or pleaded guilty…There is judicial precedence in this country to the effect that over-detention is illegal and that detention should not be used to facilitate investigations at the expense of respect for human rights…”