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PF Member of Parliament Christopher Shakafuswa Arrested for Allegedly Proposing Violence

The opposition Patritic Front (PF) Mandevu Constituency Member of Parliament, Hon. Christopher Shakafuswa, has been apprehended and charged with the alleged proposition of violence. The police claim that on 3rd May 2023, Shakafuswa, alongside others, proposed violence at the residence of former President Edgar Lungu in Ibex Hill, Lusaka.

According to the police, Shakafuswa is accused of advocating violence and impeding a police operation, thus violating the law as stipulated under Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, specifically the Penal Code. If convicted, the suspect could face imprisonment for a period of seven years. Currently, Shakafuswa is being detained at Kabwa Police Station until his scheduled court appearance.

The specific legislation under which Shakafuswa is being charged is outlined in Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia, specifically Chapter (1)91. The law states that any person who, without lawful excuse, makes statements proposing violence or breaches of the law to assemblies is guilty of an offense and is liable to imprisonment for seven years. The alleged actions of Shakafuswa fall within the scope of this legislation.

In a separate case, the Kawambwa Subordinate Court has upheld the bench warrant issued on Wednesday against Kawambwa Central Member of Parliament, Hon. Nickson Chilangwa. Magistrate Martin Namushi, presiding over the Kawambwa Subordinate Court, has adjourned the proceedings until Monday, May 29th, 2023.

During the court session, the State presented two applications. Firstly, they requested that the bench warrant against Hon. Chilangwa remains in effect until his arrest. Secondly, they sought to commence the defense proceedings for the accused individuals present in court. However, defense lawyer Boniface Chiwala argued against proceeding with the defense in the absence of one of the accused, stating that it would constitute an unfair trial.

Counsel Chiwala referenced the 2013 appeal case of Lipepo versus the people, where the Supreme Court provided guidance on a similar scenario to the one faced by the Kawambwa Subordinate Court. Following Chiwala’s submission, the State requested additional time to review the matter and applied for an adjournment until Monday, May 29th, 2023, to respond to the defense’s arguments. Magistrate Namushi granted the State’s request for an adjournment, potentially paving the way for the start of the trial on Monday.

The Officer in Charge of Kawambwa Police Station, James Kasanda, requested more time until Monday for the police to locate and bring Hon. Chilangwa to court. Kasanda reported that on May 24th, 2023, they received a warrant of arrest for Hon. Chilangwa and had since been diligently searching for him. Despite their efforts, the accused person remains in hiding.

The bench warrant was initially issued against the Kawambwa Central lawmaker on Wednesday, May 24th, 2023, for his alleged failure to appear in court. The defense lawyer had filed affidavits claiming that Hon. Chilangwa was attending proceedings at the Lusaka High Court, making it impossible for him to be present at the Kawambwa Subordinate Court.

The case involves multiple defendants, including Pambashe Member of Parliament Hon. Ronald Kaoma Chitotela, Hon. Chilangwa, Kawambwa Mayor Chifumbe Kalumba, Kunda Chitotela, Chabu Chitotela, Davy Kaniki, and Charity Chibwe Musanto have been charged with one count of arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property and four counts of assault.

It is alleged that on August 12, 2021, the two lawmakers and five others while acting together assaulted four UPND members, damaged the windscreen of the Mahindra Bolero motor vehicle valued at K400, 000 before allegedly setting it ablaze and further threatened violence.