Convicted Sports deputy Minister Steven Masumba’s mother Juliet Kale yesterday went ballistic against the Patriotic Front (PF) government after her son was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment with hard labour by the Lusaka Magistrate Court after he was found guilty of gaining pecuniary advantage when he got a job as an accounting officer using a forged diploma.
And Masumba has described as harsh the 12 months sentence with hard labour saying the presiding magistrate had miscomprehended the conviction.
Meanwhile, Masumba’s sympathisers yesterday harassed Post Newspaper photo journalist Joseph Mwenda after they accused him of having impersonated State House officials to gain access to the Sports deputy minister’s holding cell at the Magistrate Court and recorded a conversation without his (Masumba) permission which was later published in the newspaper.
Masumba’s relatives were angered that Mwenda had duped them by claiming he was allegedly sent by President Michael Sata to deliver a message to Masumba when he was in fact not representing State House.
The angry relatives grabbed Mwenda’s camera and harassed him saying the photo journalist was being unethical in his duties by sneaking into the cell of their relatives to get a story.
Juliet Kale, the mother of Masumba was furious that the PF leadership in government had allowed the court to convict her son when he was a serving minister in a government he had worked hard to promote in North Western Province.
Kale who kept on saying that the family was leaving everything in the hands of God claimed that the PF had used and then abandoned her son because they had no further use for him.
Kale said Masumba was the only PF Member of Parliament in North Western Province and a government minister but that it was surprising that there was what she termed little care from the people Masumba was working with and for.
She claimed that the people Masumba was working with had turned against him but that God was going was going to deal with the people who had abandoned her son after they had used him.
Speaking to journalists in Bemba, Kale said: “(Nabamulekelesha umwana wandi. Alebomba nabo nomba nabamubukila. Ku North Western Province ewabakofye MP but nomba nabamubukila) My son has been neglected by this government.
He was working with this government and the people he was working with have turned against him. He is the only MP in North Western Province but they have not offered him any form of protection,” Kale said.
Kale had to be stopped from continuing attacking government as the relatives quickly calmed her down and took her away from journalists.
And Masumba through his lawyer Lisimba Mutakela complained that the 12 months sentence with hard labour was too harsh and that there was nothing he could do apart from appealing against the conviction.
Masumba said the conviction was miscomprehended by director of Local Courts who was sitting as Magistrate Wilfred Muma and that he was going to appeal his conviction and sentence to the High Court.
In sentencing Masumba who was convicted on Monday, Muma said to deter would-be offenders the Sports deputy Minister should serve twelve months with hard labour for obtaining pecuniary advantage by using a forged certificate to obtain a job.
After the sentence was passed, Masumba’s lawyer, Lisimba, in mitigation pleaded with the court to exercise leniency on his client because he was a family man and a deputy Minister in the PF government.
Lishimba pleaded that the custodial sentence was going to cause untold misery to Masumba’s family and his constituency.