Journalist Pondamali’s trial begins

Trial in the matter in which Kabwe based freelance journalist Wilson Pondamali is charged for theft of a library book and unlawful possession of military stationary began yesterday in the Kabwe magistrate’s court with two witnesses testifying against the journalist. He is being represented by Collins Chizawu and Mulilo Kabesha of Kabesha and company.

Pondamali, 40 of Highridge in Kabwe had his house raided and searched for seditious materials by state security agents last year in July and in the process police confiscated a laptop and desk top computers among other items which included family entertainment DVDs.

After being arrested and havibg his house searched for seditious materials, all the police found were some old library books.

Grace Wina, a librarian at the council library told the court she discovered that the said book among others was missing from the library during a random check in 2012 but she did not report the matter to police because the procedure did not require so as loss of books was administratively dealt with.

She testified that the council does discard books found to be old and of no use to the library but the book in the matter was still in use. It was first brought to the library in 1972 after being published.

And another witness, detective chief inspector Benard Kamukwamba caused laughter in court when he told the magistrate that he does not know what ‘seditious materials’ means. The lawyers told Kamukwamba that after their unfruitful search, they decided to ‘plant’ offences on their client.

Kamukwamba also testified that an army officer from Chindwin barracks was summoned to come and identify the military pamphlets.

He told the court that the books belonged to Zambia army because they had an emblem of the army.

During the cross examination, Kamukwamba avoided many questions and referred them to the arresting officer a detective chief inspector Nzhibwe who was not before court.

He also disclosed that the search warrant was initiated by the division criminal investigations officer Andrew Mbewe who had since been transferred.

The matter has been adjourned to 10th June with the state saying they will bring four more witnesses, Pondamali is on bail