Court frees 5 UPND cadres

Five UPND cadres yesterday walked to freedom after the Lusaka Magistrates Court acquitted them on one charge of idle and disorderly conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace.

Those acquitted by Magistrate Lameck Ng;ambi are Joseph Musonda,48 ,Patrick Ntalasha,28,Newton Chisuta,30, Lemmy Mukoba,29,and Pumulo Sililo,35.

The UPND cadres were accused of having conducted an illegal demonstration along Addis Ababa Road in June 2012 by blocking the road with stones, tyres and also urinating on it.

The cadres pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In passing judgment in a fully parked court room, Magistrate Ng’ambi said he was not satisfied with the state witness’s evidence as they were all police officers acting upon instructions from their superiors.

The prosecution evidence alleged that the cadres had blocked the road with tyres and stones and that traffic could not flow freely.

And when police officers went to the scene and tried to reason with the cadres they persisted with their unruly behavior.

And in their defence, the five cadres denied urinating and blocking the road saying they only went to demonstrate peacefully but were beaten by the police officers when the then Lusaka Province Police Commissioner Charity Katanga arrived at the scene.

Mr Ng’ambi said he had relied on Muvi TV’s Reporter’s evidence as being an independent witness who captured the scene.

Bruce Mwale testified that he did not see anyone urinating on the road and that the police officers only started beating the party cadres after Ms Katanga arrived at the scene was a clear indication that the officers were acting upon instructions.

He acquitted the accused persons after finding that the prosecution had failed to prove their case beyond any reasonable doubt.

And speaking to journalists after his acquittal, Mr. Musonda said he was happy with the outcome of the judgment as he together with his colleagues were just implicated in the matter.

And when asked why they had earlier alleged that Magistrate Ng’ambi was corrupt and selfish they replied that it was because their case too long and thanked Mr Mwale for saving them from going to jail.