A VICTIM in the case in which Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) is charged with assault yesterday told the Kitwe Magistrates Court that the UPND vice president for administration slapped him on the left side of the neck after he told him and his supporters that they should not bring politics in the market because it breeds confusion.
Francis Musonda, 30, a trader at Chisokone market, told Kitwe Magistrate Malota Phiri that he told Mwamba and his supporters not to bring politics in the market because it brought confusion in the market, resulting in fights.
Mwamba was appearing before Kitwe Magistrates Court yesterday on two counts of assault, malicious damage to property and conduct likely to cause breach of the peace.
This is in a case where on May 19 Mwamba was involved in a fracas with marketeers at Chisokone market in Kitwe where it is alleged he assaulted some marketeers during the scuffle when marketeers refused to allow him to hold a rally at the market.
Musonda, of Twatasha and a member of the neighbourhood watch at Chisokone market, said the neighbourhood watch was always against politics in the market because they feared confusion and violence which disrupted business at the market.
“On 19th May, 2016, I was at Chisokone ‘B’ market selling clothes when I saw a group of UPND cadres dressed in their party regalia coming towards where I was. I told them the path was too small for them to pass and that if they forced themselves in, they could cause confusion and some people could take advantage to loot the clothes I was selling,
“I told them that they should not bring politics in the market because in most cases it brings confusion and violence, hence disrupting the business at the market,” Mr Musonda said.
Mr Musonda said after telling Mwamba and his crowd not to bring politics in the market, one of them responded, asking who he was to stop them from coming to the market.
“After that, one of the UPND cadres believed to be Mwamba’s body guard, grabbed me from behind and then Mwamba himself slapped me hard on the left side of my neck. It was so painful,” he said.
He said after hitting him, Mwamba’s body guards dragged him to a Ford Ranger parked nearby but he was rescued by his colleague identified as Chitotela who asked the UPND cadres where they wanted to take him.
“Chitotela pulled me from the UPND cadres and that is how they failed to dump me in their waiting Ford Ranger which was parked nearby,” he said.
He later reported the matter to Kitwe Central police station where he was given a medical report which he took to Kitwe Central Hospital for examination and treatment.
In the same case, another witness Moses Katongo had told the court earlier that on June 24, 2016, he was slapped on the face by Mwamba when he refused to raise a UPND symbol while visiting Chisokone market with his cadres.
Another marketer Gillian Chama also narrated how his colleague, Katongo was slapped by Mwamba for refusing to raise a UPND symbol.
Katongo told the court that Mwamba went with his group of cadres at Chisokone market chanting UPND slogans and when he reached where he was, Mwamba asked him to raise a UPND symbol but refused and instead raised a PF symbol.
After he raised the PF symbol, Mwamba allegedly slapped him on the chin, resulting into cuts on the mouth, forcing him to report the matter to Kitwe Central police station.
The case was adjourned to September 12, 2016, and Magistrate Phiri advised the State to ensure that all the witnesses were present to expedite the case.
This was after the State told the court that three witnesses could not attend the court session because they were reportedly out of town.
Mwamba was accompanied to court by former MMD president Nevers Mumba, Kwacha UPND parliamentary candidate Faith Mushongo, Nkana constituency parliamentary candidate Divo Katete, party provincial chairman Elisha Matambo and other UPND cadres.
And after the court session, police stopped Mwamba from addressing UPND cadres at the corner of Obote Avenue and Independence Avenue.
The police pleaded with Mwamba not to hold a meeting in the middle of the road, but his body guards tried to defy the police officers, forcing the officers to move in and disperse the UPND cadres.