By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
FOUR United Party for National Development (UPND) supporters facing two counts of being in possession of offensive material have been acquitted.
Lusaka Magistrate Slyvia Munyinya yesterday acquitted Remmy Mukoba, Kelvin Mupulisa, Fabian Lubona and Martin Muchindu of the charges after she found them not guilty of the offence.
The quartet was believed to have been found with potassium permanganate, one plastic bottle of glycerin, a traditional knife and a bow with three arrows, on April 25, last year.
They were allegedly found hovering around the Lusaka Central Correctional facility, at the time UPND leader, Hakainde Hichilema was detained at the centre for alleged treason.
Ms Munyinya said during judgment yesterday that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.
Ms Munyinya said that although it was clear that the items were found in the motor vehicle of the accused persons, there was no proof before the court that the items were explosives.
Ms Munyinya said it was not safe for the court to conclude that Mukoba, Mupulisa, Lubona and Muchindu could be said to have been in possession of the materials.
“I find that the offences of being in possession of the offensive materials was not proved beyond reasonable ground and I find the accused persons not guilty. I accordingly acquit them forthwith,” she said.
Mr Hichilema who was presence during the case to render support, said he was happy with the out-come of the judgment and urged the quartet, to be strong as they forged ahead with a life, despite the trauma they went through during the trial.
Others present during the hearing were UPND vice-president for administration, Geoffrey Mwamba, Mazabuka Member of Parliament, Garry Nkombo and former Chongwe MP, Sylvia Masebo.
Meanwhile, Mr Hichilema assured the nation that the national political dialogue will commence in earnest.
Mr Hichilema told journalists in an interview after hearing the acquittal that it was in the public domain that the meeting he recently held with President Edgar Lungu and the Church mother bodies was about dialogue.
“You should expect the dialogue to commence in earnest. It is in the public domain that meeting was about the dialogue as so we can bring back our country to normalcy. I think you know most of the issues, the restoration of the rule of law, human rights, violence in our communities and also to ensure that if u peace and order returns to our country” Mr Hichilema said.
He said this was not only important to political parties, but Zambians at large.