By NORMA SIAME –
ALLIANCE for Better Zambia president Frank Bwalya yesterday appeared before a Kasama magistrate’s court where he pleaded not guilty to one count of defaming President Michael Sata and another of proposing violence.
Bwalya, 45, a former Catholic priest of house number 5607 Mwase Close, Riverside in Kitwe, who appeared before Principal Resident Magistrate Vincent Siloka, said he was a full-time politician.
According to the indictment read out in court by Mr Siloka, Bwalya, on January 6, 2014, with intent to bring or put the name of the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt by word of mouth said “the Republican President does not think, he is ‘chumbu munshololwa, kabili cipuba’ in reference to the Zambian President”.
‘Chumbu munshololwa’ is a Bemba adage used to describe an inflexible personality while ‘cipuba’ means ‘idiot’.
Bwalya, who said he understood the charge, pleaded not guilty.
In the second count, he is said to have unlawfully proposed acts calculated to bring physical injury to any person or community of persons.
Mr Siloka set January 21 for mention and February 6 as the trial date.
Bwalya, who was remanded in custody, applied for bail saying he was a well-known leader of a political party and did not pose a flight risk.
“The State should not worry that I will fail to avail myself to the court on the aforementioned dates,” he said.
Mr Siloka granted Bwalya K10,000 bail in his own recognisance upon meeting the requirements of two Kasama-based sureties.
Bwalya was by Press time asking well-wishers from behind bars to look for his mobile phone to call possible sureties.
“Am trying to call people that can assist me,” he told the Times of Zambia as he was led away with bare feet.
Meanwhile, a burglary and theft suspect bolted from the court holding cells as Bwalya was being taken in.
The suspect, who should have appeared before magistrate Kelvin Soma for judgment, took advantage of Bwalya’s celebrity-like status to calmly walk out before disappearing from view.