By PERPETUAL SICHIKWENKWE –
UNITED Party for National Development ( UPND) vice-president for administration Geoffrey Mwamba yesterday went into panic mode after rumour went round at the magistrates’ complex that he was about to be arrested by police for an unknown offence.
Mr Mwamba, who was appearing for the first time to render solidarity to detained UPND party leader Hakainde Hichilema and five others for the offence of treason, was forced to swiftly jump into another motor vehicle belonging to a UPND official by cadres who feared that any delay would lead to his arrest.
Mr Mwamba had not attended any of Hichilema’s court sessions, prompting some sections of the media to speculate that he was away seeking asylum from an unknown country.
However, Mr Mwamba, commonly known as GBM, yesterday walked into principal resident magistrate David Simusamba’s courtroom shortly before 09:00 hours to join other members who had gathered to listen to the proceedings of committing the UPND leader and five others to the High Court to undergo trial for treason.
After hugging a few officials and members of the UPND, Mr Mwamba told journalists that he was ready to give an interview and that he would not seek asylum from any country while leaving his wife behind.
Hichilema and five others later arrived in the courtroom, and Mr Mwamba conferred with Hichilema and other suspects for some minutes.
After the committal of the six was pronounced by Mr Simusamba, Mr Mwamba walked out of the courtroom, but before he knew it, he was intercepted by a group of cadres who ordered him to rush to a motor vehicle which was parked outside the main entrance of the court complex.
Mr Mwamba’s vehicle was parked on the other side of the complex where there were several plain-clothes and uniformed police officers with dogs, but he was directed not to take that route.
Sources within the police, however, dispelled the rumour and said they had no intention of arresting Mr Mwamba but that they were carrying out their normal duties.
The cadres told Mr Mwamba, who looked surprised, to jump into the vehicle, while telling him that there was no time to waste as he was about to be arrested.
There was panic as Mr Mwamba walked fast towards the vehicle he was being directed at by the cadres while journalists, lawyers and cadres followed behind to witness the arrest which never was.
Immediately after Mr Mwamba jumped into the vehicle, he was driven away at high speed followed by another vehicle filled with cadres, which also drove at a high speed taking him to an unknown destination.
As per what has become a tradition, a good number of police officers were at the complex for security reasons, but a rumour was generated that their heavy presence was for the purpose of arresting Mr Mwamba.