Drama in Court

By IAfrica
In Zambia
Jul 22nd, 2014

There was drama and near comedy in Court 5 at the Lusaka Magistrates Court Tuesday July 22, 2014 when a prosecution witness failed to identify and accused person.

This was when Margaret Nambwelu Muyoba 50, of house number 14 Milima Road Woodlands, Lusaka a Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office in charge of administration pointed at freelance journalist Chanda Chimba, III when she was asked to identify former Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Dr. Sam Phiri by State advocate Mayembe.

This is in the case before Principal Resident Magistrate Obbister Musukwa in which Chimba stands accused of two counts of unlawful printing and publishing and one count of having property being proceeds of crime and Phiri together with former Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Lt. Gen. Ronnie Shikapwasha are accused of abuse of office regarding the airing of Chimba’s Stand Up For Zambia television documentary on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, ZNBC, TV in 2010 and 2011.

Muyoba is prosecution witness number 15 and was asked by Mayembe to step down from the witness stand to walk across the court room to the accused dock so as to identify Shikapwasha and Phiri who were the focus of the proceedings. The immaculately dressed, pretty looking Cabinet Office Permanent Secretary clad in a Marylyn Monroe hairstyle walked across to the accused dock and positively identified Shikapwasha. But when asked to identify Phiri she shocked the court and everyone in the public gallery when twice, she confidently pointed at Chimba as being Dr. Sam Phiri. Chimba while shaking his head was heard asking her if she was sure and Muyoba responded in the affirmative.

There was some laughter, murmurs and giggles in the gallery. At the instance of the State to look around the court room and even enter the accused dock Muyoba still insisted Chimba was Dr. Sam Phiri. When Mayembe still tried to guide her by asking her to look properly it prompted Magistrate Musukwa to caution the state saying that the witness had already identified someone as Dr. Sam Phiri. In the accused dock Chimba sat in between Shikapwasha and Phiri on a bench which also had several other accused persons brought in from remand prison and police cells around Lusaka.

This drama in Court 5 by a state witness, and a senior government official at that, is kind of like those scenes you only see in movies, but this was real, happening live before the very eyes of a magistrate, prosecution and defence lawyers, accused persons and member of the public. Missing to witness the drama were reporters from some mainstream media, like ZNBC’s Hector Simfukwe, Muvi Tv’s Naomi Ng’andu and Post Newspaper ‘s Francis Lungu. These three reporters were later seen on the steps of the entrance to Magistrate Court Complex getting some notes from two other reporters from some named media houses who also witnessed the comical drama in Court 5.

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