Economic and Equity (EEP) leader, Chilufya Tayali, has pleaded not guilty to one count of harassment through digital communication.
This is in a matter in which Tayali allegedly harassed Chief Munokaliya Siloka Mukuni of the Toka Leya speaking people of Kazungula district in Southern province on his Facebook page, alleging that he was responsible for the gassing which happened in 2020.
When the matter came up on Wednesday for continuation of trial, the state made an application to amend the indictment of which the defense did not object.
“Before we proceed the state has an application to make pursuant to section 213 subsection 1 of the criminal procedure code (CPC)chapter 88 of the laws of Zambia to make an alteration of the charge on the particulars of the offense by the ways of substitute the indictment following the varies between the charges before the court and the accused to take plea on the charges,” state submitted.
Defense Lawyer, Joseph Chirwa, said he had no objection to the application. However trial could not proceed because he needed to rehearse with his client and study the new indictment.
The application to amend the indictment was granted and the court ordered Tayali to re-take plea.
Magistrate Sylvia Munyinya read the charge to him, he said he understood but denied.
On July 24, 2023, Munyinya summoned Chief Mukuni to appear before her and re-testify in the matter following evidence from Assistant Director in charge of Chiefs Affairs at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development that Chief Mukuni was not a Senior Chief as mentioned in the charge sheet because there is no such a position.
Chief Mukuni appeared on Wednesday only to be told the matter would come on September 18, following the amendment of the charge.
It is alleged that Tayali on November 10, 2022 in Lusaka, jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown, did intent to harass and cause emotional distress to Chief Mukuni.
Tayali was alleged to have used a computer system while live on his Facebook page dubbed EEP PRESIDENT CHILUFYA TAYALI, an online Social Media Platform to issue a statement saying among other things that: “People talk about gassing, gassing; Ba Hakainde Hichilema you know about gassing; do you hear Hakainde Hichilema talk about some of these sabotages which were going on?
“Traditional leaders were involved in those things; i know persons here and there; ask Chief Mukuni you know better; Chief Mukuni was not sleeping; he was sleeping at Golden Peacock; that is where he was staying and things were happening all over the country; while you were inside. What i have told you today is the truth and you can arrest me for it; Chief Mukuni knows even what iam talking about.”
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Trial continues on September 18, 2023.