Power and Politics

Nawakwi, Zulu, others plead not guilty, as govt drops charges of espionage, inciting tribal war


Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president, Edith Nawakwi, Civil Activist, Brebner Changala, Dan Pule, and Members of Parliament, Munir Zulu, and Maureen Mabongo, appeared in the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, pleading not guilty to seditious practices.

They are accused of inciting the public to revolt against the government and alleging state sponsorship of Petauke Central Member of Parliament Emmanuel Jay Banda’s abduction.

Read more: Nawakwi, Changala, Zulu, Mubungo risk 25 years jail term as state slams espionage charges on them

The defendants appeared in separate courts.

Nawakwi, 64, was granted K100,000 bail with two sureties.

Her lawyer, Sakwiba Sikota, argued that she was not a flight risk and required ongoing medical treatment disrupted by her incarceration.

“She is currently or supposed to be undergoing medical treatment but has not been able to take the medication required. With the condition she has, she needs to take blood samples before she can take medication,” Sikota submitted.

The trial is set to commence on July 8, 2024.

The State had dropped initial charges of espionage and proposing tribal war.

The court would rule on bail applications for Zulu, Mabongo, and Pule on Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, another sedition case against Zulu before Magistrate Trevor Kasanda was adjourned due to his ill health.

Zulu was accused of making a Facebook post on September 6, 2023, claiming President Hakainde Hichilema would dissolve parliament and call early elections.

Defense lawyer, McQueen Zaza, requested an adjournment, citing Zulu’s mental and physical well-being after spending 10 days in custody.

The State opposed the application, arguing the reasons provided were insufficient and lacked medical evidence.

Magistrate Kasanda, acknowledging the fast-track court’s goal to conclude the matter within five months, granted an adjournment to June 24, 25, and 26, 2024, giving Zulu the benefit of the doubt.

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