Lusaka Principle Resident Magistrate Obbister Musukwa has recused himself from handling the case in which Lusaka Province Patriotic Front (PF) youth chairman Kennedy Kamba is charged for proposing violence during the November interparty clashes that left one man dead.
Magistrate Musukwa has since referred the matter to the Chief Resident Magistrate Joshua Banda for re-allocation.
This was when the case came up for trial today.
This is the second time that commencement of trial in the matter could not take place because state witnesses failed to appear before the court to testify despite being issued with summons by the arresting officer.
The magistrate had strongly warned Kamba during his last appearance in court not to interfere with the witnesses when they failed to appear before the court due to alleged threats.
Kamba, 39, who is also a Lusaka businessman, is charged with one count of proposing violence contrary to the laws of Zambia.
When the matter came for commencement of trial before Magistrate Musukwa today, the two witnesses who were supposed to testify were not present.
The arresting officer in the matter, Kezzy Siame, who is a Criminal Investigations Officer from Ng’ombe Compound, said he issued the summons directly to witnesses who assured him that they will appear before the court today.
Mr. Siame said one of the witnesses, Immanuel Chola, had his phone switched off when he was contacted this morning.
The arresting officer further said the other witness told him that the Munali Constituency Chairman had stopped him from coming to court saying it was not necessary for him to appear before the court because they had a meeting where they were trying to reconcile over the matter.
And defence lawyer Abraham Mwansa said what the arresting officer said had no bearing on the accused person as he was not aware of the alleged reconciliation being talked about.
Mr. Mwansa said the reconciliation story was not brought to his client’s attention.
The magistrate said it was clear that there was interference in the matter despite the defence team trying to defend its client.
He wondered how the chairman could talk about reconciliation over a matter which was in court.
And the prosecution team has applied to the court that the Munali Constituency chairman, who was said to have stopped someone from going to court, should be summoned to explain to why he was stopping the witnesses from coming to court.
And in his ruling, magistrate Musukwa said he had taken note of what was said by both parties and the application by the state.