A KASAMA magistrate’s court has turned down an application by Alliance for Better Zambia (ABZ) leader Frank Bwalya to have his defamation of the President case transferred from Kasama to Lusaka.
Bwalya, who is facing an additional charge of proposing violence, cited the case involving the Barotse activists who had their case transferred from Mongu to Lusaka over security issues.
He contended that his life and the lives of his supporters were at risk because death threats were made against them live on radio.
Making an application before Principal Resident Magistrate Vincent Siloka, Bwalya asked the court to consider having him appear before the court on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday to allow him to fly into Kasama for his court appearances.
In his second application, Bwalya asked the court to transfer his case while he raised constitutional issues in the third.
“The cases I stand charged arise from a clear instance of expressing my freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 20 of the Constitution.
“There are clear constitutional matters in my cases and I make this application so that the proper court with jurisdiction can determine the arising issues,” he said.
After the State said it had no objections to the first application, it objected to the second application in which Bwalya sought to have his case transferred to Lusaka.
The State said the law was clear on the jurisdiction in which the offence was committed and the report tendered.
On the third, the State felt it would be better if the issue was addressed after the Director of Public Prosecutions had issued instructions on whether to proceed with it or not.
After hearing both parties, Mr Siloka allowed the first application but turned the other two.
Mr Siloka said there was no sufficient evidence to warrant change of venue as Bwalya’s cases were different from the matter in which the Barotse activists were tried.
The magistrate also said there was no sufficient evidence that Bwalya’s life was in danger.
He also said the constitutional issues Bwalya had raised with the court to be determined by a higher court did not arise as both cases were rightly before him.
Mr Siloka adjourned the matter to March 4, 2014.
Times of Zambia