THREE Barotseland activists were yesterday jailed three years each with hard labour by a Kaoma Magistrate’s Court for publication of false news with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public.
Passing sentence, magistrate Julius Malata said the offence committed by Nayoto Mwenda, 32, Boris Muziba, 36, and Sikwibele Wasilota, 33, was a misdemeanour and the convicts’ conduct during trial was not good.
Magistrate Malata said the prosecution had proved its case beyond any reasonable doubt.
Mr Malata said the court imposed the punishment order to deter would-be offenders, adding that the trio did not show remorse even after being arrested.
He said Zambia is a unitary State and it includes Western Province and that any offender, Zambian or non-Zambian, is liable to prosecution.
In mitigation, the trio maintained that the case be transferred to the Commonwealth Court.
Mwenda said the matter should not have been tried by a Zambian court while Wasilota said the case should have been taken to an “independent” court.
Magistrate Malata said, however, that he had heard their mitigation, adding that the offence was serious. He informed the convicts of their right of appeal to the High Court.
After the judgment before a fully parked court and amid tight police security, some sympathisers started crying while others sang solidarity songs as the trio was whisked away to Kaoma State Prison. – ZANIS.