UNRULY United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres yesterday assaulted Economic Equity Party (EEP) president Chilufya Tayali within the main corridor of the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court Complex.
And Lusaka Magistrate Felix Kaoma has advised UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema to guide his followers and ensure they do not attack people. Mr. Kaoma also ordered that once Tayali’s attackers were identified, the due process of the law must take its course against them. Security was tight at the complex as police officers manning the main gate screened anyone entering the premises and only allowed court officials, lawyers, journalists and ordinary citizens who had official business at the court but the UPND cadres found their way into the premises.
Around 11:00 hours, Tayali arrived for the case in which Hichilema has complained against him for alleged defamation of character and criminal libel and some police officers were on hand to escort him to court 6 where the matter was scheduled to be heard.
Before reaching the courtroom, UPND cadres who had filled the corridor just outside court 6, pounced on Tayali and wrestled with the officers shielding him. The assailants however managed to land punches on the EEP leader’s head as some of them grabbed him by his necktie while others went for his silver grey suit and ripped his jacket’s from the bottom to the top.
Amid the tussling, the officers managed to whisk Tayali way from the scuffle to court 11 where he managed to find his way to court 8, through a tunnel used by accused persons to and from the holding cells.
In court, one of Tayali’s lawyers Jonas Zimba informed Mr. Kaoma that his client was lynched by a group of known people who even tore his clothes but Hichilema’s lawyers objected on grounds that such preliminary issues could only arise after plea had been taken.
Later, another defence lawyer Osborne Ngoma told Mr. Kaoma that they were not ready to proceed with plea on grounds that Tayali was unwell and needed medical attention to determine whether he was fit to stand trial.
“We have received instructions from the accused that his mental faculty is not in order and he has body pains.
He has asked me to show the court by way of an obscure observation that his clothing has been tampered with,”
Mr. Ngoma said after which Tayali showed his torn jacket to the court amid laughter from UPND sympathisers who had packed the courtroom. As he was sitting down in the dock, a disheveled Tayali asked Hichilema, who sat in the front row with his vice president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and other UPND leaders, if that was the way he wanted to lead Zambia.
But Mr. Kaoma reprimanded Tayali to only speak appropriately, not to attack anyone, and follow instructions.