William Banda defends UPND cadres’ presence at court yesterday

William Banda
William Banda

Opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) says it will continue escorting its leader Hakainde Hichileme to his court hearings as it was its democratic right.
And opposition MMD National Secretary Muhabi Lungu says Zambia as a democratic state cant propel justice without exhibiting it.

Reacting to concerns by section of society on May 6th court proceedings by the opposition party’s cadres who went to offer moral support for Mr Hakainde, UPND official William Banda says no one will stop the party cadres from going to court whenever Mr Hakainde appears in court.

Mr. Banda was reacting to concerns by a named Lusaka clergyman only identified as Pastor Mwanza who said the opposition party cadres were in the tendency of disrupting court proceedings whenever their party president appears for his court hearing.

ZANIS reports that the UPND official said this in a telephone interview in Lusaka , May 7th.

He said courts of law were public places open to anyone regardless of political affiliations.

Mr. Banda, who is also the UPND’s special adviser, said escorting any influential leader to court is as good as escorting a friend to a funeral saying there was nothing sinister about escorting.

He has defended his party cadres’ presence at the court yesterday who he said were ‘peaceful’ people ‘ and accused state police of fueling violence at public places like courts.

Speaking in a separate interview, Mr. Banda said no leader even in the western countries could go un-escorted whether to court or campaign trail.

“Courts are public places and no leader is it in Europe or Asia leaders are always escorted by their followers and it’s not wrong to do that,” Mr. Banda said.

And opposition MMD National Secretary Muhabi Lungu says Zambia as a democratic state cannot propel justice without exhibiting it.

Mr Lungu says all courts have got public galleries for people from all walks of life to sit and attend to court hearings as such there was nothing illegal for particular party cadres to escort their leaders to court.

He said cadres cannot be stopped from supporting a leader of their choice because doing so was against the tenets of democracy.

“Zambia is a democratic nation. Justice must be seen to be done and not be seen to be done. A courtroom has got benches to sit and anybody regardless of any affiliation can’t be stopped from escorting or attending a court session,” Mr. Lungu said.

On Tuesday this week (May 5), opposition UPND and ruling PF cadres almost clashed outside the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court after Principal Resident Magistrate Aridah Chulu adjourned a case in which UPND president Hakainde Hichilema is charged with publication of false news with intent to alarm the nation.

The cadres, who accompanied their leader Hichilema to court, accosted PF supporters as party SG Wynter Kabimba was leaving the courtroom and hurled a tirade of un-printables at them.

The PF cadres were escorting Mr Kabimba, who was summoned to testify in the case, to his car when the UPND sympathisers attempted to intercept them leading to a near punch-up between the two camps.