Chief Mukuni tells court that he ‘fears for his life’ after being accused of being the gasser By Chilufya Tayali

Chief Mukuni
Chief Mukuni

…I am not senior Chief but Chief Mukuni
By Correspondent
ECONOMIC and Equity Party (EEP) leader Chilufya Tayali has today met eye to eye with Chief Mukuni of the Toka Leya speaking people of Kazungula district.

Tayali met Chief Mukuni in Court after he was dragged to the Lusaka Magistrates for accusing the traditional leader of being behind the gassing that rocked the country in2019 and 2020.

According to Chief Mukuni’;s testimony, the said accusation stressed him and compromised his safety as he lived in fear of his life.
This is in the case in Chief Munokalya Siloka Mukuni has taken outspoke Tayali to court for having said that Chief Mukuni was the brain child behind the gassing crimes that characterised the country between 2019 and 2020 for the purpose of getting President Hichilema out of prison.

When the matter came up for trial before Magistrate Sylvia Munyinya, Chief Mukuni insisted that Tayali defamed him and caused mental anguish when he said that he was behind the gassing.

He stated that 14th November, 2022, as he was browsing on his phone, he came across a video of Tayali saying that he was behind the gassing of people in order to force for the release of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema then.

“I came across a clip where the EEP leader (Chilufya Tayali) was accusing me being behind the gassing of people. He said some traditional leader was involved. I was mentally stressed because of the statement by Tayali that I was behind the gassing when I knew nothing about the matter. I am very careful where I go now because I fear that I may be attacked by the people who lost their loved ones during the gassing. So many died. A lot of people might think that I was behind the gassing. Tayali said if you can as ask Chief Mukuni if he was the one behind the gassing,” he said.

He said his safety was compromised, as he was afraid of his life and being attacked by people who had lost their loved ones.
“I felt that my safety was compromised, what was said in that video is that, we staged the gassing with the view to get Mr. Hichilema out of prison. I fear that that people who lost their loved one would go after me. Those who believe that I could engineer the saga, I lost credibility, too many people died,” he said,

But during cross examination, Chief Mukuni said he was not a senior Chief, but a Chief who presides over headmen.
He said his name was Mukuni Munokalya Siloka and that he was aware that there was another traditional leader by the name of Chief Mukuni of the Lenje people in Central Province and that Tayali did not call him by the name of Munokalya Siloka.
“I didn’t say I am a senior Chief. The traditional leadership we are talking about here is a Chief and Headman. I am a chief. I am Munokalya Siloka Mukuni (Chief Mukuni) of Kazungula District in Southern Province,” he said.

When asked if he remembers having said in his testimony that he heard Tayali alleging that he was behind the gassing, Chief Mukuni responded in the affirmative.

Chief Mukuni who sat in the witness dock testifying for the State, insisted that even if in the video Tayali only mentioned Chief Mukuni, it was clear that he meant him because he was the only one close to the then UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
He said in the video before Court, there was nowhere, were Tayali mentioned him by the name of Siloka Munokalya but just said Chief Mukuni.

He also said the Mukuni Tayali was referring to was the one who stayed at Golden Peacock Hotel and that he (Chief Mukuni) did not stay at the said hotel during the time of gassing.

“lawyer: Did my client name you as Siloka? Chief Mukuni : No. Lawyer: Do you know Chief Mukuni of the Lenje speaking people in Central Province? Chief Mukuni : Yes I do. Lawyer: And all my client said was ask chief Mukuni? Chief Mukuni : Correct, and during the period of gassing I never slept at the hotel, and I never gassed.”

The traditional leader said he was also aware about the gassing and that it was not wrong for him to know about it.
When asked if he had submitted before the court a medical report showing how mentally stressful he was at the time, Chief Mukuni said he did not bring any evidence to suggest that he was mentally stressed as a result of the gassing allegations.
Two people have testified in the matter today.


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