COURT RESERVES RULING TO TOMORROW…. whether to discharge the bench warrant that was issued against Hon Chilangwa or not

Nickson Chilangwa
Nickson Chilangwa


…. whether to discharge the bench warrant that was issued against Hon Chilangwa or not

Kawambwa… Monday July 17, 2023 (SMART EAGLES)

The Kawambwa Subordinate Court has reserved its ruling to tomorrow Tuesday July 18, 2023 on whether to discharge the bench warrant that was issued against Kawambwa Central Member of Parliament Hon Nickson Chilangwa or not.

This was after the defense lawyer Jonas Zimba applied before the Kawambwa Subordinate Court that the bench warrant that was issued against Hon Chilangwa be discharged as the accused person has explained why he was not appearing before the court.

The Kawambwa subordinate court in May issued a bench warrant against Hon Chilangwa for absconding three court sessions.

When the matter came up for the return of the bench warrant, Magistrate Martin Namushi, sitting in the Kawambwa court reserved his ruling on whether to quash the bench warrant issued against Hon Chilangwa or not.

He since adjourned the court proceedings to tomorrow morning to rule on the matter and possible commencement of defense.

Earlier, Counsel Zimba submitted before the court that the accused person has explained why he was not appearing before the court and that the Kawambwa court may forgive him as he is sorry.

Counsel Zimba said the Criminal justice system in the 21st century is not punitive but corrective where one admits their short comings, the court may forgive.

And when asked by Magistrate Namushi before the fully packed courtroom why he was not appearing before the court, Hon Chilangwa said during the first session he was unwell and he sent notice to the court while on the second session he was appearing before the High Court in Lusaka.

“On 11th April as you have indicated your honor, I was unwell I was put on bed rest because I was taking mediation, that’s why I didn’t come. I sent the documentation to the court to show that I was on bed rest. I sent it through the lawyer who was available on that day. I sent the sick note through my Lawyers from Andrew & Partners because we had resolved our differences by then to start representing me,” he informed Magistrate Namushi.

“On the 22nd May, I sent a notice to this court your honor and the notice I sent was requesting for adjournment because on the same date I was appearing before the High Court. According to my findings, I was told that when you are a contender, when you have been summoned by two courts at the same time you appear before the higher court. That’s why I decided to appear before the High Court which is higher than this one. The records are with the lawyers who represented me at High Court through Makebi Zulu Advocates. When we went to court on the 22nd, Justice Timothy Katenekwa did not come to the court because he was unwell and the court adjourned to the 24 May, 2023.”

He said looking at the distance from Lusaka to Kawambwa which is over 1000 kilometers, it was not possible to attend the court on 23 and then go back to attend the High Court session on 24.

“It was arising from that I sent another notice to this court to adjourn and set another date. On the 24 we appeared before Justice Katenekwa at 14:30. My Lawyers will provide before the court the records to show I was in the High Court. Unfortunately when we went to the High Court on that day, Justice Katenekwa was still unwell and the case was adjourned to a later date. On the 24 this court issued a bench warrant against me, I was confused, shocked and disturbed greatly that a bench warrant was issued against me and that the police should arrest me and bundle me like a criminal,” he submitted before the court.

“I was not in my right frame of mind that the police should bring me to this court like a criminal because am not a criminal and I failed to drive here. I am sorry because it may seem I disrespected this court but I did not. If only this court had shown some discretion to warn me that if I fail to appear before the court, I would have come before even issuing the bench warrant.”

Earlier, Counsel Boniface Chiwala asked for lenience from the court saying the accused person is sorry and has ably explained why he was not appearing before the court.

“The state has said our client has failed to account for the eight days, I produced two notices from the high court supported by two judges to show that the accused person was appearing before the High Court. Looking at his status as a MP for Kawambwa, definitely he was going to be bundled in a police vehicle and that is shameful. He has informed the court that it was not deliberate. We implore this court to accept the explanation offered, extend your good heart and good judgment as you handle this matter,” submitted Counsel Chiwala.

Meanwhile, State Advocate Mwala Museta urged the court not to entertain the explanation gave by the accused person.

“The accused person has only accounted himself for only two days 22nd and 24 May, 2023 and he has clearly failed to account for eight days. And the dates in question were agreed with himself at the time he was unrepresented. He has equally not disclosed before you your honor that in fact he did rush to the High Court in Lusaka to have the bench warrant that was lawfully issued by this court to be quashed as well as to have these proceedings stayed. We invite the court not to entertain his explanation,” he said.

This is in the case where Pambashe Member of Parliament Hon Ronald Kaoma Chitotela and his Kawambwa Central counterpart Hon Chilangwa and five others have been charged with one count of arson, threatening violence, malicious damage to property and four counts of assault.

Other people accused in this case are Kawambwa Mayor Chifumbe Kalumba, Kunda Chitotela, Chabu Chitotela, Davy Kaniki and Charity Chibwe Musanto.

It is alleged that on August 12, 2021, the two lawmakers and five others while acting together assaulted four UPND members, damaged the windscreen of the Mahindra Bolero motor vehicle valued at K400, 000 before allegedly setting it ablaze and further threatened violence.

The accused persons are being represented by Counsels Benjamin Mwelwa, Jonas Zimba, Boniface Chiwala and Kampamba Kombe.

State Advocates include Mwala Museta, Senior Public Prosecutor Wilson Mwale and Public Prosecutor Sinyinda Mbangweta.

Hon Chilangwa has since remained in custody at Kawambwa Correctional Facility.


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