Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mpombo's conviction annoys many Lambas

Mpombo's conviction annoys many Lambas
By Patson Chilemba, Darious Kapembwa and Abigail Chaponda
Wed 11 Aug. 2010, 04:02 CAT

Kafulafuta’s MMD Mutaba Ward councilor David Kalutwa yesterday said MMD should forget about Kafulafuta Constituency as long as George Mpombo remained incarcerated. And chieftainess Malembeka’s brother Hyback Mwanza said Lambas were not happy with the arrest and sentencing of Mpombo.

Meanwhile, Mpombo on Monday applied for bail pending appeal after filing a notice of appeal in the Ndola High Court against his conviction and sentencing by magistrate Kelvin Limbani. The application for bail is scheduled to be heard this Friday.

In an interview, Kalutwa said the people in Lambaland fully understood the reasons that had landed Mpombo in jail.

“Many people are aware that Honourable Mpombo’s conviction is as a result of his stance on the MMD convention and complaints about a total departure from what late president Levy Mwanawasa stood by and the general style of governance under President Rupiah Banda,” Kalutwa said.

“If they want to create a by-election, then they should forget about Kafulafuta because no one can beat Honourable Mpombo. He is a man of the people and all the people, including traditional leaders, are all behind George Mpombo. You saw that all councillors attended court every time Mpombo appeared in court.”

Kalutwa said people like works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti should not even mislead the party’s top leadership that they were ready for an election because they would terribly lose to anyone as long as Mpombo was not on their side.

“Shikapwasha and Mulongoti should know that MMD in Kafulafuta exists because of this man Mpombo,” Kalutwa said.

He charged that Mulongoti was not known in Lambaland and wondered why he was playing with a popular person like Mpombo.

“Mulongoti does not exist. He exists just on paper because how can one celebrate the incarceration of a brother if really Mulongoti is a Christian in a Christian nation?” he wondered.

Kalutwa explained that the mood in Kafulafuta was bad following Mpombo’s conviction because people knew that he was being persecuted for speaking the truth and were ready to go with him even further.

And Mwanza requested President Rupiah Banda to order the release of Mpombo if he was as loving and peaceful as he claimed. In an interview yesterday, Mwanza said Lambas were not happy with the arrest and sentencing of Mpombo.

“We are not happy. In fact, I am speaking on behalf of the chieftainess. Lambas are very bitter because of this development. This clearly shows that this is the end of MMD in Lambaland,” he said.

“President Banda should not be using double standards. It is wrong, he is a leader and should be able to tolerate people, not the way he is doing things. I am telling you that if he doesn’t release ba Mpombo, then it means he hates Lambas; and we will see what is going to happen next year. He released the PF cadres last week; let him do the same for ba Mpombo because he says he is a peaceful and loving President.”

And UPND Copperbelt Province chairman Elisha Matambo accused President Banda of being a dictator. Matambo said President Banda was a chameleon who was busy preaching the continuity of the late president Levy Mwanawasa’s legacy when in fact he was actively abusing and persecuting the Lamba people.

“People of Zambia should not allow that chap to continue next year. It looks like he is running the police and the Judiciary. He ordered the arrest of our president Hichilema, he ordered the arrest of Post news editor Chansa Kabwela, he ordered the acquittal of former president Frederick Chiluba. What kind of a person is he?” Matambo asked.

He urged all Lambas to stand by Mpombo while he is in prison because he was their ambassador in Parliament. Matambo said President Banda and Terence Findlay were happy that Mpombo was in prison.

“This was just a trap by Findlay and President Banda so that Mpombo keeps quiet, but we are behind him. He is a Lamba, he is our friend and we love him. We are not going to leave him alone because he is like an ambassador for the Lambas,” he said.

Matambo announced that in 10 days' time, Lambas on the Copperbelt would stage a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Mpombo.

“What has happened to Mpombo should happen to Lucy Changwe as well because President Banda is not going to like what Lambas are going to do. Mpombo is a good man, and we Lambas are not going to allow President Banda to persecute and abuse a Lamba. We are not going to allow that,” said Matambo.

PF spokesperson Given Lubinda said Mpombo’s conviction was a well-orchestrated move to destroy all dissenting views.

Lubinda said there was nothing criminal in Mpombo’s action because he did not intend to rob the bank. He said the law on the bouncing of cheques criminalised those who bounced cheques with the intention to defraud.

Lubinda said there should be caution on the use of legislation governing cheque payments because it could easily be used to mete out political punishment. He said President Banda was averse to criticism but very good at rewarding bootlickers like works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti and gender deputy minister Lucy Changwe.

“Isn’t this the reason why criminals like Lucy Changwe are not being prosecuted because they are bootlickers of those in power?” Lubinda asked.

And according to the notice of appeal filed before the Ndola High Court on Monday, Mpombo contends that the trial magistrate erred in law when he found that he acted dishonestly and with intention to defraud when he issued the cheque (that was dishonoured on account of insufficient funds in his account).

“The magistrate erred in law in his failure to appreciate that the subject offence was not a strict liability offence and upon the prosecution to prove ‘mens rea (guilty mind)’,” stated Mpombo.

Mpombo’s lawyers on Monday failed to secure bail for him. His lawyer Terrence Mwape Chabu of Ellis and Company kept trekking between Kansenshi Prisons and the magistrate’s court to try and secure bail for Mpombo.

Chabu explained that the bail application was a matter of urgency and prayed that the court could reserve a few minutes to hear the application.

Mpombo’s sympathisers stayed on at Kansenshi Prisons from morning until 17:45 hours, waiting to hear the outcome of the bail application, but were annoyed when they were informed that the application would only be heard on Friday.

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