UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has petitioned the Lusaka High Court to quash the charges leveled against him concerning the Sudan militia story.
This is in a matter where Mr. Hichilema is charged with one count of publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public contrary to section 67(1) (2) of the Penal Code Chapter 876 of the laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the offence are that on 11th June 2012, Mr. Hichilema did orally publish statements in which he said inter alia that “PF had signed an arrangement for the Militia in Sudan to train PF youths. Prepare for trouble. Do you know what is going on in Darfur? Do you know what is going on in Abyei? Do you know what is going on there? Killings!” a statement which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public.”
Mr. Hichilema stated that being a politician, he had a constitutional right to comment and fire salvos and issues warning even in the most venomous, satirical and or disparaging manner on issues of public interest and generally on the conduct of public authorities such as the decision for the ruling PF to sign a memorandum with a military and authoritarian regime of Sudan.
Mr. Hichilema has also asked the courts to declare that his arrest and indictment for expressing himself on the matter of the PF signing a memorandum to send cadres “youth” to Sudan for training regardless of whether it was true or false was excessive, undemocratic and an infringement of his constitutional right and freedoms of expression of expression as enshrined under Article 21 of the constitution.
He also seek the High Court to declare that section 67 of the Penal Code Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia in its entirety is vague, excessive and undemocratic and therefore in contravention with Article 21 of the constitution.
The opposition leader has also asked the court to order quashing the indictment against the respondent on allegations of publication of false news contrary to section 67 for being an infringement of his constitutional rights and freedoms of expression under Article 21 of the laws of Zambia.
“Further and or in the alternative an Order to annul the provisions of section 67 (1) and (2) of the Penal Code Cap 87 and thereby invalidating the prosecution of the petitioner (Mr. Hichilema) under the said provisions of the law,” the petition stated.
Mr. Hichilema also wants an interim directive pursuant to Article 94(7) of the constitution of the Criminal Proceedings against him in the matter to be stayed pending determination of the petition and any other relief the court may deem fit and necessary in the administration of justice and costs.
Mr Hichilema is represented by Messrs Dindi and company, Messrs Muleza Mwimbu and Company, Messrs Central Chambers, Messrs Mushipe and Associates, Messrs George Kunda and Company, Messrs Milner Katolo and Associates, Messrs Mvunga and Company and Messrs Kabesha and Company,