‘Rioting’ UNZA students set free

The State has withdrawn the matter in which 13 University of Zambia (UNZA) students were facing a charge of conduct likely to cause the breach of peace due to lack of witnesses.

The students, who were arrested with 26 others, were discharged by Lusaka Magistrate Ireen Wishimanga after the State made an application pursuant to section 88(a) of the Penal Code.

Before Ms Wishimanga were Kunda Katumbo, Sylvia Siwakwi, Remmy Mbuzi, Muleya Siachinja, Matongo Lwendo, Imaan Maliki, Condrone Chiyabi, Malama Mubanga, Kachinga Mtongo, Luchen Matimba, Veronica Kabanda, Ratifah Kambeu, Mulenga Sipola and Mirriam Zulu.

The State withdrew the charge against the students after being warned several times by Ms Wishimanga that she would discharge the accused if the prosecution failed to bring witnesses to court to commence trial.

When the matter came up yesterday, the State informed the court that they wished to withdraw the matter. Magistrate Wishimanga granted the application and discharged the accused.

She, however, warned the students that a discharge was not an acquittal but once the State were ready with the witnesses they may be brought to court any time.

In February this year, 26 UNZA students were arrested and charged with conduct likely to cause the breach of the peace when protesting against non-payment of meal allowances.

The students appeared in different court rooms before Magistrates Ireen Wishimanga, Sylvia Munyinya and Fides Hamaundu.

Before Magistrate Hamaundu was Ngandu Lushomo, 20, Omah Mwansa, 24, Webster Kayope, 20,  Kayombo Mbundu, 24, John Mbonge, 20, Reuben Kamanga, 21, Muhau Lubinda, 22, Muzyamba Munaswaba, 23, Dominic Beenzu, 22, Ben Mwanza, 36, Temwa Singogo, 22, Hantoongo Shaya, 20, Kapanda Kapanda, 24, and Nyambe Sepiso, 21.

The 26 were facing a charge of idle and disorderly conduct.

It was alleged that on February 2 this year, while acting together with others unknown, the students did publicly conduct themselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace.

They were arrested during a protest demanding to be paid full bursaries barely 24 hours after their counterparts at the Copperbelt University also rioted demanding to be paid their meal allowances

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