SIAMUNENE ATTACKED

 

UPND cadres on Thursday caused confusion at the Livingstone High Court when they attacked former Defence minister Richwell Siamunene outside court and had to be rescued by the police.. The cadres, who were clad in their party regalia, almost disrupted court proceedings after they charged at the former Sinazongwe parliamentarian outside the court in an attempt to physically harm him. Quick action by Zambia Police officers and court security officials saved Mr Siamunene, who looked unsettled and puzzled by the turn of events. Some cadres were heard hurling insults at the former minister while others were telling him to withdraw his petition from the court, saying he had lost the election. The police had a tough time to restrain the cadres frombringing confusion at the court premises and only managed disperse them after 10 minutes. Mr Siamunene was at the Livingstone High Court in a matter in which he has petitioned the election of UPND’s Gift Sialubalo as Sinazongwe MP in the August 11, 2016, general elections. And speaking to the Daily Nation shortly after the incident, Mr. Siamunene wondered why the UPND leadership would deploy cadres at the court premises to block him from proceeding with the petition. Mr. Siamunene charged that it was clear the UPND was scared that the election of Mr Sialubalo was going to be nullified because it was marred by electoral malpractices. “They are saying they do not want me to proceed with the case. I do not know why they are scared but this is uncalled for. The law provides that those that are not happy with the outcome of an election can seek recourse in the courts,” he said. He said that it was his constitutional right to petition the Sinazongwe seat, adding that the UPND should not stand in his way. Mr. Siamunene, who looked scared, said that the UPND must learn to respect the law. Meanwhile, Mr Siamunene has asked the High Court to declare the election of Mr Sialubalo null and void. Siamunene, 44, has told the High Court that the election of Mr Sialubalo could not be deemed to be free and fair because of alleged widespread violence, intimidation, bribery and other electoral malpractices instigated by UPND supporters. Appearing before Livingstone High Court Judge Matthews Zulu yesterday, Mr Siamunene said the election of Mr Sialubalo did not reflect the wishes of the people of Sinazongwe. Mr Siamunene, who is the petitioner and first witness, is being represented by Mr Bonaventure Mutale of Ellis and Company as well as  Mr. Friday Besa of Besa Legal Practitioners while Mr Sialubalo is being represented by Mr Cheelo Mwiinga of MAK Partners. The former Defence minister polled 6,171 votes while Mr Sialubalo got more than 34,000 votes. “The widespread violence, intimidation, bribery and other electoral malpractices prevented me from getting the votes that I needed. My supporters were threatened, insulted and even chased from some polling stations. There was undue influence on the electorate,” he said.

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