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Tayali denies harassing Chief Mukuni

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Economic and Equity Party Leader Chilufya Tayali has denied incriminating Chief Mukuni Munokalya Siloka for engineering terrorism activities of gassing homes and schools which hit the country in the early months of 2020.

The State made an application before Lusaka principal resident magistrate Sylvia Munyinya to amend the indictment by altering Chief Mukuni’s tittle from Senior Chief Mukuni to Chief Mukuni.

This was after the James Chileshe an assistant director in charge of chief affairs at the ministry of local government and rural development indicated that there’s only one traditional leader named chief Mukuni of the toka leya people in Southern province.

He affirmed that the only person who goes by the title Senior chief Mukuni is Phanwell Chikalakasa known as chief Mukuni Ng’ombe of the lenje speaking people in central province.

Public prosecutor Darlington Mukelelabo asked the court to invoke section 213 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to amend the the particulars of the offence on the indictment by way of alteration of senior chief Mukuni to chief Mukuni based on the evidence adduced before Court.

Tayali’s lawyer Benjamin Mwelwa opposed the application on reasons that an injustice would be occasioned to Tayali.

“We object to the application as it is prejudicial to our client as the alteration goes to the root of the indictment which s the identity of the person in question which has been a contentious issue,”Mwelwa argued.

Tayali’s other lawyer Joseph Chirwa said though the State is allowed to amend a charge at anytime, there was a limitation in line with Article 18 of the constitution.

“The obligation to amend the charge cannot be done in the vacuum at the expense of a fair trial. The State cannot amend the charge in the eleventh hour. The horse has already left the stable the State cannot be given a second bite at the cherry to cure the mistakes. There are other avenues the state might exercise,” said Chirwa.

In reply Mukelelabo said the State would stand by its application to amend the charge at this stage.

“The provision of the law cited by the State permits an amendment of the charge at any stage of the trial before an accused is required to make a defence. It’s not yet a late hour we are within the provision of the law,” he said.

He said Section 213 of the CPC allows an amendment when the evidence and the particulars of the offence are at variance.

“Chief Mukuni said he is chief Mukuni and not senior chief Mukuni. The evidence speaks to chief Mukuni but there’s a typographical error on the charge. The alteration does not got to the root of the charge,” said Mukelelabo.

Magistrate Munyinya granted the application by the State and ordered that Tayali Takes fresh plea.

His lawyers requested for an adjournment in order to have an interface with their client in order to make him understand what transpired but magistrate Munyiya declined saying Tayali is sharp and was keenly following the proceedings.

Tayali took fresh plea after the matter was stood down for five minutes and denied his criminal charge.

He further requested that chief Mukuni be recalled to testify in the matter which application was granted by the Court.

Magistrate Munyinya adjourned the case to August 14.

Tayali 48 of house no.38, Ngwezi road Roma Township has been dragged to Court by Chief Mukuni for harassment by utilizing means of electronic communication.

Tayali on November 10, 2022 with intent to harass and cause emotional distress by use of computer system went live on his Facebook and issued a statement against senior chief Munokalya Siloka Mukuni alleging that he was the master minder of the gassing incidents that characterized the country between 2019 and 2020 for the purpose of getting then opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema out of prison.

-Kalemba

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