By CHARLES MUSONDA
THERE was wailing and speaking in tongues as women threw themselves on the ground after Chishimba Kambwimba was yesterday sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour for forgery and uttering false documents.
If this sentence stands, Kambwili would be knocked out of the presidential race, either as president, running mate or indeed member of parliament for five (5) years.
A melee of mourning ensued outside courtroom number 3 after Deputy High Court Registrar David Simusamba, who sat as Principal Resident Magistrate convicted Kambwili and gave him a one year jail term with hard labour of the two accounts. Some ladies were throwing themselves on the ground while others screamed in disbelief.
After the case was adjourned, some of Kambwili’s children and relatives wept while others encouraged him to remain strong as he was driven away in a police prison truck commonly referred to as Kasalanga
The stunned relatives were galvanised into action after they realised that their relative was now a convict and tried to go and console him but police officers stopped them in their tracks. The horde of family members, party cadres and well wishers who included some church men and women, then trooped outside.
In what turned out to be a full scale mourning, family members both and women wept openly outside as Kambwili awaited transportation to Lusaka Correctional Facility, just opposite the Magistrate courts.
One female was seen crying and praying in tongues and asking Jesus to come down and show his power. “Ilangeni mwelesa, come down and show your mighty…..”.
Shocked cadres with tears rolling down their cheeks were subdued without their leader but vowed to stand by him.
Kambwili’s relatives could not hold back their grief as Mr Simusamba sent the former Roan member of Parliament to prison after finding him guilty on the two accounts of forgery and uttering false documents but acquitted him on the charge of giving false information to a public officer.
Mr. Simusamba sentenced Kambwili to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour in the first count of forgery and another 12 months in the second count of uttering false documents. The sentences will run concurrently meaning that Kambwili will only serve one year.
This was after the court was satisfied with the evidence that the national registration card (NRC) assigned to Kambwili’s son Mwamba at the registration of the convict’s company Mwamona Engineering Technical Services (METS) belonged to Kambwili’s sister Sampa.
Mr. Simusamba agreed with evidence of complainant Chilufya Tayali, who is Economic Equity Party (EEP) president, and arresting officer Stanley Mumbula that the person Mwamba Chishimba, whose name appeared as one of the directors in METS at its registration, was fictitious as Kambwili’s son was a minor aged eight and could not be a director at law in 2001.
In mitigation, defence lawyer Musa Mwenye said Kambwili is a family man with five children and a grandfather responsible for a large extended family. He said Kambwili is diabetic, hypertensive and that he sleeps with a sleeping machine without which he faces the danger of dying.