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NINE United Party for National Development (UPND) cadres have been acquitted in the case they were charged with idle and disorderly conduct likely to cause breach of peace along Independence Avenue in Lusaka.

 Lusaka Magistrate Felix Kaoma yesterday acquitted Eddy Nawa, a driver of Kabwata Cultural Village; Sydney Ngulube of Bauleni; John Wilima of Zanimuone; Nelson Banda of Kabanana; Wellington Mwanza; Henry Mutale of Bauleni; Levy Malilwa of Matero, John Kashokoto, and Nicholas Matongo. Mr. Kaoma said the prosecution’s evidence was not reliable and no reasonable tribunal could convict the accused persons on such testimony.

He said the State had failed to discharge its functions of proving its case against the accused persons beyond any reasonable doubt. He said the prosecution’s case was anchored on two witnesses, police officers who apprehended the accused persons but gave contradictory stories despite telling the court that they were together on December 23, 2020.

The accused persons were apprehended when UPND president Hakainde Hichilema appeared at the police headquarters for questioning. In his ruling yesterday, Mr. Kaoma said the first prosecution witness said the accused persons were assembled and apprehended between the High Court roundabout and Cabinet Office while the other one said they were assembled near Intercontinental Hotel.

 Mr. Kaoma also ordered that the two minibuses that were impounded in the row be released because none of the witnesses talked about the vehicles regarding where they impounded, how they were used, and how they were connected to the case.

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