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“FUGITIVE” musician, Chama Fumba, popularly known as ‘Pilato’ appeared before a Lusaka’s magistrate court yesterday charged with disobeying lawful orders.

Fumba appeared before magistrate Mwaka Mikalile together with Laura Miti, Chama Fumba, Zambia Council for Social Development executive director Lewis Mwape, Bornwell Mwewa, Mwika Mwambazi, and Patriots for Economic Progress (PEP) president Sean Tembo. They are all charged with disobeying of lawful orders following their protest in September 2017 against the procurement of 42 fire engines.

Fumba was arrested yesterday on arrival from South Africa at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) at about 15:30 hours by plain clothed police officers.

A warrant for Fumba’s arrest was issued on February 5 after he failed to appear in the Lusaka Magistrate Court on charges connected to his participation in a protest over the purchase of the 42 fire trucks.

When the matter came up for the return of the bench arrest warrant, magistrate Mikalile asked the accused why he had not been appearing before court since the time the matter was brought to court.

In response, Fumba said he had not been appearing because he gone out of the country. He said he left the country because he felt his life was in danger after he released a song called ‘koswe mumpoto’ and started receiving threats from strange people through telephone calls, WhatsApp messages and videos on how he would be dealt with severely.

He said he did not flee the country to run away from justice but for his own safety because of the threats he received from people.“Your honour I did not flee the country because of running away from the institutions of justice but because of the threats I received from people and I felt my life was in danger.

“I had reported the matter to the police but nothing was being done which caused me to flee for safety, and when I was leaving the country, I had not appeared before any court,” he said.

He further said he was under the protection of Amnesty International which had written a letter to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) over his case.

“I have the letter from Amnesty International which was written to the DPP and a CD containing video evidence of the threats directed to me,” he said.

He said his lawyers advised him to return to the country and upon arrival, he was arrested.

After his explanations, all the accused were asked to take a plea and they all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

And defence lawyer Keith Mweemba applied to the court to restore Fumba’s police bond following the evidence that he had brought before court.

However, the state objected to the application arguing that the accused had not demonstrated to the court why he left the country.

The court reserved ruling for May 21, 2018.

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