The fault of indisposed Magistrate
By Melanie Nathan, June 25, 2014.
Philip Mubiana, a hair dresser, and his alleged partner James Mwape, a brick-layer, have been held without bail in Zambia for well over a year, while their case has been stalled at the dilatory hand of the State.
How many times can a magistrate be indisposed? How many times can a case be postponed because of the tardy behavior of State officials? This is the markings of Zambia’s judicial system and all the while diplomat watchdogs from the U.S. and German Embassies are in attendance, as the Zambian judicial system allows two young men to languish in deplorable conditions without bail.
Judgement in the case involving two men of Kapiri Mposhi allegedly engaging in homosexuality could not be delivered yesterday, for a third time, because the magistrate was not available.
The two men, both aged 21, have been charged with offenses of ‘having sex against the order of nature’, contrary to the penal code in Zambia.
Kapiri Mposhi magistrate in charge Ackson Mumba yesterday said he was aware that Kabwe Principal Resident Magistrate John Mbuzi was expected to deliver his judgement but he was indisposed. Mumba said Mbuzi indicated that he would be ready to deliver his judgment on July 10 this year.
The Men’s lawyer asked for an earlier date. Having hearing from both the prosecution and defense, Mumba told Mubiana and Mwape that Mbuzi was indisposed and he had adjourned delivery of judgement to July 3 next week.
After the adjournment, United States embassy Charge d’Affaires David Young, German ambassador to Zambia Bernd Finke and UNAIDS country director Helen Frary expressed disappointment at the adjournments.
“Unfortunately, the case has been adjourned without a decision. They [Mubiana and Mwape] have been held for over a year without bail.
“We believe that is unfortunate,” Mr Young said in a joint statement.
An LGBT human rights defender, Chalwe Charles Mwansa, who is currently on a visit to the United States noted:
“Members of the diplomatic corps have on several occasions visited with James and Philip since late last year (2013) and have been appearing at Kapiri magistrate court to lend solidarity.
It’s high time politicians stopped playing the “blame game” around peoples personal lives and focus upon the real issues hurting ordinary Zambians, which include high unemployment rates, zero to no access of quality heath care services, and rapid population growth.”.
In count one, Mubiana allegedly permitted Mwape, between April 11 and April 25 last year to have sex with him against the order of nature.
In count two, it is alleged that Mwape, on unknown dates but between April 11 and April 24 last year, permitted Mubiana to have sex with him against the order of nature.
In count three, Mwape is accused of having permitted Mubiana to have sex with him on May 5 last year while Mubiana also faces the same offence in count four.
The two have denied any wrong-doing, but Mr Mbuzi in March this year found them with a case to answer and put them on their defence.
HERE is a look back at our coverage on Zambia, the hostility and maltreatment of Zambian Human Rights Defenders, and the horrendous treatment of the two young men in the Kapiri Mposhi case:
By Melanie Nathan, June 02, 2014. Two men of Kapiri Mposhi appeared in court, yet again, for allegedly practicing homosexuality. The case which has taken well over a year, should have been concluded on Friday with a judgment from the magistrate. Instead he was unavailable and the Court heard that he was unprepared to issue […]
I AM WONDERING when we are going to hear more about this travesty from international activists. Has Russia put us to sleep on Africa? Usurping all our outrage for the human right infractions against LGBT people in Africa? By Melanie Nathan, September 13, 2013. The Lusaka High Court has ruled that trial should commence in […]
Human Rights Infractions Threaten Lives of Two 21 year old Men Perceived as Gay Couple By Melanie Nathan, September 01, 2013. For almost five months, two young men have been languishing in an overcrowded and disease ridden Zambian jail, and while a Magistrate keeps them incarcerated with little evidence to an alleged crime, witnesses fail […]
Inaccurate media reports could be exacerbated by privacy of trial, while Magistrate ‘s call for closed trial may evidence prejudice during time when Zambian Government calls to hunt down gays, By Melanie Nathan, June 11, 2013. Please note update (6/12/) below, where Magistrate denies trial is being heard in camera and accuses a Reporter of […]
Zambian High Court to hear Freedom of Expression challenge after call to hunt down homosexuals arrest
It is believed that Kasonkomona was specifically targeted amidst the Zambian government’s call to “hunt down homosexuals” By Cathy Kristofferson, June 05, 2013 The court case of Zambian Paul Kasonkomona which we have reported on here on OBLOGDEE was today transferred to that country’s High Court for the constitutional challenge Kasonkomona and his defense are seeking. […]