Former Managing Editor of the Zambia Daily Mail Davis Mataka and his assistant Ngande Mwanjiti who are appearing in the magistrate court together have turned down an offer to turn against their co-accused as state witnesses.
According to sources inside the court, Mataka and Mwanajiti were approached during the course of so called investigations by the GJI on instructions from the Attorney General Mumba Malila and the Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP, Mutembo Nchito so that the duo could turn on Phiri the former permanent secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services and in the process implicate the former minister, Lt. Gen. Ronnie Shikapwasha.
“The state offered the two reward money if they turned against Phiri as ultimately they want to get at Shikapwasha who is also Movement for Multi-Party Democracy, MMD, Keembe member of parliament so that if he is convicted a by-election is created,” revealed the sources. “It looks like this whole thing of taking these people court is not in good faith,” the sources added.
The sources have indicated that Mataka and Mwanjiti are still being pursued in the hope that they will crack and turn state witnesses. For Mwanajiti, this perhaps explains why he took a soft stance on President Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front, PF, when he recently appeared on the Radio Phoenix Let The People Talk phone-in programme recently. As for Mataka, it may not be surprising if he turned state witness as his uncle a former deputy secretary to the cabinet in the MMD regime is serving as Zambia’s High Commissioner to Botswana.
Not too long ago Andrew Banda’s co-accused was coerced into turning state witness a move engineered by the DPP which led to lawyer Sakwiba Sikota. State Counsel to withdraw his legal representation of Banda due to a conflict of interests as Band’s co-accused was also his client. This is a space that Zambians must watch with keen interest.