Ideally it is an arrest that should not have taken place in the first place. And worse was the charge law enforcement agencies chose to dress Mwaliteta and his co-accused with -aggravated robbery.
It certainly achieved its short term objective of keeping Mwaliteta and his colleagues behind bars considering that the charge is non bailable.
What Mwaliteta and his gang did was unacceptable as they attempted to take the law into their own hands by wrestling materials from an Electoral Commission of Zambia van.
But to have bundled away the gang for one year on a ridiculous charge of aggravated robbery smacked of the highest case abuse of power.
Not many will forget how hard it was to bring the gang before the courts of law on the charge of aggravated robbery.
It had to take attempts by their lawyers to arm twist the system by the threat of pushing for an appeal for constitutional bail.
The tragedy is not that Mwaliteta has served his undeserved one year behind bars on a trumped up charge but that another political office holder may in future apply the same standards.
It is not the fact that those that are irritating government are being caged that should worry any student of history but that dangerous precedents being set daily by the system in dealing with political opponents may be back to torment today’s tormentors.
Naturally when one is on the side of the divide of those that control and enjoy state power, there could be no need to see sense in the emerging trend of some identical template of dealing with political opponents.
If the idea was to set Mwaliteta as an example of what could befall those that stand at variance with the ruling party establishment, then the effect could be opposite as the case has ended in the only manner it could when subjected to a stringent legal test.
Mwaliteta may be lucky to have emerged from this ordeal strong enough to carry on with his political party beliefs but in truth there could be an incentive for seeing a different light on the post incarceration period.
Zambians need to step back and reflect on the events that have befallen the once upon a time democratic pillar. We welcome Mwaliteta back to the outside world where he can freely participate in helping the political party of his choice assume power.
While we are still on it, Mwaliteta may have been bruised the last 12 months, but it is the tax payers the biggest losers who will be forced to compensate him if he so wishes to contest the wrongful incarceration.
Poor Zambians will be squeezed by ZRA to meet Mwaliteta’s settlement while those who engineered this blunder stay put sipping on their favourite drinks. It harms no one to think through our actions especially when charged with national responsibility.