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Military court sentences DRC MP to death on treason charges



A military court in the Democratic Republic of Congo has sentenced a Member of Parliament in the country, Édouard Mwangachuchu to death on treason charges.

The High Military Court sitting in Kinshasa delivered the judgement on Friday after finding Mwangachuchu guilty of alleged participation in the M23 insurrection movement, a rebel group made up of predominantly Tutsis, which is Mwangachuchu’s ethnic group, local media reports.

Mwangachuchu, 70, who is the elected representative of Masisi, in the troubled province of North Kivu in eastern DRC, is also the owner of a strategic mining company located in the province, from which prosecutors say proceeds were used to fund the militia group.

According to military prosecutors, weapons of war originating from North Kivu were discovered concealed within several safes.

The presiding judge of the Military High Court, General Robert Kalala told journalists that Mwangachuchu was found guilty of “illegal possession of weapons and munitions of war”, “participation in the M23 insurrectionary movement” and “treason”.

He added that guards who served at Mwangachuchu’s society were predominantly Tutsis who were demobilized from the Rwandan army and operated in the uniform of the Congolese national police.

“These uniforms were allegedly provided with the complicity of provincial administrative authorities,” Gen. Kalala said.

“The proceedings against Mr. Mwangachuchu were triggered when the M23 rebels, who had seized the mining town of Rubaya in North Kivu, were dislodged by the local natives organized in a self-defense movement.

“The latter had then discovered a cache of weapons on the Bibatama site belonging to the Bisunzu mining company (SMB), owned by Mr. Mwangachuchu.”

But Mwangachuchu’s defence team, which had pleaded for an acquittal, said it would appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court.

Mwangachuchu’s lead counsel, Thomas Gamakolo, who addressed a press conference after the verdict, denounced what he termed as the “iniquitous decision, motivated by considerations alien to the law”.

According to Gamakolo, the “trial was based on ethnic hatred and deductions”.

“We have never been able to prove that Mr. Mwangachuchu has any links with Rwanda, but because of his ‘Tutsity’, we have established a presumption of guilt. It is very difficult today in our country to live or exist as a Tutsi,” lamented Gamakolo.


Zambian govt rejects ‘light’ sentence of PF chieftain, Kambwili, appeals for two-year term



The Zambian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Gilbert Phiri, has rejected what he described as the light prison sentence of five months given to a stalwart of the Patriotic Front (PF), Chishimba Kambwili.

Kambwili, a former Foreign Affairs Minister, was last week convicted by a Kasama Resident Magistrate, Samson Mumba, after he was found guilty of hate speech against the Tonga people of Southern Province, and committed to the Milima Prison in Kasama District.

While delivering the judgement, Mumba said Kambwili was guilty of the offence of expressing hatred and ridicule for persons because of tribe and place of origin.

The former Minister of Information and Publicity was said to have issued anti-Tonga tribal remarks during the 2021 elections when he featured on a live radio programme.

He was later suspended for a month by the Electoral Commission of Zambia ( ECZ) over the said remarks.

But Phiri has rejected the five months jail term and is insisting that the offence should have carried a maximum of two years sentence.

The DPP, which filed an appeal at the Lusaka High Court, raised two grounds in the notice, arguing that Mumba had “erred in law when he sentenced the convict to a term of five months imprisonment with hard labour for the offence of hate speech which carries maximum sentence of two years.”

Phiri also argued that the trial “erred in law when it misapplied the principals of sentencing in relation to the gravity and nature of the offence committed.”

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Tinubu talks tough, vows punishment for anyone culpable in deadly bombing of civilians



President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria has vowed that any individual found culpable in the bombing of Tudun Biri village in Kaduna State, North-West Nigeria, where over 120 civilians were killed last Sunday, will not go unpunished.

Tinubu, who made the vow on Thursday, also assured that all the injured victims would be well taken care of by the government under the Folako Initiative which would commence later this month, while the affected communities would be rebuilt under the new intiative.

Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, embarked on a visit alongside a high-powered government delegation to wounded victims at Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna. He explained that the government would do everything possible to ensure that such an unfortunate incident dod not occur again.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu sent us to commensurate with the people of Kaduna over the tragic incident,” Shettima said.

“The calibre of people that are here with me is a testimony on how deeply touched the president was by the incident.

“The President was deeply touched by what happened. We will like to assure the people and government of Kaduna State that the government will take measures to protect and preserve the interest of our nation.

“The victims will be well taken care of under the Fulako Initiative which will commence by this month and this community will be the first to be rebuilt in north west zone.

“All measures will be taken to ensure that future occurrence is averted. Government will get to the root of the issue and anyone found culpable will be punished accordingly,” Shettima added.

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