ALLIANCE for Better Zambia (ABZ) leader Frank Bwalya has u-turned on his earlier decision to defend himself against a charge of defaming the president by applying for leave to engage legal representation.
Bwalya who has been representing himself from the time he was put on trial, changed tack saying he thought it prudent to engage SBN Chambers to represent him because the stakes in the case were high.
Particulars of the case where that Bwalya made derogatory statements on a live radio show where called Republican President Michael Sata.
Presiding magistrate Vincent Siloka allowed the application and set May 6 for as the new date on which the opposition leader would begin his defence.
Bwalya, 45, a former Catholic priest now turned politician of house number 5607 Mwase Close Riverside in Kitwe also complained of verbal harassment and haranguing from Patriotic Front carders at the court buildings.
Magistrate Siloka warned the PF members from turning court premises into rally-like arena.
“Insults and demeaning statements must not be used at the court premises. It is not members of the public to try the accused and he should be treated as innocent till proven guilty.
“Do o not tempt the court to punish you. The court cannot be swayed by political inclinations,” Mr Siloka said.
And in an interview after coming out of court, Bwalya who carried a large white sweet potato which he said would be part of his defence has assembled a 170-strong coterie of witnesses.
“Though there might be more witnesses than 170 I have lined up,” he added.