Tuesday, 10 February 2009
BOB MARLEY LOOK-ALIKE, MAIKO ZULU JAILED FOR GANJA PEDDLING
THE Lusaka Magistrate’s Court has jailed Lusaka reggae musician Maiko Zulu for six months suspended for one year on one charge of trafficking in five balls of cannabis weighing 17 grammes.
Magistrate David Simusamba said Zulu should not engage in any drug-related offences while serving the suspended sentence failure to which he would be slapped with a stiffer custodial sentence.
During the court hearing the Bob Marley look-alike remained calm and he followed proceedings.
The court also gave the International Labour Organisation (ILO) ambassador against child labour six months of community work during which he would be expected to visit 10 high schools in Lusaka to speak against the abuse of drugs.
Mr Simusamba told Zulu, 39, before a fully packed courtroom that he would additionally be expected to attend Government functions during holidays such as youth day to preach against drug abuse without pay whenever called upon.
Mr Simusamba said Zulu deserved lenience because he was a first offender and an icon in championing the fight against child labour in his community and the country at large.
“I have considered facts in the mitigation and it is apparent that the offender is a household name and a chief bread winner of both his family and the his extended one,” he said.
The sentence means that Zulu would serve the six months outside prison but should not commit an offence within the stipulated time or would be arrested to serve the sentence and be committed to the high court for further punishment.
Facts before the court were that on February 3, 2009, Zulu trafficked in marijuana contrary to section 6 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act Cap 96 of the laws of Zambia.
In his mitigation, Zulu through his lawyer, Sugzo Dzekedzeke pleaded with the court not give him a custodial sentence because he had not wasted the courts time and taxpayers’ money by admitting the charge without delay.
Zulu said if given the custodial sentence, his dependants would suffer because he was not just the chief bread winner of his household but also of his extended family including his mother and eight children from his deceased’s siblings.
He said that he had two school-going children who would suffer severely if he was given a custodial sentence.
Zulu said he was also an ILO ambassador against child labour and was coordinating a programme meant to create employment for the youths in the country, which was just about to commence.
Zulu said, should the custodial sentence be slapped on him, the ILO programmes would collapse.
The musician said he was also a coordinator of a football team in his community that sought to identify talent and prevent the youth from engaging in dangerous activities.
Zulu said through the Zambia Associations of Musicians he contributed about 15 percent to orphans and vulnerable children in society.
He said even though the quantity of cannabis that was found on him was not intended for commercial purposes, he regretted that he had committed the offence.
Outside the courtroom, Zulu told journalist that he had been given a fair trail and would work within the conditions of the sentence.
He said prisons were in a deplorable state and he would encourage everyone to desist from committing offences that would lead to jail sentences.
Musicians who included Brian Chengala, Angela Nyirenda, Saboi Imboila, Danny Peddle, Mozageta, Mathew Tembo, James Chamayanzi, Moses Sakala and comedian Bob Nkoshya attended the court session.