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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 14:52 GMT 15:52 UK
Strike delays Chiluba case
By Bivan Saluseki
BBC, Lusaka

A state prosecutor has postponed the trial of the former president of Zambia, Frederick Chiluba, after striking judiciary workers paralysed magistrates' courts in the capital, Lusaka..

Frederick Chiluba with his wife, Regina
Mr Chiluba faces 96 counts of theft by a public servant

Zambia's public services have been badly affected by a civil service strike over demands for the payment of housing allowances, which the government says it does not have.

Mr Chiluba who faces theft charges, arrived at the courthouse with his wife, Regina, amid tight security on Wednesday morning.

Inside the court, the former president, greeted waiting journalists and sat patiently with a few of his former aides.

However, the court was devoid of officials, who were supposed to handle the case files.

Jokes

Later, a state prosecutor announced changes in the dates for Mr Chiluba's trial, saying that he had been unable to find any court clerks and interpreters.

Mr Chiluba, a former trade union leader, went to the court's media gallery and joked that he would have resolved the current strike in the country, if he were still a trade union leader.

President Levy Mwanawasa
Mr Mwanawasa's government has no money to pay workers

He then shook his head and left.

The former Zambian president is facing almost 100 counts of theft by a public servant, and is jointly charged with former Zambian ambassador to the USA, Attan Shansonga, and several other aides.

One of Mr Chiluba's lawyers said that the case would resume on Friday, if the government and trade unions managed to resolve their dispute.

Meanwhile, most workers stayed at home on Wednesday - day two of the strike.

It was though, business as usual at Zambia's biggest hospital, the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, although its staff, have threatened to join the strike should the government fail to meet their demands by the end of August.




SEE ALSO:
Charges mount against Chiluba
05 Aug 03  |  Africa
Zambia ex-leader on theft charge
24 Feb 03  |  Africa
Chiluba loses immunity appeal
19 Feb 03  |  Africa
Chiluba's legacy to Zambia
19 Dec 01  |  Africa
Country profile: Zambia
29 Nov 02  |  Country profiles


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