A garden boy’s affection for the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) uniform has landed him in trouble after he was taken to court for unlawfully wearing his employer’s (ZAF colonel’s) attire. Prince Mwanza, 23, of Chelston Obama in Lusaka, allegedly wore a ZAF uniform and used his new-look military attire to propose love to a woman through a Facebook message. The youth was apprehended when the woman, 28-year-old Alice Chimula of Chilenje, he had proposed love and marriage to went to physically meet him at City Airport in Lusaka.
Mwanza was later arrested and charged with the offence of unlawful wearing of a uniform. It is alleged that between February 1 and April 30 last year, Mwanza unlawfully wore a ZAF outfit without authority.
On Monday, Mwanza appeared before magistrate Nsunge Chanda for continuation of trial in the matter. But his lawyer informed the court that Mwanza, who had initially denied the charge, wanted to change his plea. It was at this point that magistrate Chanda read out the charge to Mwanza, who admitted committing the offence.
He told the court that the uniform he was wearing was for his employer, a colonel in ZAF. “I found it while we were shifting and I wore it,” Mwanza said. Asked if he was allowed to wear the uniform, he replied in the negative. Further asked if he had any lawful justification to adorn himself in military attire since he was not commissioned to do so, Mwanza said “I did not know that it is an offence”.
In response, magistrate Chanda said ignorance of the law is no defence. She then set today as date for reading of facts and sentencing. During trial last year, Ms Chimula testified that while wearing a ZAF uniform, Mwanza proposed marriage to her in a Facebook chat. Ms Chimula said after accepting Mwanza’s friend request on Facebook, he allegedly sent her two pictures of himself clad in a ZAF uniform.
She testified that Mwanza, who allegedly told her that he was stationed at ZAF Airport, asked her to go and meet him. When she arrived at the airport, she found a ZAF officer at the gate and informed him that she was looking for ‘officer’ Mwanza before showing him the suspect’s pictures in a ZAF uniform.
It was at this point that the officer identified the man in the picture as Mwanza, a garden boy, and not an officer.