DRAMA characterised the Kapiri Mposhi magistrate's court yesterday when two men alleged to have been in a homosexual relationship appeared for plea.
Meanwhile, police in Kabwe are holding two other men suspected to be involved in a homosexual relationship after they were allegedly found kissing.
In Kapiri Mposhi, scores of residents thronged the court to see the two while others mocked one of the suspects, calling him 'banabwinga', meaning the bride.
The matter is before Kabwe-based Principal Resident Magistrate John Mbuzi.
The two, who looked shaken, pleaded not guilty to four counts of sodomy amid murmuring from the curious on-lookers.
In the first count, Philip Mubiana is alleged to have had carnal knowledge of James Mwape against the order of nature between April 11 and 27, this year.
In count two, Mwape is alleged to have permitted Mubiana to have carnal knowledge of him against the order of nature.
In count three, Mubiana on May 5, this year is alleged to have had carnal knowledge of Mwape against the order of nature while in count four Mwape is alleged to have permitted a fellow male, Mubiana to have a sexual encounter against the order of nature.
The two were arrested on Monday and released on police bond, but were re-arrested on Tuesday after they were again discovered to have had another sexual encounter.
They, after taking plea in three counts in which they pleaded not guilty, attempted to refuse to take plea in the fourth count.
Mwape and Mubiana said they would only take plea in the presence of their lawyers.
But the magistrate said yesterday's appearance was just for plea and not trial, to which they later agreed and voluntarily took plea.
Earlier, the court ordered the suspects to face the court and not to look down as proceedings went on.
The procession was characterised by murmurs while three women were ejected for making noise.
Another man had his mobile phone confiscated after he started taking pictures and was briefly detained.
Outside the courtroom, scores of onlookers demanded that the suspects remove the coats that covered their faces as they were being led out.
One man shouted: "The newly-wed couple should not be embarrassed but should be courageous to show their faces."
Meanwhile, some relatives of the accused persons hurled insults at journalists who attempted to take pictures and threatened to sue the scribes if they published the pictures.
Police had a tough time controlling the surging mob.
Trial is set for May 22, this year and the two were remanded in custody.
In the Kabwe incident, Central Province police chief Standwell Lungu said police were holding two other men for an alleged homosexual relationship.