Zambian Watchdog

Zambian Watchdog

A Zambian online newspaper with latest news specialising in investigative reporting and analysis.
Zambian Watchdog
Zambian WatchdogTuesday, August 22nd, 2017 at 2:25pm
Former Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sachika has stressed that the presidential petition case by the UPND must continue regardless of what discussions take place between Hakainde Hichilema and Edgar Lungu.
And Dr Sachika has charged that the police has been breaching the constitution and is using the Public Order Act (POA) to do illegalities.
Speaking when he featured on Prime TV on Monday evening, Dr Sachika stressed that the petition must be pursued and heard because it was not limited to Hakainde Hichilema and Edgar Lungu but all Zambians adding that it will help to correct things that have gone wrong in the country.
He noted that the arrest of Hakainde Hichilema was merely a symptom of the problem adding that there was breakdown of democratic governance because the government is not interested in adhering to what the constitution says.
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Zambian Watchdog
Zambian WatchdogTuesday, August 22nd, 2017 at 9:54am

UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema says he is not an angry man despite being in detention for four months on trumped up treason charges.

And Hichilema says he has paid the price for agitating constitutional basic rights through his four-month detention over alleged treason charges.
Meanwhile, the opposition leader has also said he wishes no one to be imprisoned because prison life is so horrible such that even prison warders are prisoners.

Hichilema, Hamusonde Hamaleka, Muleya Hachinda, Laston Mulilanduba, Pretorius Haloba and Wallace Chakawa who were arrested in April, charged with treason, walked to freedom after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Lillian Siyunyi discontinued their case on August 16.

Featuring on Muvi TV’s The Assignment programme titled ‘Hichilema’s walk to freedom’ last night, Hichilema highlighted a litany of matters centered on his imprisonment at Lusaka Central Prison (Chimbokaila) and Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison in Kabwe but said he was not angry for his detention.
He started the long-winded interview by saying he was “committed to dialogue to benefit this country, to benefit our region [and] to benefit Africa”.

Africa does not need conflict [but] what Africa needs, Zambia included, is accelerated economic and social development. So for me, would I say I’ll not dialogue because I’m unhappy with this thing (his incarceration)? I wouldn’t say that! I’ll bring that issue which I’m not happy about and put it on the dialogue table and I think that’s the most civilised way of doing things. If we are saying I disagree with you and you also disagree with me and so, we cannot resolve our conflicts, then we’ve lost the sense of humanity because amongst the creatures God made, the one with intellect is a human being. That intellect must be used to resolve conflicts because if you don’t want to resolve conflicts through dialogue, the next thing basically is negative things, including violence. [But] do we want violence? Absolutely no! Yes, we have problems in our country but we can resolve them,

Hichilema said.

I was attacked like an armed robber here and I hope you saw the damage that was occasioned to our house. If I did not understand the role of leadership, I wouldn’t be sitting with you – I was going to be a very angry man. But I leave anger to others [because] God says if we are angry all the time, we’ll make mistakes. I don’t want to be angry and make mistakes; I want to use a bigger chest to find solutions to our problems.

Asked by the programme host, Master Chimbala, how he intended to continue with his political life and running the UPND, considering that he and several others from his party were proclaiming that there was a diminished democratic space, especially for opposition politics, Hichilema responded that there was always a trigger point in a situation.
Let me analyse things this way; there is always a trigger point to solve problems that have been sitting unresolved. My incarceration…I have paid the price! Remember that I was on a death sentence; treason is a death sentence. I knew that there was a death [burden] around my neck but I was not afraid. We must use this trigger point with the international community, regional community, local community, Churches, well-meaning political parties and say we cannot continue like this. I would like to give this gift of the pain that we’ve gone through to the people of Zambia and use this opportunity to actualise what Zambians have been denied,

he explained.

The Bill of Rights clearly spells out that you shouldn’t be constrained to do your journalistic work! Would you now say that you are not going to claim for that space because it has been denied from you? No! Let’s use this opportunity [to demand for constitutional rights] because pretence will not help us. Things are not okay! God decides when things should crystallise and this is the time that things should crystallize so that we can now allow citizens to enjoy their rights. Take it from me; this is a window of opportunity! There is no need to do a makeshift agreement and sign it. Remember in March 2016, there was an agreement [to uphold peace in the run-up to the August, 2016 general elections] which was made and signed. I knew it was makeshift! Around the elections time, another one was signed [but] we must learn lessons because God gave us intelligence. We forgive but we don’t forget because we use the memory to correct the mistakes of the past. There is time for everything and this is the time to bring normalcy to our society.

Asked on the relevance of him pressing on his struggle for decency in Zambia, instead of waiting for the 2021 general elections, the opposition leader wondered how political independence and multipartism would have been attained in 1964 and 1991 respectively if those who fought for such virtues relented.

“If people didn’t fight for political independence, you wouldn’t be sitting in a house like this; you and I would have been sitting in some ramshackle somewhere because that’s what was right for us because the British were superior. Did you fight for independence? No! You were not born [yet]. Those who were born then fought for independence. In 1991, if those who were grown up then didn’t fight for multipartism to come, we’ll still have had a one party dictatorship today. So, who is Hakainde to fail to discharge his duties and obligations to society? So, I [should] come here and sit down! What do I do? People like saying ‘enjoy yourself’ [but] there is nothing to enjoy in the world. You cannot enjoy if your neighbour’s child is not in school; [it means] you are pretending. So, I think this is a generational responsibility; it’s our responsibility, yours through the media and everybody else’s to do that which is right for the living population [and] for those that will come after us,” Hichilema said.

He confessed that he was feeling strange being out of prison because “for four months plus, I have lived in a tiny cell of two metres by 2.5 metres”.

[There is] no ventilation and 53 years after independence, to answer the call of nature, we were using plastic buckets. We were locked in [for] 16 hours a day; plastic cup somewhere in the corner, some bit of water and I slept on the floor. I was sleeping on a board! You had to sleep on it. But the point is that, what about the people I left in prison? How long are they going to be there? It’s your duty and my duty to make sure that we get those people out of prison! Many people are in prison without having committed a crime and we need to get them out of there. We can’t sit here and say we are okay; what about those people who are sleeping in a small cell? My first cell in Mukobeko, I shared it with 178 inmates and I guess that room would be about 10 metres by maybe 15 metres or there about. Some of those inmates have been sitting every night for 10 years! People are dying there. God sent me there to peep and look and say ‘solve this problem’ and we are determined to do that,

Hichilema relived.

Four months [that I was imprisoned] sounds so long for me but how about those who have been in prison for 15 years? So, those who are saying I should just sit in my house…do we have the luxury to do that when people in these prisons are going through torture for 15 years and only to be acquitted? Then we would have failed in our duty to serve society. The question of me sitting down doesn’t arise!

And Hichilema said once elected Republican President, he would have an obligation to do what is right to make people’s lives better, mainly freeing people who are erroneously imprisoned.

“I’m not saying there is no crime; there should be general cases that people should be imprisoned [for] but the judicial process must be followed. Some things need to be done today, tomorrow, yesterday and others can be done in 20 whatever but there are emergencies and these (state of prisons) are some of the emergencies. It’s horrible inside there and I wish nobody to be in prison! Let me tell you; even prison warders are in prison [because] the conditions under which they operate [are terrible]. How do you look after 2, 500 prisoners when a prison was designed for 400 prisoners? How do you do it? The ration is for 500 prisoners but you are feeding 2, 500 prisoners. How do you do it as a prison warder? With a normal mind, you are also in prison. We really appreciate the media because without it, our story would have been buried,” he said.

When asked to comment about his family and the value that he attached to it, Hichilema pointed out that there was no community that could survive without family life.

“I want to say to you that I’m very grateful to this lady (Mutinta). I thank God for this lady and she is very strong. She’s strong in a responsible way; I’m indebted to her and I’m indebted to the Zambian women who, many times, are not acknowledged and I use this opportunity to urge other men to support their wives. She ran the family and she didn’t know whether I would be killed when I was taken to Mukobeko – you know [that] Mukobeko is renowned for people being exterminated. She kept the family! But she also was, in a way, in prison because she had to move between Kabwe and Lusaka,” said Hichilema.

“The kids just went back to school yesterday (last Tuesday) and she made sure that she paid school fees. Otherwise the appreciation goes beyond her; I’m an African, a Zambian and the extended family and the Church have all been supportive. I’m very grateful to Archbishop [Telesphore] Mpundu and his bishops, the CCZ (Council of Churches in Zambia), EFZ (Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia), senior citizens in this country and our general party membership [who] have been very tremendous. I want to thank our wider membership out there who stuck to our word not to go in the streets in 2016, even with the anger that they had. I want them to maintain, peace, love and order, knowing that we, their leaders, we’ll not let them down; we’ll deal with the issues that are causing them headaches.”

Meanwhile, Mutinta, who briefly appeared on the same programme, thanked God for preserving her husband’s life and the life of his co-accused.
“It hasn’t been easy but we thank God that he is back; the children would have been here but they left yesterday for school. I also thank the people of Zambia for standing firm for us…. I thank the people in the media, both locally and internationally, because you were there for us and you heard my little voice when I cried. You were here to take the story of Hakainde to the world and if it were not for you people, my husband would have rotten in the prison cells. Because of your effort, you sold this story of Hakainde across the continent, across the nation and people came. I’m so grateful to you people and please, keep it up,” said Mutinta.
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Zambian Watchdog
Zambian WatchdogTuesday, August 22nd, 2017 at 9:03am

Dictator Edgar Lungu last night flew from Johannesburg to Mfuwe in Eastern Zambia.

Watchdog sources believe Lungu is considering reshuffling his cabinet while eating game meat.

When Kenneth Kaunda was president, he often made major pronouncements while on or after a retreat to Mfuwe.

Levy Mwanawasa also often used to go and reflect in Mfuwe.

Rupiah Banda used Mfuwe to cut deals and meet international con-men.

Lungu will probably make some meaningless but expensive reshuffles to his cabinet which will just be moving one minister, PS, ambassador from one position to another.

By reshuffling cabinet, Lungu hopes to divert attention from the embarrassment he has suffuered from the time he declared a state of emergency, which by the way no one in government talks about any more.

If there is one thing Lungu has learnt in the past few weeks, it is that dictatorship has no place in Zambia.

We doubt Lungu will ever arrest opposition leaders unless he is demon possessed.
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Zambian Watchdog
Zambian WatchdogMonday, August 21st, 2017 at 11:50pm

Veteran politician William Banda and nine other UPND members are expected to appear in court tomorrow for trial.

Banda, UPND National Youth Spokesperson Gilbert Liswaniso, Hakainde Hichilema’s press Secretary Brian Mwiinga and others stand charged of obstruction of police officers when they tried to block the police from arresting HH on the 10th April 2017.

Trial is expected to start tomorrow morning at 8 hours at Lusaka Magistrates Court.

It is alleged that Banda, Mwiinga Liswaniso, John Kalimunwa, David Mwanza, Abraham Zulu Rashid Masumba, Dean Mwaanga, John Lungu and Micheal Tembo on April 10 jointly and whilst acting together willfully obstructed police officers during the execution of their duties.

Banda and others and others pleaded not guilty hence the commencement of trial tomorrow.

But a nolle prosequi is possible given the nature of these fake charges.

Related Posts:
William Banda formally charged
I have joined UPND with 315 members, reveals William Banda
Photo of the Day: police harrassing William Banda
Police summon William Banda over Chongwe violence
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Zambian Watchdog
Zambian WatchdogMonday, August 21st, 2017 at 7:15pm

Muna Ndulo
(Professor, and Director Berger International Studies Program Cornell Law School and
Director, Cornell Institute for African Development)

The Zambia is rapidly degenerating into a police state. Numerous citizens are detained in police stations without regard to their rights under the constitution. This has become commonplace as regular reports of beatings, torture and deaths in police custody seldom seem to elicit outrage. Zambians are becoming immune to the routine reports of police brutality. The Public Order Act is abused by the police and has become an instrument of oppression rather than policing. The police arrogantly assert that only their interpretation of the act is valid. The constant show of and use of excessive force by the police is intended to create a climate of fear and obedience in the general population. Benefactors of the system align themselves with these instruments of fear and defend the police and show scant concern for the victims of police brutality and those whose rights are trampled upon by the police.
If one had any doubts about Zambia’s slide into a police state, two recent events clearly debunk the doubt. A few weeks ago, Mark Nchimunya Choonga, was brutally killed in police custody. To begin with, the late Choongwa should never have been in police custody. How does one end up in police custody after a minor traffic accident? There has been no public condemnation of the police on this matter by the leadership and no one has been punished for the illegal detention of Choongwa. Unashamedly, the police have been allowed to carry out what is clearly a cover up. Yesterday, the second event gave evidence of the degenerative slide towards a police state. Heavily armed police attacked Hakainde Hichilema and his family in their home. Before the attack, in an unprecedented act of thuggery, police switched off the electricity to the area where Hakainde’s house is located and plunged the area into total darkness. The police tear gassed and vandalized the house, broke doors and windows, stole whatever they could steal and caused a huge amount of damage to property in the house. They assaulted whomever they came across in the compound and detained all of Mr. Hichilema’s workers. They did all this without a warrant and in complete disregard of the constitutionally protected rights of liberty and protection of property of a Zambian citizen. In a shocking decision, after the end of the siege, the police announced treason charges against Hakainde.
Having served as Advisor to the UN in the South African transition period from 1992 to 1994, the behavior of the Zambia police brings to mind the illegal brute force used by the apartheid police to brutalize and pillage black communities in apartheid South Africa in the run up to the 1994 elections. In the face of this shameful police brutality and serious violations of human rights to life and physical security, the Zambian government has remained mute and at times cheered the police on and made alarming statements about the need to fix Hichilema and his supporters. Even more troubling is that this is happening at a time when the government is led by a lawyer who should be well acquainted with the rule of law and the concept of constitutionalism.
Zambia finds itself now in a situation where the police force, which should be the upholders of the law, are now agents of fear and intimidation. The primary purpose of the security forces has become to protect the ruling party, and the personal power of the president. Policing skills in investigation, crowd control, protective and preventive action, have been sacrificed in response to the demands of political obedience, extortion and brutality. The rights of people holding contrary views to those of the ruling party are not respected. The decay of law and order under the present Government has been matched by a sharp deterioration in the behavior of the police force, which perpetuates the decline. The political role comes with demands by politicians and the influential to carry out visible crackdowns or arrest specific people. In a context where “quick” and politically defined results are expected and where corruption, obedience, and opportunism are entrenched in the security forces, the torture and humiliation of suspects has become a culture. The Government is legally responsible for the death of Mark Nchimunya Choongwa and for the violation of Mr. Hachilema’s rights and damage to his property by state agents.
The police is not above the constitution and is not a law at to itself. Not in any state that claims to be a democracy. The police must respect the rights of individuals as guaranteed by the constitution. All arms of state be it parliament or the executive must act within the terms of their legal authority. The doctrine of legality is a constitutional requirement under which all institutions of the state including the police are regarded as having only those powers conferred on them by the constitution. The constitution is a charter of government and governs all state conduct. It is a body of fundamental principles by which a society organizes a government for itself, defines and limits the powers of the government, and regulates the relations between several government organs inter se and defines the relations of the state with its citizens.The aim of the rule of law is to limit and check the arbitrary, oppressive, and despotic tendencies of power, and to ensure the equal treatment and protection of all citizens irrespective of race, tribe, class, status, religion, place of origin, or political persuasion. It implies a legal framework that is fair, impartial, and that legitimizes state actions. The idea of a constitutional democratic government, or constitutionalism, and the rule of law connote a government defined, regulated and limited by a constitution. Constitutional democracy is founded upon the notion of checks and balances, namely state institutions: the legislature, the judiciary, and the executive-while operating independently of one another, act to check each other’s operations and balance each other’s power. In essence, all three institutions are duty bound to uphold the rule of law. A government operating under a written constitution has no more power than is granted to it by the constitution. Zambia cannot be allowed to descend into a nation of illegal actions by one arm of government while the rest remain silent and complicit. Aggression by any part of government must be condemned by all, the government, the citizens, and those residing within our borders. This is the only way we can begin to restore Zambia. As Aristotle so aptly put it “Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society.”
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