Emmanuel Mwamba: Hichilema’s Arrest Does Not Make Zambia A Dictatorship

Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has stepped up the ruling Patriotic Front’s fightback after the powerful European Union parliament rated the country in the same breath with repressive nation. EU is upset the arrest of Hichilema has … Continued

The post Emmanuel Mwamba: Hichilema’s Arrest Does Not Make Zambia A Dictatorship appeared first on Zambia Reports.

Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has stepped up the ruling Patriotic Front’s fightback after the powerful European Union parliament rated the country in the same breath with repressive nation. EU is upset the arrest of Hichilema has thrown Zambia into a dictatorship. But PF members are not taking the news kind. Mwamba, a former spokesperson for second Republican president Frederick Chiluba, has written an opinion disputing the EU position. BELOW IS EMMANUEL MWAMBA’S WRITE UP HAS ZAMBIA SLID INTO DICTATORSHIP*? “The arrest of an individual, cannot slide the country into dictorshipâ€. By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba On 23rd April, a strong worded media statement signed by Archbishop Telesephore George Mpundu, Archbishop of Lusaka Archdiocese and President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) laid the first claim. In his statement titled; ‘’If you want Peace, Work for Justice –(Paul VI)†the Cleric alleged that the manner in which the arrest of opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader, Hakainde Hichilema was done, and the subsequent slapping of treason charges on him, threatened the democratic credentials of Zambia. The statement concluded that the recent use of state security resources to allegedly intimidate political opponents, the alleged violation of democratic principles, the failure by the Judiciary to stand up to alleged political manipulation and the alleged erosion of its impartiality and independence, gave the conclusion that Zambia was now, except in designation, a dictatorship or was not far from it. The cleric also condemned attacks against the law society, and defined the Police as an entity acting like political cadres of the ruling party. The statement claimed that considerable political crisis and tension had stemmed from or had been spawned by the failure by the Constitutional Court to hear conclusively, the Opposition election petition that challenged the election of President Edgar Lungu in the August 11th 2016 General Election. It is this tantalizing statement that seems to have given credence to international commentaries by many including one piece widely circulated from an academic from University of Birmingham. Nic Cheeseman, Director of the African Studies and Associate Professor at the University has penned an analytical piece; “One of Africa’s Most Notable Democracies is Quietly Drifting into Authoritarian Ruleâ€. And recently the UPND alliance with S&D Group, an alliance of liberal socialist in the European Parliament, paid off when the group, pursuing Rule 135(5) and 123(4) tabled a motion on Zambia, particularly the case of Hakainde Hichilema (2017/26681(RSP), and obtained a resolution that advised the Zambian government to adhere to the rule of law, observance of human rights, and freedoms and the need to reform the Public Order Act. Of interest from this resolution was the affirmation of the proposal to hold political dialogue between the ruling party, the Patriotic Front and the opposition as “initiated by the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishopsâ€. Although there appears to be no such official proposal, the resolution is importing its reasoning from the letter or statement by Archbishop Mpundu. The statement from Archbishop Mpundu was largely ignored by government, probably as it was deemed to be an opinion of a single Bishop. This statement by Archbishop Mpundu was not designated as a pastoral letter neither was it an outcome of a meeting of Bishops in Conference that issues one. A pastoral letter is a veritable and venerated opinion of the Conference of Bishops and has profound effect especially on the catholic faithfuls but also renders influence on the local and geo-politics of the country. Also government probably made a tactical choice not give a robust and spirited response to these claims, in the interest and spirit to foster and preserve the warm relations between the government of President Edgar Lungu and the Catholic Church. But this noble decision or action appears to now haunt government as the international commentaries and perceptions so far created appear to be founded on this statement. *PETITION NOT HEARD- THE TRUTH* Following the hotly contested presidential and general election held on 11th August 2016, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) declared Edgar Chagwa Lungu as winner with 50.75% majority win while his main opponent, Hakainde Hichilema scored 47.63%. Lungu marshaled 1,860,877 votes while Hichilema obtained 1,760,347 votes. In the previous presidential by-election caused by the death of Michael Chilufya Sata and held in 2015, Lungu beat Hichilema by 29,000 votes. But in this election, Lungu had extended the lead by over 100,000 votes’ difference. Despite sporadic cases of violence during the run-up to the election, the voting day was peaceful and was characterized by long lines and an electorate determined to have their voices heard through the ballot. After the election, independent observer missions from SADC, the African Union, the European Union and others all affirmed that the results reflected the true opinion of Zambians that had voted and was held in a free and fair manner. However, the defeated candidate disputed the results and on 19th August 2016 filed an election petition before the Constitution Court filed claiming that election was marred by irregularities and should be nullified. In accordance with the provision of the new Constitution, a new Court was created to resolve any presidential electoral petition and President Lungu’s inauguration was put forward until the dispute was resolved or concluded. In the past, a president would be sworn-in and take up office within 24 hours after the ECZ declared such a winner, and the petition was heard later. However the new Constitution suspended the inauguration of the winner but prescribed a limit of total 21days: Seven days in which the disputant should file the petition and fourteen days in which the Constitution Court should hear, determine and resolve such a petition. Despite early warnings and advice to UPND lawyers, to lay before court a reasonable case to justify their client’s sensational claims; they chose to squander this precious time and opportunity by concentrating on preliminary and subsidiary issues. The lawyers especially focused their energies on Article 104(3) of the Constitution in which they claimed the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Patrick Matibini, ought to take over from the incumbent President (President Lungu) during the hearing of the Petition. The lawyers also spent considerable time urging the Court to order a recount of the votes. On September 6th 2016, the Constitutional Court, in a majority vote 3-2, dismissed the petition as no discernible evidence was laid before it and the petition lacked merit or evidence. The Court upheld the decision of the ECZ that President Edgar Lungu was duly elected. The Court also ruled that its mandate was tied to the 14day constitutional period in which the election petition must be determined. President Lungu’s inauguration took place on 13th September 2016, and was finally sworn in for a five year term, a month after he was duly elected. Hakainde filed a fresh court review action in the Lusaka High Court arguing that his right to be heard was curtailed by the 14-day rule by the Constitution and the Constitutional Court. So the argument that the petition was no heard is clearly cannot hold water. Do people expect the rule of law and constitutional provisions to be abandoned for expediency? Does the poor strategy of Hichilema’s lawyers, who chose to squander an opportunity to lay a reasonable case in a constitutionally prescribed period before the Constitutional Court, be blamed on the Judiciary or President Lungu? Can this be the reasonable cause to insult, denigrate and denounce the Judiciary as failing to be impartial? *ARREST OF HAKAINDE HICHILEMA* On Tuesday April 11th 2017, Police arrested Hichilema. The Police went to his residence to pick him up. However Hichilema is said to have refused to open the gate to the property or the door of the house. He resisted the call by the Police and eventually locked himself and his wife up in his bunker. The process has been the basis of the controversial human rights abuse claims against the Police. The Police are said to have used minimal force to finally gain entry in his house and fish him out after a six-hour stand-off. Hichilema’s arrest appears to have been sparked by a serious incident that occurred in the Western Province of Zambia during the Kuomboka Ceremony, a many-centuries-old tradition. During this ceremony, Hichilema’s motor convoy can be seen through a widely circulated video footage, that his convoy failed or resisted or ignored to give way to President Edgar Lungu’s presidential motorcade. Before this, Hichilema had issued numerous statements denouncing the presidency of Edgar Lungu and stating that he and his party would not recognize the authority, legitimacy and legality of President Lungu. On 16th March 2017, Hichilema ordered his Members of Parliament not to attend the State of the Nation (SONA) address in Parliament by President Lungu. Stephen Katuka, a Secretary General of the UPND directed that their members of Parliament should not attend the session as the party did not recognize President Lungu as Republican President and that a matter disputing his presidency was still in the Lusaka High Court. Consequently all the UPND MPs except one boycotted the presidential address. Hichilema has since been arrested and charged with treason and other charges. He has so far been acquitted of one charge of insulting the Police that occurred during his arrest. These matters are before competent courts of law. It therefore cannot be said that this action by the Police to pursue his perceived lawlessness is an act of tyranny and dictatorship. *THE CLOSURE OF THE POST* Following the conclusion by the Supreme Court of a matter of tax dispute between the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and The Post Newspaper, the ZRA moved in to recover their monies. This matter began in 2009 when ZRA claimed tax arrears in excess of $5million. Because the Authority pounced on The Post a month before elections, attempts were made to accuse government of clamping down on press freedom. Over the years, Post owner, Fred Mmembe had chosen to expand his business beyond news operations by investing into an airline, radio, television, telecom, courier and trucking investments among other businesses. The weight of this expansive but reckless ventures, ladened The Post with, bank loans, and overdrafts and resulted in consequent failure to pay taxes due and statutory fees. Many have argued that The Post should have been allowed time and given a period to pay its tax obligations. Over the years, ZRA had entered into numerous payment arrangements with The Post, which agreements that were breached. Further, the papers’ debt had ballooned beyond its own marginal assets. This has since been confirmed by information from the provisional liquidator, Lewis Mosho that shows that the debt and obligations the newspaper owes is in excess of $35million (K350million). It is therefore preposterous to assume that the closure of The Post was an act against press freedom, since the paper closed because of its own poor business practices and ambitious expansion ventures. Zambia has numerous independent newspapers, online newspapers, independent television stations and over 80 radio stations. Therefore the inevitable fate of The Post and its eventual fall, cannot be a measure of press freedom or lack of it in Zambia. *HAS ZAMBIA SLID INTO DICTATORSHIP?* Zambia is renowned for its peace and stability. It has just held a credible general election with international stamp of approval. But the narrative churned out the last few weeks following the pursuit of Hichilema by the Police for his allegedly illegalities has spawned a debate questioning Zambia’s reputed democratic credentials. The Brenthurst Foundation, a charity wing of Anglo America Corporation, and its Executive Director, Greg Mills have taken up the case of Hichilema and churned out material against the government of President Lungu. Shortly after the arrest of Hichilema, Mills issued an Op-Ed statement; “Now or Never for the International Community in Zambiaâ€. The piece was a rallying but desperate call to the international community to urgently “intervene†as President Lungu was allegedly dipping a test to ascertain response of the international community claiming that if it was “limp, a wider and possibly violent crackdown†against the opposition would follow. Brenthurst Foundation has been accused of consistently attempting to raise and support political leaders in Africa that align themselves to Capital and liberal markets, especially in mineral rich countries as a precursor to the mining giant’s commercial interests. The Foundation is chaired by former Nigerian president, Olesegun Obasanjo and other board members that include Jonathan Openheimer. Members associated with the foundation quickly followed Mills statement with their own. This international campaign was given impetus by this statement from Archbishop Mpundu. So, this is a storm in a tea-cup driven by a clever international media campaign, by forces that support the opposition leader and wish to force the release of Hichilema without any recourse to the law. From the earlier argument above, it is clear that the arrest of Hakainde Hichilema cannot descend Zambia into dictatorship or an abyss as he is not above the law. Further the arrest of an individual suspected to have broken the law, cannot plunge Zambia into political turmoil as argued and if this argument was true, it would negate the strides that Zambia has made to become a democratic state governed by the sanctity of the rule of law as the law will be subjected to the caprices of political and other narrow interests. The post Emmanuel Mwamba: Hichilema’s Arrest Does Not Make Zambia A Dictatorship appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

PF Non-Entity Fires Back After EU Downgraded Zambia’s Human Rights Rating

Patriotic Front MP Kelvin Sampa has fired back after the European Union Parliament rated Zambia among poor performing human rights countries in the wake of the arrest of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. The EU on Friday voted to check Zambia’s … Continued

The post PF Non-Entity Fires Back After EU Downgraded Zambia’s Human Rights Rating appeared first on Zambia Reports.

Patriotic Front MP Kelvin Sampa has fired back after the European Union Parliament rated Zambia among poor performing human rights countries in the wake of the arrest of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema. The EU on Friday voted to check Zambia’s human rights record and assess the fairness in the arrest of Hichilema. But Sampa, the Kasama MP, accused one of the strongest global trading block of telling lies about Zambia. “Firstly I do not recall as a member of the Zambian Parliament tabling or indeed discussing a motion within the European Union even if there is plenty to talk about from there! “It is unbelievable that the European Parliament, with all the available avenues of verifying facts at its disposal, can easily fall for lies purveyed by enemies of the Zambian people. “This is so especially when they seek to misrepresent happenings of a sovereign nation. We refuse to believe that the EU Parliament would be as gullible as to be moved by half-truths and cheap propaganda emanating from desperate men and women of questionable moral standing,†Sampa says. Sampa says it is unacceptable that the EU Parliament would entertain a flawed motion, devoid of truthful facts. “For starters, we do not need to remind the EU Parliament that Zambia is a sovereign country having attained her independence on 24th October 1964 from Britain. We are referring to Great Britain, which exercised its right to leave the EU in a Brexit Referendum Vote. “Ever since our Independence, Zambia has enjoyed and cherished her political freedom and there is no intention whatsoever to trade it off at the altar of political expediency for anything,†he added. Sampa said the EU were wasting their time calling for Hichilema’s release. “We wish to call on the EU Parliament to respect the Judiciary of a Sovereign State as Zambia. We also remind them to consider and follow with keen interest the matters before the Courts of law. “It is a misnomer to allege that Zambia has slid into dictatorship following Opposition Leader Hichilema’s arrest without considering the legal framework governing the charges he is faced with. “We would be interested to know from the EU Parliament what should become of Opposition leaders who break the Zambian law. Should they be let to go scot free just because they have friends with money who can mobilize international voices for them?†asked Sampa. Zambia has been mentioned in the same breath with repressive regimes across the globe with the European Union raising concern over the continued incarceration of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND). Traditionally hailed as a shining example of democracy, President Edgar Lungu’s government should be worried that it has been branded as a repressive regime. Hichilema has remained in custody from April 11 when he was arrested and later charged with treason which is non bailable. The post PF Non-Entity Fires Back After EU Downgraded Zambia’s Human Rights Rating appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

Parley Resumes Sitting June 13

The first session of the 12th National Assembly will resume sitting on June 13, 2017 after having adjourned sine die. A lot of activities on the political front have happened since the adjournment of parliament. A number of bills await … Continued

The post Parley Resumes Sitting June 13 appeared first on Zambia Reports.

The first session of the 12th National Assembly will resume sitting on June 13, 2017 after having adjourned sine die. A lot of activities on the political front have happened since the adjournment of parliament. A number of bills await parliamentary attention like the Freedom of Information Bill, the constitution amendments bill among others. During the break the country has seen the arrest of opposition United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema who is charged with the non bailable offence of treason while Chilanga Member of Parliament Keith Mukata is locked up for alleged murder. All MPs will be expected to be in Lusaka on June 13, 2017. UPND MPs have usually staged protests with their biggest contention being the outcome of the August 11, 2016 elections that they allege were rigged. The UPND lawmakers have twice boycotted an address by President Edgar Lungu on account that they do not recognize his victory in the elections demanding that they will only do so once the court has heard their petition. The post Parley Resumes Sitting June 13 appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

Police Cancel Hichilema Solidarity March in Choma

Southern Province Police Commissioner Bonny Kapeso has warned UPND members in the area against going ahead with the planned demonstration on Monday over the incarceration of their leader. The UPND leadership in Southern Province have notified the police that they … Continued

The post Police Cancel Hichilema Solidarity March in Choma appeared first on Zambia Reports.

Southern Province Police Commissioner Bonny Kapeso has warned UPND members in the area against going ahead with the planned demonstration on Monday over the incarceration of their leader. The UPND leadership in Southern Province have notified the police that they will hold a demonstration on Monday to press for the release of Hichilema who has been in detention since April 11 over a charge of treason. Kapeso has however said that the police will not allow the demonstration to take place as it would amount to contempt of court. He said that anybody who will dare defy the order will be dealt with forcefully. “I wish to state that it will be contempt of court for anyone to demonstration over the incarceration of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema,†he said. The UPND have announced that the demonstration will go ahead with the officials set to deliver a petition to Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale. The post Police Cancel Hichilema Solidarity March in Choma appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

DPP Yet to Commit Murder Suspect Keith Mukata to High Court

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has not yet issued instructions to commit UPND Member of Parliament Keith Mukata to the High Court for murder. Mukata and his female acquaintance Charmaine are facing a murder charge for allegedly shooting dead … Continued

The post DPP Yet to Commit Murder Suspect Keith Mukata to High Court appeared first on Zambia Reports.

The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has not yet issued instructions to commit UPND Member of Parliament Keith Mukata to the High Court for murder. Mukata and his female acquaintance Charmaine are facing a murder charge for allegedly shooting dead a guard Namakau Kalila Kwenda at his law firm on May 6, 2017. When the matter came before Magistrate Ireene Washimanga today, the prosecution team informed the court that they had not yet received instructions from the DPP. The defence team applied that Mukata’s co-accused Charmaine be confined to the hospital for medical attention. Magistrate Washimanga granted the application and adjourned the matter to June 2, 2017 for continued mention. Mukata will continue serving as MP until the case is disposed of. The post DPP Yet to Commit Murder Suspect Keith Mukata to High Court appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

I Know The Corrupt People In PF, Says Kambwili

Former chief government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili says he knows who is corrupt in the ruling Patriotic Front. Kambwili made the claim after interrogation by the Anti Corruption Commission yesterday. He described the interrogation as bogus. “10 hours later it feels … Continued

The post I Know The Corrupt People In PF, Says Kambwili appeared first on Zambia Reports.

Former chief government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili says he knows who is corrupt in the ruling Patriotic Front. Kambwili made the claim after interrogation by the Anti Corruption Commission yesterday. He described the interrogation as bogus. “10 hours later it feels great to finally respond to the bogus allegations. I am squeaky clean just like Dr Kaunda’s handkerchief, the corrupt people know themselves and time is of the essence,” he said. The Anti Corruption remembered they had an impending investigation matter with former Information Minister Chishimba Kambwili over alleged corrupt practices. Kambwili has known little peace since being fired in November last year as minister with the Anti Corruption Commission opening an inquiry soon after. The Roan Member of Parliament has since being fired had a disciplinary case against him by the ruling party and also had the ACC confirm a probe against him. At a personal level he has flirted with three road traffic accidents that have had him thrust in the public light. Kambwili is being queried over various properties allegedly accumulated illegally during his time in government. The Roan MP alleges that he is still a loyal member of the ruling PF but seems to be out of favour given the number of low level officials from the ruling party that take pot shots at him. In a statement, ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono confirmed that Kambwili was under probe for corrupt practices. The ACC has confirmed the interrogations but did not shed light. “These investigations are on-going and the Commission would therefore not wish to comment further as this may jeopardize the investigationsm,†stated ACC public Relations Manager Timothy Moono. The post I Know The Corrupt People In PF, Says Kambwili appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

Another Set Of Ritual Murders On The Loose

The case of suspected ritual murders in Lusaka is back on radar again with police picking up a body a middle aged man with some parts missing. In 2016 suspected ritual murders shocked the nation with some arrests made that … Continued

The post Another Set Of Ritual Murders On The Loose appeared first on Zambia Reports.

The case of suspected ritual murders in Lusaka is back on radar again with police picking up a body a middle aged man with some parts missing. In 2016 suspected ritual murders shocked the nation with some arrests made that did not produce any conviction. Below is the full statement from the police Zambia Police Statement “18TH MAY, 2017 – In the early hours of today, Police in Lusaka picked up a body of an unidentified man aged between 30 and 35 years in Zingalume Compound. This followed a report which officers on patrol in the area received from one of the newspaper distributors at about 02 30 hours that he had seen someone being dragged by some people. When officers followed up the report, they discovered blood on one of the roads and when they followed the traces of the blood, they discovered a body of the deceased lying in one of the yards. The body was found without private parts, with a ripped off stomach and one right ear was cut off. Police picked up the body and deposited it in UTH awaiting postmortem and identification. We are calling upon people who could be missing a relative to visit UTH and help identify the body. We further call upon members of the public to avoid moving unaccompanied in the dark as well as lone areas so as to avoid falling prey. Investigations have been instituted in the matter. ESTHER MWAATA KATONGO ZAMBIA POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER The post Another Set Of Ritual Murders On The Loose appeared first on Zambia Reports.

source: Zambia Reports

Daughter of Former Top Cop Threatens Police Officer

[News24Wire] After it emerged on Friday that ousted Hawks head Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza’s daughter threatened to kill a police officer who was a complainant in a case against her father, she sent another threatening message.

[News24Wire] After it emerged on Friday that ousted Hawks head Mthandazo Berning Ntlemeza's daughter threatened to kill a police officer who was a complainant in a case against her father, she sent another threatening message.

source: AllAfrica News: South Africa