FORMER Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Major Ben Phiri has sued the State in the Lusaka High Court seeking an injunction to restrain Nyimba Police from interfering and or frustrating the ongoing Girl Child Education Programme being implemented by his Women Initiative.
Maj Phiri, who is executive director of the Ben Phiri Women Initiative that is running the Girl Child Education through Women Empowerment programme, has cited Chief Inspector Manda, who was acting in the place of the Officer-In-Charge at Nyimba Police Station, and the Attorney General as respondents.
He wants the Court to declare that the police in general, and Nyimba in particular, should not interfere with or frustrate his Women Initiative Programmes on Girl Child Education through Women Empowerment, which are ongoing in Nyimba District and scheduled to be extended to other parts of Eastern Province.
Maj Phiri further wants a declaration that the programmes be recognized as complimentary to government efforts in curbing teenage pregnancies, early marriages and encouraging girl child education initiatives.
He stated in his petition filed in the Lusaka High Court that he was bestowed with Pan African Movement Gold meritorious award by Pan African Movement Uganda in recognition of his work as Peace Advocate and Humanitarian Volunteer, among others.
Maj Phiri further stated that in his devotion to contribute towards the education of the girl child, through the empowerment of the womenfolk, he donated 500 building blocks to Mejocama School in Ngombe Area of Lusaka towards the construction of the dormitory.
He stated that this was in 2018 at a formal presentation where he addressed the audience in attendance.
Maj Phiri stated that in the same year, he addressed a huge gathering at Kabwatike School in Kasengwa District of Eastern Province at which he echoed the stance of President Edgar Lungu and the First Lady on the subject of Educating the Girl Child as opposed to sending them into early marriages.
He stated that in furtherance of his devotion, he notified the Nyimba Police of his intended addresses at Chief Nyalungwe and Hoffmeyer areas, respectively, on January 11 and 12, 2020, respectively.
Maj Phiri, however, stated that at Hoffmeyer area, the meeting was deferred to the following day owing to an incessant heavy downpour.
He stated that he was poised to renew the notification for January 13, but was incapacitated by an unforeseen mechanical break down of his vehicle enroute to Nyimba from Hoffmeyer on the evening of January 12.
“The vehicle remained under repair by one local mechanic until very late in the night that the vehicle was repaired,” read the petition.
Maj Phiri stated that after the repair of the vehicle, he was extremely tired, hungry and had to secure a suitable place where he could spend the rest of the night.
He added that given the excessively dilapidated state of the Nyimba-Hoffmeyer road, he had to leave for the meeting venue at the earliest opportunity as the mechanical state of the vehicle was still in serious doubt.
Maj Phiri stated that he was aggrieved by learning from Chief Inspector Manda that he was allegedly organizing a political party, which name Chief Inspector stated as National Democratic People’s Party.
“Your Petitioner (Major Phiri) vehemently denies any association connection or involvement in all or with the said party. On the contrary, the Petitioner avers that his activities are centered purely on Girl Child Education through Women empowerment,” further read the petition.
He stated that he obligingly availed an elaborate copy of the Ben Phiri Women Initiative leaflet to Chief Inspector Manda in person at the time the two notifications were submitted and supported.
Maj Phiri, however, stated that he had been shocked and saddened by the ban imposed on him by the Chief Inspector at Nyimba Police.
“As a consequence of the shock and disappointment, your Petitioner wrote to the Officer-in-Charge Nyimba Police. The letter was written on January 23, 2020. In the letter, the Petitioner sought the assurance that the Petitioner’s programmes will continue without interruption from Nyimba Police Office. To date, there has been no response. This prompts the Petitioner to seek redress as the Petitioner’s constitutional rights have been contravened or infringed, i.e the right of freedom of conscience, expression, assembly, movement and association under part Ill of the Constitution of Zambia,” stated Maj Phiri.