In this video, Canadian based lawyer Elias Munshya says judges would be very excited if President Edgar Lungu dropped the charges against Hakainde Hichilema because they were politically motivated.
Last week Munshya, through his law firm West End Legal Centre, petitioned the Canadian government to use its influence to convince President Lungu to release HH considering that there is no reasonable evidence to support the charge of treason.
In a letter dated June 22 and addressed to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, West End Legal petitioned the Government of Canada over deterioration of the rule of law in Zambia.
And in a live Facebook broadcast yesterday, Munshya explained what compelled him to write to the Canadian government, saying even judges would be excited if President Lungu dropped the treason charge because it was political.
“What is happening now is not a judge’s problem. Mr Lungu cannot say that this is a judicial matter and therefore we should not comment on it. Let us keep the judges out of this nonsense. It is not the judges who went to arrest Hichilema. Do not use them as a cover to persecute a person. In fact, the judges would be very relieved if Mr Lungu dropped the charges against Mr Hichilema,” Munshya said.
“We are doing this with a clear conviction…the State has absolutely no evidence to back up this charge of treason and so you just cannot arrest an opposition leader until one or two years when he is eventually found not guilty, that is not fair. They are using the channel of prosecution in order to persecute an opposition leader and that is unacceptable. If we let this slide, then we are saying that the government of the Republic of Zambia, through their operatives can come and arrest anybody and charge them with treason and remand them in custody for good. In a democratic state, that cannot be tolerated. In a democratic state, an opposition leader has the constitutional duty to criticize the government and hold them to account.”
He warned that Zambians were not safe if they gave President Lungu so much power that he could arrest anyone at will.
“Mr Lungu cannot use the sacredness of our penal code, Constitutional Law, in order to justify his persecution of an opposition leader that he does not like. That is unacceptable and we cannot normalize that behavior. What we need to do is to approach Mr Hichilema’s arrest as a political decision and we therefore call upon the state, because they have no evidence. Mr Hichilema has only been arrested because he is an annoyance to this government,” said Munshya.
“Zambians, you are not safe. You are not safe if you give President Lungu so much power that he can just wake up, come to your doorstep, arrest you and charge you with treason.”
Watch the full broadcast here: