In this audio, Justice Minister Given Lubinda disagrees with his Home Affairs counterpart Stephen Kampyongo’s statement that police have powers under the Threatened State of Emergency to arrest people indefinitely saying all suspects have the right to be presented before a court.
In his debate supporting the extension of the Threatened State of Public Emergency to three months, Lubinda said people’s rights were protected.
“I would like to assure the Zambians that their rights are as protected as the Constitution permits and no one has the intention whatsoever of derogating them. They are as sacrosanct as they are written in our Constitution…my friend, Minister of Home Affairs spoke about arrest, let me also remind my honourable colleagues and through them remind the country that the provisions of Cap 112 are very clear on how long a person will be arrested under these regulations. There is nowhere in the law where there is provision that a person shall be detained indefinitely without question; no! Those criminals once they are caught up by police, they shall be detained by the regulations as provided for in Cap 112. Ba police officer, madam Speaker, will not even have the power to arrest a person for more than 24 hours, that is what is provided for in the law,” said Lubinda.
“So those who are going round and telling the people, ‘now Edgar Lungu has become draconian, he is a dictator’, where are they getting that? Are they not capable of reading? Because the law is very clear, it is only an assistance superintendent who may arrest a person for more than 48 hours and a magistrate. Beyond that it has to take a magistrate to determine that a person must be arrested for up to seven days in the event that police would require more time to carry out further investigations. Even under the detention of the Presidential order, a person will have to be brought before a tribunal within 20 days after being arrested. Where are they getting all these pigments of imagination that President Edgar Lungu wants to detain people wantonly? I want to assure them that Edgar Lungu is a well-read legal mind and he knows the provisions of the law and he is leading a Cabinet of people who also read the law, who understand the law and when we say to the Zambian people, we are doing this in the interest of protecting the lives and property of Zambians, it is because that is our duty to do.”
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In his debate earlier, Kampyongo had expressed joy that police would detain people indefinitely.
He also warned that people should be ready to pick up corpses of those found near Zesco pylons.
“Like I have said, we have talked enough, it is time to step our boots on the ground. One tabloid quoted me saying people were going to be killed. Wrong doers, every situation calls for a required force and if someone is sitting somewhere wanting to send their children and other people’s children to go and risk, they should be ready to pick up corpses from the pylons,” said Kampyongo.
Take a listen: