United Progressive People (UPP) president Saviour Chishimba has insisted that Zambia is not a monarchy and anyone who thinks “chalo cha kwa wishi” is mistaken.

Featuring on UNZA Radio’s Lusaka Star programme this yesterday, Chishimba said the State’s decision to arrested him and later drop defamation of the President charges was because there was no offence he committed.

“Nothing has changed on my stance against corruption and when it comes to my release, the state simply discontinued the case because there was no evidence. I did not defame anyone and to start with defamation is not a criminal offence. The problem we have in Zambia is that we are not a monarchy but we want to apply a system that is used in a monarchy. Zambia is a republic and it belongs to all of us, so anyone who thinks kwati Zambia chalo kwa wishi, that person is mistaken (anyone who thinks Zambia belongs to their father is mistaken). This is a public property for all Zambians so whenever you have an opportunity to govern at whatever level, you need to understand that this is a republic and in a republic, officers are accountable to the people,” Chishimba said.

And Chishimba said once in government, his party would reform the justice system.

“We need prison cells that meet the minimum sanitary standards, now when you look at these prison cells that we have currently, the conditions are terrible. That is not what imprisonment is intended to achieve, so we in the UPP shall reform the entire justice system. Firstly we need to change the archaic laws that we continue to apply. We have always said that this generation of leaders has failed to achieve autonomy when it comes to the legal regime. We in the UPP will not entertain an arresting system where police officers are going to arrest someone before concluding investigations. The idea behind an arrest is that by the time the police are effecting an arrest, they must be through with all their investigations so that when they come to you and say that you arrested, they must be ready to go and present you before the courts of law,” he said.

“And even these holding cells, they are not meant to keep someone their over a month as I found when I was detained, I found some people who are there for over a month and have not been taken to court. And when it comes to prison conditions themselves, time has come to reform. We would also provide for the private sector to play a role. So if we have a prison in Lusaka, that prison will be under Lusaka county and those counties will provide for the private sector to also invest in setting up correctional facilities and be able to hire professionals to reform the inmates. This is the kind of system that we in UPP commit ourselves to introducing so much that when someone is leaving the prison, that person must be ready to be reintegrated in society.”

Chishimba welcomed the proposed Political Parties Bill saying the move would intrigue a sense of ownership in the ordinary Zambians if political parties were to be funded locally.

“Zambia has always needed a bill to regulate political parties. Right now we are talking about state capture through corruption but there is also political party capture in Zambia, we have political parties that are serving the interests of foreign corporations. This is the tragedy that has befallen the PF, there are times when I do sit and I am honest with myself, I do sympathise with comrade Edgar Chagwa Lungu because there is state capture,” said Chishimba.