It’s sad that the New Labour Party leader Fresher Siwale is still detained because civil servants are scared of signing as his sureties to his bail for fear of loosing their jobs, says Laura Miti.
Siwale is charged with defamation of the President after he went on television to claim that President Edgar Lungu was a malawian who had forged his NRC.
On May 4, Lusaka principle resident magistrate Alice Walusiku granted him K10,000 bail in his own recognizance with two working sureties, one of who should a civil servants at managerial or directorate level.
In an interview with News Diggers! Miti said what was happening to Siawale was sad and unconstitutional.
She noted that civil servants were not signing as Siawale’s sureties because they were scared of being targeted by government.
“It’s very sad what’s happening to Mr Siwale. First of all he was kept in [the] cells longer than he should have and now there is this question about civil servants. I think that’s unconstitutional. There is no reason why the only person that should give surety is a civil servant. Everybody knows that civil servants right now are very scared for their jobs. Its even difficult to blame them because who ever signs for that surety will be targeted by government,” Miti noted.
She demanded the immediate release of Siwale.
“And this is what we keep saying that this is a very oppressive government and this is something that President Lungu knows is happening. This is about his person, its not about the country. So we are beginning to bring issues that affect the person of the President, to affect human rights. Fresher Siwale should be released out of cells,” said Miti.
“There is no reason even for his arrest. But if there is a case he should be taken to court and due process should take place. Unfortunately the situation we are in right now as civil society [is that] there are so many issues and you end up forgetting things like this man who is now languishing in cells, being punished because he asked questions that the President does not like.”