Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa says the fuel attendant he effected a citizen’s arrest on for defamation of character acted in a criminal manner and was rightly escorted to the Woodlands Police Station.
On Monday, Sampa posted on his official Facebook profile that he effected a citizens’ arrest on a fuel attendant who defamed him by posting his pictures claiming that the Mayor refused to pay for his fuel bill after he refuelled his personal vehicle.
But some legal experts, among them, Canada based Zambian lawyer Elias Munshya accused the Lusaka Mayor and wondered what law the he was basing his actions on.
“What’s wrong with this gentleman? Citizen’s arrest can never be done in this manner. You can’t just go and effect a citizen’s arrest in this manner. Citizen’s arrest is an unusual arrest that must and can only be effected in the process of a criminal act being carried out. Citizens have no right to simply go to a filling station and arrest a person for criminal defamation. Mr Sampa’s behaviour is beginning to cause worry. This is getting out of hand,” stated Munshya, Monday.
Defending his actions in an interview, Tuesday, Sampa explained that he was compelled to effect the citizens’ arrest on the fuel attendant because he did not want to to take the law into his own hands.
“I arrested him and took him to the police. That is allowed. When someone wrongs you, take them to the police, arrest them! So, citizens’ arrest is allowed, you take them to the police and I have taken him to the police. I didn’t take the law into my own hands. I arrested him because as far as I am concerned, he has committed a crime! Honourable [Stephen] Kampyongo last week was lamenting about people using social media to attack leaders. That guy was defaming me, which is not true; I got to a filling station and he was quick to take a picture and put it on social media, which is a lie,” Sampa narrated.
He said his actions did not amount to abuse of power.
“To anybody out there, if somebody commits a crime, you have the option to take them to the police. What is not allowed is to take the law in your own hands. I didn’t take the law in my own hands, I didn’t slap him. I could have even slapped him [because] I have hands and I have big hands for that matter. When I was younger, I would have slapped him in the face, then I would have taken the law in my own hands. But now, I am educated [and] I know the law of the land. So, I just arrested him with my well-wishers and we took him to the police. I will see to it that the case goes to court,” explained Sampa.
“You defame me, it’s criminal! So, by the time you attack me on Facebook whether verbally or what, make sure you have facts, but in a situation where I know that you are doing it maliciously, I will arrest you. That was a financial transaction. The guy disclosed my financial personal transaction with him. He took a screenshot of the fuel machine (terminal) and my personal transaction, he takes it to the public and also misleading financially. For me, if you just accuse me, it’s criminal, and I will do citizen’s arrest on my own and take you to the police,” warned Sampa.