NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has asked the Lusaka High Court to issue a writ of Habeas Corpus, directing the officer in charge at Lusaka Central Police Station to take him to court, arguing that his detention has now become illegal and unconstitutional.
And NDC vice-president Josephs Akafumba says his party has braced for more of the PF’s manoeuvres of twisting the law to suit their agenda.
On Wednesday, Police in Lusaka arrested Kambwili on a charge of defamation of the President and denied him bond, promising to take him to court on Thursday morning, a promise which was not fulfilled.
But in an affidavit in support of ex-parte notice of motion for writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum filed in the Lusaka High Court, Thursday, Kambwili the police officers tasked with his questioning, arrest and detention, said that the notion of being granted police bond was out of the question despite being a prominent member of the society and being of fixed abode.
Kambwili said he was surprised that officers failed to take him to court today.
Kambwili stated that his detention had now become illegal and unconstitutional as the Attorney General’s agents had failed or refused to arraign him before the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court.
He therefore asked the court to issue a writ directing the officer in charge at Lusaka Central Police Station and others who may have control of his body, to bring him before court immediately.
And in an interview, Akafumba said the state was just trying to humiliate an innocent person.
“Our understanding was that that today (Thursday), they were quickly going to work on a docket and ensure that they take him to court so that we apply for bail. But today, around 13:00 hours, there was still no docket! So, we were made to be shuffling between the police and the Director of Public Prosecution’s office for them to process and allow prosecution to proceed as to whether there is a reason or not, the answer is no, there is no reason they have given us apart from dillydallying and trying to humiliate an innocent person,” Akafumba said.
“Where he (Kambwili) is now, what he is merely facing are police allegations. So, since they have already arrested him, the orderly way they should have proceeded was to quickly take him to court and make the accusers prove the offense. But we know how the PF has been trying to clamp down opposition political parties. In the last two years, Kambwili has been arrested nine times, and all those times, he was not given police bond. So, to us, this only means one thing: it’s either the political circles are scared of Kambwili for some reason or the other. So, if you are not in good books with the PF, they take the liberty to punish and they can punish you before you are tried by the courts! So, now, they are rephrasing the position of the law in Zambia; ordinarily, you are innocent until prove guilty, but now under the PF of Edgar Lungu, you are guilty until proven innocent.”
And Akafumba said the NDC would not allow police to succeed in keeping their leader in detention until Monday, September 2.
He added that the NDC was braced for the PF’s maneouvres in twisting the rule of law to suit their agenda.
“We are dealing with people who have no regard for the law! To them, the law exists for you and me, not them. How can a cadre just go on television and order the police to arrest, detain and make sure judgement is passed? But we just implore them that let them do the right thing this time. If they don’t, we will go ahead and apply for habeas corpus so that they can show cause why they should keep him in detention against the provision of the Constitution, which specifically gives 48 hours to take an accused person to court. So, they would have violated provisions of the Constitution if they don’t take him to court latest by tomorrow (Friday). But with the PF, expect anything; they have no regard for the law! Remember, earlier this year, we did report to the police those PF cadres who issued death threats and insults against Kambwili; we engaged the police and gave them the names and phone numbers of the cadres, but up to-date, the police have not moved. But we can’t blame them because the police fear that if they moved against those cadres, they will be retired in national interest,” said Akafumba.