Police in Lusaka have arrested National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili and charged him with Defamation of the President contrary to section 69 of the Penal Code.
This is in connection with a statement recently made by the former Chief Government spokesperson where he said “…not ishi imbwa shabantu, yaleikalafye ku Chawama…” during a conversation with an unidentified person.
Kambwili, who has been denied police bond pending court appearance in the Defamation of the President case, says he has now gotten used to getting arrested, as this was the ninth time in a space of two years.
Speaking to journalists after appearing at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court for one of his other pending cases, Wednesday, Kambwili said he understood that he was only being arrested every now and then because some people were scared of him.
“Why is it that every time I am arrested, I am not given police bond? Are you not surprised that every other person, when they are arrested, they are given bond? But when I am arrested, there is no police bond. So only the heavens will help us. But it’s just a question of people being scared of me. This is my ninth arrest in two years. I have been arrested [for] the ninth time today and there is no police bond. So I have been arrested because of a video that has gone viral where I was saying…you know Bemba has got expressions to deal with situations. So I was saying ‘ishi imbwa shakutila ati shali excited…’ but the matter is now in court and we’ll give the evidence in court,” Kambwili said.
He also advised his supporters against fighting with the police officers who were taking him back to Lusaka Central Police where he was kept for the night.
“Hey, can you behave! Stop fighting with the police. These are innocent people, babatuminefye (they have just been sent). Finshi mwabela so (why are you like this)? Stop misbehaving. These are our own people, our officers. You know who has sent them so why do you want to fight them? They are innocent people and they are just doing their job. Can you move away, let the police do their job,” Kambwili told his supporters who tried to protest his detention.
Earlier in the morning, Kambwili appeared at the Lusaka Central Police Station around 10:00 hours following a summon served on Tuesday afternoon by officers from the Anti-Robbery Unit popularly known as C5.
Kambwili was, however, not allowed access immediately he got to the police station as he had an altercation with armed police officers who had locked the gate.
But around 10:25 hours, police officers opened the gate after Kambwili wondered why they had summoned him in the first place if they did not want to allow him in for interviews.
“What is this nonsense? You called us here, we have come and now you have locked the gate. What’s the meaning of that? Why did you call us here if you don’t want us to go inside? I have got a court case at 12: 00 hours, open the gate we go in. Why even bring all these police officers with guns, for what?” Kambwili asked.
He also said he was not afraid of being arrested because he had now gotten used to it.
“We are used, is this the first time I am getting arrested? We have told them they can effect arrests 50 times if they want but they won’t intimidate us. But this same nonsense of wasting taxpayers’ money by sending 15 police officers to my home with guns, excuse me. This issue of coming with guns must come to an end. I am not a common criminal to send police officers with AK 47 riffles. This must come to an end and it must be condemned by all Zambians. If they want me, leave a callout [for me] and I will come and answer to their inquiries,” said Kambwili before he went in for interviews.
After interrogations, Kambwili was then taken to the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court by armed police officers at about 12:28 hours, where he was appearing for another pending case.
One of Kambwili’s lawyers, Christopher Mundia, informed journalists that police had denied his client bond.
“He has been charged with Defamation of the President. There is an allegation that there is a video circulating online and the allegation is that he made reference to ‘dogs from Chawama’. So the Police have drawn inference that he (Kambwili) was referring to the Head of State as a dog from Chawama and that is why they have decided to charge him with Defamation of the President, contrary to Section 69 of the Penal Code. Our expectation is that he will appear in court tomorrow (Thursday). But he has been denied police bond, so they are going to detain him overnight,” said Mundia.
Meanwhile, an unidentified police officer caused commotion at the Police Station as he harassed journalists who had gone to cover Kambwili and prevented them from capturing the moment when the opposition leader was being taken inside.
The police officer exchanged spiteful words with journalists before he took it out on them with insulting language and threats of arrests while physically pushing a named journalist.
But other officers later took him away.