President Edgar Lungu has pardoned Rainbow Newspaper proprietor Derrick Sinjela and four others as part of his 63rd Birthday celebrations.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe, President Lungu has also pardoned Chief Mulongwe, former Mines Minister in the MMD government Maxwell Mwale, former Barotseland administrator general Afumba Mombotwa and former Zambia Airforce Commander Christopher Singogo.

“To mark his 63rd Birthday, which falls today (Monday), His Excellency, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, has pardoned five inmates from various correctional facilities. The President has pardoned chief Mulongwe; former Mines Minister in the MMD government, Maxwell Mwale; journalist, Derrick Sinjela; Afumba Mombotwa and former Zambia Airforce Commander Christopher Singongo,” read a statement, Monday.

“The President’s action is in line with Article 97 of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter (1) of the laws of Zambia, which provides for Presidential Pardon and Substitution of Severe Punishments imposed on the convicted.”

Addressing questions during his third media conference at State House last Friday, President Lungu had pledged to review Sinjela’s sentence, which was due to be completed next month.

“…Sinjela should be freed? I don’t know. He allegedly insulted the courts? You know, these matters are a bit tricky. I had his name on my list just the other day; I will think about him in future, and I hope he hasn’t substantially served his term. When is he supposed to come out? December, this year? Ah, ana choka kudala uyu! (He’s already out!)” said President Lungu, amidst a rapturous applause from over 200 journalists.

“With remission, you know, they give remissions. So, muzamuza chabe abwele pa nyumba manje manje (you should tell him he’s coming home soon) so, I will find out. It’s not a very good place to be in there (prison); he was classified as our journalist in jail and they attributed that to me, then I followed up the matter, I said it’s not me, it’s the State. The State is bigger than the Executive.”