Southern Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC) executive director Gregory Chifire says President Edgar Lungu must apologise to Rainbow Newspaper Editor-In-Chief Derrick Sinjela for wrongful imprisonment by the Judiciary.
And Chifire says the reversal of President Lungu’s decision to pardon Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) activist Afumba Mombotwa confirms fears by the people of Baroseland about the victimisation that people in that region have allegedly been suffering at the hands of the PF government.
In a statement, Chifire said there was nothing to thank President Lungu for after Sinjela’s release because the latter did not deserve to be sent to prison for merely exercising his duties as a journalist.
“I am happy that my brother Derrick Sinjela has been released on Presidential pardon. However, there is nothing to thank the President about this pardon because in the first place, Derrick was not supposed to be in prison as he is not a criminal, but was merely executing his duty as a Journalist. If anything, President Lungu owes Derrick an apology for having been sent to prison by the Judiciary, an arm of President Lungu’s government which he supervises. President Lungu owes every citizen a fiduciary duty of care. He is the custodian of our rights and freedoms which he is obliged by law to protect. To the media fraternity, I strongly feel that you neglected your colleague. There are institutions such as MISA Zambia and others that has capacity to help with legal representation, but they didn’t. Now that Sinjela is out, he needs material and financial support more than mere solidarity,” Chifire stated.
Chifire also condemned the reversal of Mombotwa’s pardon by Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo.
“On the reversal of Presidential Pardon of Afumba Mombotwa, I hate to advise that the reversal was done in bad faith. A presidential pardon is a decree, and the President in pardoning a Prison does not make a decision single handedly, it’s the work of a set committee and cannot be easily reversed. This action confirms long held fear by the people of Baroseland about the victimisation they are suffering in the hands of the government. I demand immediate release of Mombotwa as per presidential directive,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Chifire gave an update on his decision to drag the state to the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights, saying the matter was still active before the Commission.
“On my case that I took the state to the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights, I wish to announce that the case is still active. My decision to take the matter to the Commission is influenced by my desire for justice, not for me as an individual, but for the collective majority and future generations. I challenged the decision of the court with utmost respect to the institution of justice as I believe that if this judgment is not expunged from statute books, the precedence that it has set has far reaching consequences,” stated Chifire.