POLICE spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo has dismissed assertions that the command applies double standards when dealing with pornography-related matters, saying cops are still looking for the person who produced and circulated an obscene video involving former general education minister David Mabumba.
But Zitukile Consortium executive director Nicholas Phiri insists that police are playing double standards by arresting two medical workers for producing obscene material but failing to arrest politicians involved in the same crime.
When asked whether police were selectively applying the law on the production and circulation of pornographic material by arresting John Chewe and Angela Kapumba yet they did not arrest Mabumba and other politicians, Katongo said Mabumba was not arrested because he neither recorded nor circulated the video.
“I think I gave a clear explanation about Hon Mabumba’s issue , unless it was difficult to understand . Go and read the law 1st question, who produced Hon. Mabumba’s video? When it was recorded, was he aware, second question, who circulated it? Police investigations revealed that it was not Hon Mabumba who recorded it. It was done without him knowing and was later circulated after a failed attempt to extort money from him. So in short in Hon Mabumba’s case, we are looking for a person who produced and circulated. How does this become selective application of the law?” Katongo said.
But in an interview, Phiri insisted that police were playing double standards.
“There is no question about whether the police are playing double standards. I think all these leakages, the first leakage that we saw in public was a high profile leakage by the Minister of Traditional Affairs, honourable Lawrence Sichalwe. The police spokesperson then said they were investigating the matter, while it looks like they are investigating the matter from three years up to now, they are still investigating the matter and yet it was circulated by the Minister himself. In as far as the penal code is concerned, circulation of obscene material, possession, production is an offence. It was not up to the police to tell us that the Minister did it by mistake. That is upto the court to determine. We saw the other one by honourable David Mabumba, it was said that it was not him who produced and circulated okay then who did and circulated? The same system that has enabled them to clamp the other people that have been circulating obscene materials is the same system that must apply,” Phiri said.
He said selectiveness in application of justice had destroyed the country’s justice system.
“This is what we keep on saying we have created a jungle justice system in this country where those of us without access to powers, you commit a crime or suspected to commit a crime you will be picked within seconds. But everyone else connected with power who are in government are immune to issues of criminality. Mabumba was dropped from government as Minister, what we expected was for him to be prosecuted, the same with Lawrence Sichalwe. This has not happened but for the other people they are going to go in, if they don’t get good lawyers. So in terms of human rights, human rights require non discrimination in the implemetationm of the law, it requires equality before the law. It requires that every human be treated as humans. Unfortunately this is not happening in this country,” said Phiri.
“The same thing with this money circulating on the cyber space, if it was anyone of the opposition members doing that or if it was anyone of the people not connected to the powers, displaying of stolen money publicly in place even defying the President’s directive by this time they would have been speaking in prison. This country has been destroyed in terms of the justice system because of criminal elements hiding behind the political shield.”