CONSTITUTIONAL lawyer John Sangwa has written to Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja, seeking the help of his office to establish the people behind fake social media accounts in his name.
And Sangwa has also lodged a complaint to the IG against the threats issued by PF Lusaka provincial chairperson Kennedy Kamba and former political advisor to the President Kaizer Zulu against him.
In separate letters addressed to the Inspector General of Police dated May 24, Sangwa said the use of his name and photograph in fake Twitter and Facebook accounts without his permission cannot be justified or defended.
He explained that when he first reported the matter to ZICTA, the Facebook account was successfully closed but other accounts were created soon after that.
“I seek the help of your office. Sometime last year, I learnt that some unknown person(s) had used my name and photograph to create fictitious Facebook and Twitter accounts. I made representations to the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), who successfully closed the Facebook account. Soon after that, other accounts were created. On further representations ZICTA advised me to report the matter to your office for investigations to establish the person(s) responsible for these fake accounts. The information I have is that these accounts are accessible through the links below: https://www.facebook.com/john.sangwa.37051 https://twitter.com/JohnSangwaSC,” Sangwa said.
“The latest post on Facebook, I have been made aware of, reads: ‘Fighting for justice and the rule of law in Zambia, I’ve now been put on PF’s most wanted list. My life is clearly threatened here. But I’m not afraid, I’m ready. I was ready the day I decided to be a lawyer, to take on the cause for justice without fear or favour’. Whilst I have always been a defender of freedom of expression, I do not believe that to use my name and photograph without my permission, in this case, can be justified or defended.”
And in his complaint against Kamba and Zulu, Sangwa noted that there was no need for differences of opinion to be resolved through threats of violence.
“It has been brought to my attention that Lusaka Province Patriotic Front (PF) Chairman and Member of the Central Committee issued a statement calling on all members of the PF in Lusaka to treat me as a political opponent wherever I am found. I have taken the liberty to attach a copy of the said report, which reads: “Treat Sangwa As a Political Opponent Wherever He is Found, PF in Lusaka Directs Its Members.’ Also brought to my attention is a Facebook post attributed to Mr Kaizer Zulu, which reads: “SANGWA ALAPONOKA!” I believe that differences of opinion are healthy and expected in any civilised society, but I do not think they should be resolved through threats of violence,” he stated.
“Further, before writing this letter, I did check and note that Parliament has not repealed Section 90 of the Penal Code Act. It is still an offence in Zambia to threaten violence. I, therefore, have reasonable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. I accordingly take the liberty to formally submit my criminal complaint to you against Messrs Kamba and Zulu without prejudice to any other legal options available to me.”
He noted that it has always been his position that President Lungu was not eligible to contest the 2021 elections but added that he had never disparaged anyone with a contrary view.
“It has always been my position that in terms of our Constitution, President Lungu, having been elected and sworn into office of President on 25th January 2015 and 13th September 2016, is not eligible to contest the 2021 election. I have never threatened or disparaged anyone with a contrary view. Instead, I consistently preached that there is a mechanism in Article 52 of the Constitution to resolve the issue once President Lungu has lodged his nomination paper for election to the office of President in 2021. It entails moving the Constitutional Court, a Court created for this specific purpose and not to resort violence. This is the only civilized way of resolving differences. Article 52 of the Constitution was introduced to serve this purpose,” Sangwa said.
He added that if Kamba and Zulu believed that President Lungu qualifies to contest the election, the answer was not in issuing threats but should rather assemble a team of credible team of lawyers to respond to the issues raised.
“Sir, to Messrs Kamba and Zulu and their supporters, if they truly believe that President Lungu qualifies to contest the election in 2021, the answer is not to issue threats but to assemble a credible team of lawyers well-schooled in constitutional law to respond to the issues we have raised in the Petition in Cause No. 2021/CCZ/27, on behalf of Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa and Chapter One Foundation Limited,” stated Sangwa.