STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NON GOVERNMANTAL ORGANISATIONS CORDINATING COUNCIL (NGOCC) MS. SARA H. LONGWE DURING A MEDIA BRIEFING ON THE DECSION BY PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU TO PARDON GENERAL KANENE
MEMBERS OF THE PRESS,
NGOCC NETWORK MEMBER ORGANISATIONS PRESENT,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
On Thursday, July 16th 2015, President Edgar Lungu pardoned a convicted girl child defiler, Clifford Dimba aka General Kanene who was serving an 18-year-jail sentence. General Kanene was convicted by a competent court of law that he molested and abused a girl child below the age of 16.
Clearly, President Lungu is increasingly becoming a danger not only to the nation but more specifically to the welfare of the girl child in Zambia. While well meaning Zambians are busy fighting gender based violence (GBV), and more specifically child defilement, President Pungu seems to be comfortable with the increased cases of child abuse as demonstrated in his release of general kanene. President Lungu must be reminded that he was elected to secure and safeguard the interests of all Zambians, including girl children.
President Lungu’s appetite to keep himself in power at any cost, even if it means embracing girl child defilers, is appalling and disgusting to say the least. The recent presidential pardons of criminals for political expedience by the pf government is now threatening the safety of this country especially the vulnerable girl children.
The decision by the president to pardon a convicted child defiler, is not only an insult to the women of Zambia, but a serious draw back in the fight against child defilement and GBV.
What the president is saying in his pardon is that as long as anyone is in good books with him or his party, they can abuse and defile children and they will not face the wrath of the law. It is unfortunate that at the time Zambia needs leadership in the fight against defilement the head of state is in the forefront abetting and encouraging people to abuse girl children.
While we appreciate that kanene may have reformed and is now championing the fight against gbv, the reality is so have many other prisoners who have committed various crimes who will serve their full sentence .
We call upon President Lungu to seriously introspect and reflect on his decision to release a convicted defiler. President lungu is seriously undermining the judicial system by selectively releasing convicts who he has a personal interest in. While, the law gives the president power to pardon convicts, we sincerely believe that president Lungu is abusing his power, for political expedience. Surely what is so special with general kanene to be released after committing such a heinous crime against a girl child? Did president lungu think about the victim when he decided to pardon General Kanene?
The girl child that was defiled by Mr Dimba will not receive any justice now that the president has decided to pardon him.
As long as President Lungu remains the head of state, the fight against gbv will remain a pipe dream. We challenge all the women in the Patriotic Front (PF) government to voice against this injustice against the girl child. If President Lungu and the pf want the support of the women, this decision must be reversed immediately.
It is for this reason that the women’s movement continues to advocate for a new people driven republican constitution that will regulate the powers of the president. The current constitution gives too much power to the president which is not good for the country.
NGOCC will remain consistent in demanding for the enactment of the new constitution through a national referendum. We primarily demand for the enactment of the new constitution through a national referendum because an expanded bill of right will enhance and advance the rights and status of women and children.
The only solution to the many problems that the country is facing is to enact the new constitution before 2016 tripartity elections. Otherswise, individuals will continue to abuse the presidential office.
As an organization we will be left with no option but to go to the public and explain what kind of danger Edgar Lungu is to the women and girl children of this country.
Sara h. Longwe