The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) has said that it is appalled at the emerging trend of unrestrained violation of the constitutionally guaranteed civil and political rights of opposition politicians in this country.
In a statement released to the media today, CiSCA said that The arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Obvious Mwaliteta and others on a lengthy pre-trial detention for one year and the recent detention of Dr. Saviour Chishimba for 8 days on a bailable and bondable offense is inimical to democratic process and dispensation in the country.
Below is the full statement
The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) is appalled at the emerging trend of unrestrained violation of the constitutionally guaranteed civil and political rights of opposition politicians in this country.
The arbitrary deprivation of liberty of Mr. Obvious Mwaliteta and others on a lengthy pre-trial detention for one year and the recent detention of Dr. Saviour Chishimba for 8 days on a bailable and bondable offense is inimical to democratic process and dispensation in the country.
As CiSCA we demand that the government respects all the constitutional provisions without fail. Arbitrary deprivation of liberty that opposition politicians are being subjected to on a daily basis is unconstitutional and if the PF government does not exercise restraint, it will soon become a textbook example of why states are regarded as the biggest violator of human rights especially with the current weak oversight institutions.
What Mwaliteta, Chishimba and others such as HH have experienced and are experiencing has violated a number of their fundamental human rights inclusive of freedom of expression, association and assembly, protection against torture, cruel inhuman treatment or punishment the latter being a non derogable right even in a full blown state of emergency. Additionally, denying individuals the full protection of article 18, provisions to secure protection of the law, one of the lengthiest articles in our Constitution is nothing short of a failed state. Arbitrary deprivation of liberty is used by despotic political leaders the world over. This prompted the Human Rights Council of the UN to set up a Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and we urge the victims to communicate to this group to seek remedy. The Working Group does not require the exhaustion of local legal remedies as treaty bodies do. However, the communication has to have meticulous documentation of their experiences.
CiSCA cannot believe that despite the PF government having made a gigantic “song and dance” during the assenting to the Amended Constitution ceremony in 2016 can put the Constitution on their top shelves and opt to be guided by their base instincts in their efforts to desperately hang on to their hegemony.
We want to remind the PF that constitutionalism is a non-negotiable democratic tenet in modern democratic states and as such, CiSCA and all well-meaning citizens will not stand by and let the Constitution be wantonly violated but would continue to demand that the government of the day respects all the constitutional provisions without fail.
Additionally, denying individuals to secure protection of the law as contained in article 18 is nothing but a symptom of a failed state and therefore, the excuses by the police that they receive orders from ‘above’ to detain people more than the required period needs to be brought to an end.
1The unprofessional practice by the Police to deny political or indeed any detainee police bond through their unprofessional habit of vanishing in thin air and switching off all their phones when their services to sign a bond is required is an abuse of the powers and authority deposited in them and a serious
obstruction of justice.
Furthermore, the purely sadistic ploy of locking up people in police cells over the weekend especially long weekends is an injustice and must stop. A time has come for all patriotic Zambians to embrace the value of justice for all and to relentlessly pursue and bring to justice the so called professionals who commit evil against other people in their line of duty.
To this end, CiSCA would like to applaud the independence displayed by Judge Mwape Bowa on justice served on Obvious Mwaliteta and further request the rest of the bench to focus on the dispensation of justice blind to political or other affiliations.
For those judges that are afraid of political repercussions while discharging their duties, we urge them to voluntarily resign. Or, if they are being constricted in the exercise of their independence to send a communication to the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers whose mandate is to protect and enhance judges and lawyers’ independence and to improve judicial systems.
John H. Mambo
Chairperson – #CivilSocietyConstitutionAgenda #CiSCA