Pilato arrival
Pilato arrival

Police in Lusaka have detained controversial musician Pilato on his return from a self-imposed exile in South Africa.

Plain clothed police officers intercepted Pilato at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport when he landed from South Africa.

Pilato confirmed his detention on his Facebook page shortly after he was picked.

He is due to appear in court tomorrow along with five other activists who took part in a protest against the purchase of fire trucks.

“I have been detained at Kenneth Kaunda airport… Upon arrival, however the spirit will not die… I will hand over all my gadgets to the friends of Pilato, they will be updating you on everything,” he wrote.

In December 2017, Pilato released Koswe Mumpoto which contains veiled references to current and former Zambian leaders and alludes to the country’s complicated politics.

The rapper received threats from PF cadres the day the song was released with PF Central Province Youth Chairman Moses Chilando giving Pilato 48 hours to withdraw the song or face unspecified actions.

Pilato was then forced to flee to Johannesburg.

A warrant for Pilato’s arrest was issued on February 5 after he failed to appear in the Lusaka Magistrate Court on charges connected to his participation in a peaceful protest in September 2017 over the purchase of fire trucks.

Pilato insists that the timing of the warrant is suspicious.

And Amnesty International says the arrest of Pilato is a shocking demonstration of how far the Zambian government is prepared to go to strangle all criticism and crack down on freedom of expression.

“The arrest of Pilato as soon as he arrived back on home soil is a shocking affront to justice. It shows the lengths to which Zambian authorities are prepared to go to stifle dissent,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“Pilato is not a criminal, he is an activist and artist. He should not spend a single night in jail. He must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

“This is a classic case of misuse of the criminal justice system in Zambia, and is designed to deal with anyone who demands accountability or is seen to be embarrassing the government,” he said.

“Pilato is not a fugitive from justice. What he is facing is blatant and unfair persecution for speaking out against abuse of power,” said Mr. Muchena.

Pilato being led out of KKIA by plain clothed police officers
Pilato being led out of KKIA by plain clothed police officers
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64 COMMENTS

  1. He was arrested on the warrant from court. Know your law before you write ma labbishi amnesty

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    • Why did you run away Pilato? You are guilty of something that you yourself know. Fima Politics Fyabupuba!

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    • Dont be myopic please,the warrant was issued due to the unncesary criminal case for protesting about the one million dollar fire trucks.Was it really necesary for him to be arrested?Todate there have been no answers on these firetrucks which cost the nation 42 million dollars,all we have seen are more scandals the latest being the Swaziland mansion saga.For all intents and purposes this is not a matter that should be in court in fact the one who should be in court is the one who allowed this prosecution as it ia a case of abuse of authority of office.

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    • Lungu and his id1ots at it again. Why is he still afraid of criticism? Is it because he knows its true that him and cronys have and continue to steal from the poor Zambian public without shame?

      Lungu is one id10t of a president who has legalised theft by public servants and denying Zambians their freedoms.

      Lungu and his thugs should be removed by any means at any cost!

      Cant wait to see Lungu gone!!!!

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    • Yes Lungu doesnt want criticism That is why he keeps that Presidential criminal defamation clause in our laws. Any lawyer president who cares about democracy and his people would have quickly removed that. People like Pilato are needed in any society. They keep checks and balances by shouting out loud the faults of political leadership

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    • The chap absconded the court of law…are we becoming a banana republic that the law should be broken willy nilly?

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    • This is absolutely unacceptable. Lungu is a dictator for allowing this. Freedom of speech, which Zambia subscribes to, means just that. It means people should be free to speak their minds, and criticize government leaders without fear of getting arrested. Government leaders work for the people. You work for us, and not the other way around. We hire you and can fire you, if you’re doing a lousy job. You’re dictators. You’re hypocrites. Don’t even pretend like you respect human rights in Zambia. Stifling freedom of speech and freedom of expression should never be happening in a country that calls itself, a democratic nation. You might as well change your name to “North Korea 2.” Shame on you. Let him go.

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  2. Too bad for the person who endured a two hour flight sitting next to Pilato. He/she should have alert the flight attendant of unpleasant smell.

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  3. Oh ok and they just picked everyone now…this does not make sense…it’s true common sense is not very common.
    I am tired of the PF games they think they will be in power forever. Your day is coming Ba Koswe

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  4. Pilato is being arrested for having conferred with Zodwa (who was allegedly semi-naked at the meeting) in South Africa among other offences.

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  5. I still see nothing wrong with the Ba Koswe song. I have it. I even have Taba Landa Sana. Contempt of Court is a crime. Amnesty International should not mislead people. Now the guy has an extra case which warranties a seperate sentence. Most of us Zambians are generally corrupt. I don’t think we even understand what’s wrong with corruption. Its normal for us to give gratification to persons in authority in order for them to illegally exercise their duties in our favour. We are koswas. Even Pilato is a koswe too. if your political affliation based on tribe you are a koswe. If you have bribed a police you are a koswe

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  6. In Zambia we see nothing wrong with everything including, murder, prostitution, husband snatching. Talk of Charmaine.
    Other things we do not see anything wrong with include, theft, squander of public resources, using government vehicles for private errands.
    Gangsterism (talk of Tokota, Sons of the devil)
    What is going on? Where have we gone wrong?. Where did we go wrong?
    What should we do?.

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  7. Welcome back home Pilato. In Namwanga they say “Mwana watuka nyoko, amanguzi Yandi yakulete”. It basically means, ‘ child, you’ve insulted your mother but don’t forget that the evening will come and you will come home to sleep’. Don’t mistake me for someone who is supporting your oppression. I am just stating what is in the minds of those who are punishing you wrongly.

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  8. Pilato Welcome home. There is no place like home. You sacrifice for the voiceless, handicapped, poor and the needy is what makes the humanity a force to reckon with. In Bemba we say, ‘ ululumbi lwa mulanda kukakata. ‘ it mean for the poor person to be famous, he needs to be fearless and to show resiliency. Pilato remember the wise world of Martin Luther king Jr. ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not in times of comfort and convenience but in times of difficulty and controversy.’
    2: when the PF chairman in Kabwe made a threat on your life the all judiciary/police never acted promptly to preserve your life and the way left was a remarkable achievement for anyone to see. Your blood and suffering will life longer than these criminals the judiciary, police and the PF thugs

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  9. Pilato,
    U are becoming more popular/famous than your president. I salute your encouragement.
    It’s a matter of time before they understand where they got it wrong for persecuting U wrongly. Continue the struggle, we are behind U in the fight against corruption

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  10. Pilato,
    U are becoming more popular/famous than your president. I salute your courage
    It’s a matter of time before they realized where they got it wrong for persecuting U wrongly. Continue the struggle, we are behind U in the fight against corruption

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  11. This skunk thought South Africa is heaven! Now you are back to dance pelete! I’m sure your sponsors ran out of money to rent the flat in South Africa.

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    • He should have produced more songs while in South Africa so he can release them now

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    • You seem to be a papet, Pilato is real and don’t tell me you don’t see what’s going with this poor gov

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  12. Good , come back home. The koswes were getting comfortable with your exile…….better to be home and let everyone see what they do…….

    This is a headache for lungu and his gang of theives…..pilato was silent when he was away…..now he is back..
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  13. Pilato has achieved nothing but just prolonged his pain. by now this case would have been over . now he has two charges running from the law. quiet unnecessary. work done Zero .

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    • Publicity ……in the business pilato is in publicity is king…….pumlicity sells an artist.
      He has done very well. He is in the limelight.

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    • Good point Billy. The guy committed a crime which is different from what made him runaway. Apparently, if his has the guts the first case was going to be solved without him going to jail on technical grounds. But now he decided to start something which is against the courts and the guy is definitely going in which shall dent his name forever. Ubwaume kusempa but not in this way. You see, Pilato you acted like a crocodile which runs away from the rains into the river after sun bathing for a good number of hours on the bank of a river. When it starts raining the croc decides to run away so that it does not get soaked and into the river cooowaaaaa!!!!! Well come bro to the family.

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    • The same measure you measure on others will be measured to you, let’s be careful everything has got it’s time.

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    • You are forgetting that he complained of death threats some of them recorded by PF cadres as they issued them with impunity

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  14. He said he’d run away to save his life so what has changed? I don’t support his arrest but let’s wait for the charges.

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  15. What a country…..People need to be allowed to express their opinions in any way they deem fit..why arrest Pilato??? I am mortified by this sad development!!!!

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    • Guys honestly the fact that u have freedom of expresion does not give u the right to provoc peolpe there is always a beter way doing things

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    • Freedom of expression indeed. You see NBA, even when you borrow something, the owner has NO right to come to your home ANYHOW. The law of trespassing protects you. If the lender fails to honor his/her obligations you can go to police or courts of law. There is no law that say you can abuse someone as you wish. So let no one hides in the law which is not there. Pilato as an artist can sing what he feels will help people to understand something and not to create anarchy in the country. Let no one hide in freedom of expression to bring discontentment. Is he the only musician? Careful with how some megalomaniacs use you!

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    • What is provoking people? People are usually provoked by someone revealing the truths they want to hide. What is wrong with exposing public figures?

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  16. I hope that Pilato’s detention serves to make him a better person. Later he can join politics as a mature man!

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  17. Welcome back pilato we applaud you for your courage and works. A simple teacher organized rallies against Mugabe little did he know those rallies will lead to dramatic change, even you have alerted us to the corruption by koswe and now everything you said is coming to light. We can’t progress with this amount of corruption

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  18. Why arresting Pilato? The man should instead be given an award for championing the fight against corruption!

    He never mentioned names in his song so why persecuting the young man? His song is not directed at one person but at the nation as a whole, Zambians must learn to stop corrupt activities or else we will never ever develop this is the message in his song!

    Release Pilato!!!!!

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  19. Without taking sides I think lyrics of insults to whomever it is directed is not the road to success!

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  20. What has Pilato achieved by going out to talk bu$hit about your own country?
    If indeed Pilato is confident he understands politics better than most Zambians let him do the honorable thing and JOIN POLITICS.Let him go the FRED MEMBE way.
    PILATO is just one of the many artists in our country who cant make a living out of art.
    People in South Africa must be wondering.The guy doesnt even have an ALBUM worth talking about to his name.
    Next time you see PILATO please tell him I said I hope the water in SA cleaned him.He looks dirty most of the time.

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  21. Sorry he is a criminal. One just can’t blab whatever comes into his head without due thought and process

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  22. Wherever the Headquarters of Amnesty International is located, this Institution has downgraded itself to a PUPPETS OF THE RICH. Taking into account the Bush’s US Government that sowed seeds of human disasters in Iraq, and the current racial tones BELLOWING OUT from Donald Trump, the so called Amnesty International has remained mute to the plight of the poor globally. In Zambia, Amnesty International behaved like ostriches by burying their heads in deep Kalahari sand when a wealthy opposition leader displaced several Ila people from their land of birth right. Katuka became a Professor of economics telling the Ila that HH was merely conducting business transactions. Which monsters are running Amnesty International?.
    Money is an evil that has transformed the rich into

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    • It’s silent on the more than 60 Palestinian protesters shot in cold blood by the Israelis. It’s silent on Hussain the Egyptian journalist who’s been in prison for more than 500 days without trial.

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    • ….and the Christians being brutalized in Egypt and other Arab countries??? We never hear Amnesty voice out on this???

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  23. DICTATORSHIP ON THE RISE – ANYONE FOUND CRITICISING WILL BE LOCKED UP !!!!!!!!!! GOING THE SAME WAY AS ZIMBABWE – WHAT A DISGRACE TO OUR NATION !!!!!

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  24. All I see too much utulo pa Zambia, many of you follow Lungu and his PFOOLS blindly. Pilato stood up and voiced out the corruptions and injustices of Lungu and the manutritioned police officers in Zambia. He has no cause to answer he has the right to freedom of speech and expression. Zambia is ruled by thugs and a dictator from Malawi.

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  25. Zambia ruled by thugs and a dictator from Malawi. Zambians too much utulo you know Lungu is stealing from everyone and yet you are here criticizing Pilato for standing up for his rights of free speech and expression. Where is freedom in Zambia? Majority of Zambians are living in poverty and this dictator is stealing resources from the government to build mansions. Wake up people, stop following blindly and make a difference than asking for a small percentage of cash from your politicians.

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  26. That’s the spirit, young man. Face the law as a man. Remember that self-imposed imprisonment(that is, going into self-imposed exile) is more painful than a fixed term of imprisonment slapped by a court of law because the former may last forever.

    Your family needs you, Plato. Don’t be cheated . Avoid playing to the gallery because should anything happen to you, none of those you may be trying to please will be there to share the burden with you. In fact they will be among the first to laugh at you. Mau aakulu akoma akagonela, as the Chewas say.

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    • Poor advice. Any musician plays to the gallery. Those Chewa sayings dont ring. You Chewas gave us Lungu

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  27. Pilato contact me. I have written a song about a mansion built in a foreign land with stolen money. I need someone to sing it
    083 3461122

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  28. …Laura Miti and others are still going to court and have not been arrested. Pilato stopped going to court, if the PF cadres wanted to kill him, what has changed for him to come back??? Dramatics and s.t.u.pi.d1.dity, that’s what this is all about!!! We all know what happens when you decide to skip court, let alone don’t switch off your cell phone in court!! Is Pilato special????????

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  29. Where are we heading to with our government ? It’s not making sense in any way .

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  30. Those supporting this oppression and intimidation for opposing views, let it be known that when you end up in the same circumstances, there may be no one left to speak for you. Pilato sang a political satire song. So what? He did not commit treason or assault anyone. If anything, it is actually an offence to threaten to kill someone. Was there any arrest in response to the death threats on him?
    As they say, (and aptly for this regime) “A proverb about a tattered basket, makes the man in rags uneasy”

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  31. Let pilato 2move freely anything wrong 2him, if u wat can u trouble HH not pilato…..

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