President Edgar Lungu with Fred M'membe . This was in 2005 at Kabwata Police Post when Fred M'membe was a client of Mr Lungu
President Edgar Lungu with Fred M’membe . This was in 2005 at Kabwata Police Post when Fred M’membe was a client of Mr Lungu

Dawood Salim, a freelance Zambian journalist based in Lusaka has appealed to president Lungu to pardon incarcerated veteran journalist and blogger, Derick Sinjela.

The Supreme Court of Zambia jailed Mr Sinjela for contempt by handing over a custodial sentence for 18 months effectively to Derrick Sinjela over his contempt case. The Court sentenced Sinjela for his remarks over the Savenda Vs Stanbic case in which corruption and irregularity were alleged.

In a letter addressed to the President, Mr Salim appealed to the President’s history as a friend of the media and defender of media practitioners, and begged the him to invoke his discretion on the prerogative of mercy and pardon Derrick Sinjela.

Below is the full letter

His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu
President of the Republic of Zambia
State House,

LUSAKA

RE: Appeal for the pardoning of Comrade Derrick Sinjela

Greetings Your Excellency,

My name is Dawood Salim, a freelance Zambian journalist based in Lusaka.

Your Excellency, I write to you in my personal and individual capacity to echo calls already made by fellow journalists, media bodies and other interested parties that have beseeched you to invoke your discretion on the prerogative of mercy as President of the Republic of Zambia and pardon our jailed colleague Derrick Sinjela, Editor of The Rainbow Newspaper.

As you may be aware, Your Excellency, Comrade Sinjela was on December 20, 2018 sentenced to 18 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to contempt of court.

Sir, I have been particularly affected, saddened and depressed about Comrade Sinjela’s jailing because he was instrumental in moulding my journalism career which began some 12 years ago.

Your Excellency, in the years I have known Comrade Sinjela, he has helped mould and mentor scores of young journalists and has always been passionate about providing a platform for ordinary Zambians to speak about the different issues that affect them.

Sir, his jailing has robbed the media industry of an experienced media practitioner, a media freedoms campaigner and mentor to many upcoming scribes of the industry.

Your Excellency, I visited Comrade Sinjela at Lusaka Central Prison last Sunday and I will not belabour to talk about the congestion and difficulties that he and other inmates have to endure in our prisons.

Suffice to say, Your Excellency, I humbly beg you to invoke your discretion on the prerogative of mercy and please pardon Derrick Sinjela.

Sir, I drew the confidence to write you from history that puts you in the position of a friend of the media and defender of media practitioners.

In fact Your Excellency, part of the evidence engraved in Zambian media history to prove your friendship to the media and your involvement in defending journalists has been documented by Comrade Sinjela himself.

Your Excellency, Comrade Sinjela is the journalist who took the now iconic image of you at Kabwata Police Station in 2005 when you were lead counsel in the case where then Post Editor-In-Chief Fred M’membe was charged with defamation of late President Levy Mwanawasa.

Kindly find attached, Sir, the said image which features you, your then client Fred M’membe and other defenders of journalists at the time.

Your Excellency, I thank you in advance and may God Almighty continue to grant you wisdom and strength as you lead this our great nation, Zambia.

God bless you, Sir.

Yours Sincerely,
Salim Dawood

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21 COMMENTS

  1. In his song “The Poor Man Feel”, Peter Tosh says “Gotta find a solution to this pollution, The poor man a feel it”. In other words, in the mean time its the poor mans’ burden until a solution is found

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    • Please stop involving the president in this matter. Let him just serve the sentence. Classic example comrade Mwakalombe who was pardoned by the president but unfortunately he is now in the front role insulting the president, eecl. Quite sad indeed.

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    • @ 1.1 Sosoliso.
      Which Mwakalombe are you referring to? If it is Japhen Mwakalombe I would be surprised because I do not remember Mwakalombe serving any jail sentence and besides he is copperbelt minister in Mr. Edgar Lungu’s government.

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    • @ 1.4 Sosoliso,
      You may have mixed up some information. Mwaliteta was not pardoned by the President, he was acquitted by the High Court of Zambia.

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    • A very well written letter, we all pray the President will allow reason to prevail and be both kind hearted and level minded to remember his past as an advocate of justice in his role as lead council in many cases not just the DPP v Fred Mmembe but also his role in the defence of those accused in the Zero Option case. Also this once again highlights our repressive judicial and penal system that can send a poor journalist to such a custodial sentence for a minor offence, it also brings home the reality of our death camps (prisons) that must be improved for everyone’s sake including those who think they will never enter a foot in.

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  2. Interesting that Fred used ECL as his lawyer. To turn around and try and destroy his name shows the dark side Fred has. It was purely political and an attempt to grab power by Fred. Sinjela should serve his full sentence for his unprofessional conduct and hos attempts to disparage the judiciary.

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    • Some comments one wonders what to make of them.How can anyone accuse M’membe of trying to destroy Edgar?Cant you see that Edgar has destroyed the country?Right now there is no money in the country,and that is compounded by the lack of ideas of how to correct the damage caused.Government shows total lack of competence and concern about the future,what are they doing to bring down the cost of living?What are they doing about creation of jobs?Nothing.They are only focused with taxing citizens to death literally and what is worse they dont want to be questioned about how they use the money they collect,worse still the debt they are paying for has literally been looted.Surely only the people who are part of the indiscipline called PF government can praise him.
      And one has to feel sorry for…

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    • Destroyed the country to what extent?? Yes liquidity is low but basic economic indicators are intact-inflation is single digit, exchange rate is stable, constitution is in place and fundamental institutions are functioning ok-which country is your dundumwezi clouded brain referring to??

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  3. @Mailon, your name says it. An empty tin that has a pathological hatred for HE the President. If you have no money, don’t blame it on the president but your lazy ass. get to work and stop complaining on a daily basis.

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  4. If i were president Lungu, i would not entertain such request as no mension or sign of repetence by the journalist, so why consider such a request.

    This should be a big reason for thise people who speak and write things without facts.

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  5. So the judiciary are a bunch of gods who should never be criticized? SMH. In this country even judges are now dictators. Everyone wants to be worshiped including people who are supposed to protect the freedoms of others. People can’t just keep quite when they see something wrong with the judiciary. Every person should have the right to criticize a government officials when they seem to go astray. Judges are payed from our taxes and we shouldn’t just be watching when they’re destroying the judiciary. Whatever law allows judges to commit wrongs in the courts of laws should be amended. People should be free to criticise judges the same way the president is criticized. Members of parliament, this is what you’re elected to do. Change such laws.

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    • That’s why the Amended Constitution 2016 created the JCC. Gone are the days you attack judges in the Post newspaper.

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  6. Country has clear guidelines on how you can challenge or critise the judges.

    If you do it you own way, you face the consequences.

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  7. let him serve the sentence to deter other journalists from practicing fake or dundu journalism. we have lost credible and potential investors who would have come and created employment but because of these cowthern fake journalists, the business world think zambia is more corrupt than nigeria and drc , somalia is more democratic than zambia, syria and libya are more peaceful than zambia. zesco, znbc and zaffico have the been sold to the chinese, hh will fix it ( God knws what the goone is gonna fix) just to mention a few. let him rot in jail after all he was paid for producing fake or dundu news

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  8. How desperate can people be?The article is about the Republican President to pardon the jailed journalist not what Lungu was or wasn’t. That’s how we lose focus. ..instead of debating whether the request has merit or not we resort to insulting the president albeit in veiled innuendos. He’s president whether we like it or not. …insult him as much your bitter heart feels, the world will keep on turning, it will continue even after Lungu is gone. But as of now he’s got human power to pardon Mr Sinjela, it’s his prerogative.

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  9. We elect presidents based on the brain power not the appearance.
    Edgar is and has always been an ‘A’ pupil, student, Lawyer, Minister, Secretary General and now president.

    Not some of the elements i know in politics.

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