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Friday, May 21, 2021

PF’s Abuse of Sedition Laws

Columns PF’s Abuse of Sedition Laws

By Henry Kyambalesa

It has become common knowledge that the Patriotic Front (PF) administration has often used sedition laws against some citizens who have attempted to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and expression to critique the government’s apparent failure to address the catalogue of socioeconomic problems facing the country and the common people.

Specifically, Section 57 through Section 62 of the Penal Code Act—that is, Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia—have become a vital weapon against citizens who dare to decry the widespread destitution and clear-as-crystal socioeconomic decay and backwardness in our Motherland. The following headlines excerpted from a diversity of news sources are good examples of the use (or is it “abuse”) of sedition laws by the PF administration:

“Two journalists in Zambia arrested, charged with sedition.” (July 19, 2013.)

“Magistrate overturns his earlier judgment and dismisses case of sedition against 4 Barotse Activists.” (December 4, 2013.)

“Three Luyungandambo Barotse Activists appear in Court again for sedition.” (December 9, 2014.)

“Zambia charges … presidential candidate with sedition.” (October 6, 2016.)

“Drop sedition charges against HH and GBM – Amnesty International.” (October 20, 2016.)

“Singer Afunika’s wife charged with seditious publication.” (February 23, 2020.)

“Arresting officer testifies in Mushipe’s sedition case – Zambia.” (June 30, 2020.) And

“Emmanuel Mwamba Reports Sishuwa Sishuwa to the Police for writing and publishing seditious material.” (April 26, 2021.)

Recently, a brother of ours is reported as having reported Dr. Sishuwa Sishuwa “for writing and publishing seditious material.” I have had the opportunity to skim through some of Dr. Sishuwa’s articles.

Apparently, the implicit message I have discerned from his articles is his advocacy for a change in the leadership of our beloved country through the ballot box. There is really nothing seditious about this—it is what citizens and non-PF patriots in opposition political parties are supposed to do.

And PF leaders and supporters would have engaged in the same or similar kinds of rhetoric if they were not in power and had a desire to secure the people’s mandate to form government.

In fact, the issues and problems which Dr. Sishuwa has attempted to highlight in some of his articles are actually undeniable, and they affect the majority of Zambian citizens irrespective of the political parties they belong to and the political leaders they support.

Such issues and problems include mass poverty, extreme inequalities, intolerable levels of unemployment, unprecedented economic decline, the worsening levels of corruption, and unsustainable levels of commercial, bilateral and multilateral debts, among a host of other socioeconomic issues and problems.

There is a need for PF officials and supporters to actively counter dissent and criticism with factual, honest and regular defences of their government’s handling of the socioeconomic issues and problems facing the country and the common people.

Some of the issues and problems about which journalists, opposition politicians, political commentators, and scribes like Dr. Sishuwa have continually accused the ruling political party as having miserably failed to address are chronicled by the Bank of Zambia, Amnesty International, Transparency International, the World Bank, the local Central Statistical Office, and other credible institutions.

One wonders why PF leaders and supporters cannot continually defend themselves in word and deed through their monopolised national news outlets—including the Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (radio and TV), and the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS)—which they can freely use in this endeavour.

One would wish to advise our compatriots in the PF administration to refrain from “weaponising” sedition laws against critics. Charging such people with the offence of sedition should, therefore, never be the norm—it should be used sparingly, if ever.

If PF officials cannot withstand the heat, they will do well to stay out of the kitchen, so to speak, in order to spare the citizenry from incessant violations of their rights and freedoms.

Mrs. Michelle Obama, former U.S. First Lady, has provided the following additional leadership morsel for PF officials to consider:

“Being Commander-in-Chief [and Head of State and Government] is a hard job; [among other things,] … you need to have discipline, and you need to read, … you need to be knowledgeable, you need to know history, [and] you need to be careful with your words.”

And one has to make an earnest effort to perform one’s job with dignity, leadership and integrity amidst a myriad of genuine and/or unfounded criticisms.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Every thing has deteriorated under lungu , everything……..

    Inflation, GDP, forigne exchange, reserves, rule of law, police professionalism, inter tribal cohesion , zambias democratic index , zambias credit rating……..

    The only thing with positive growth is lungu and his gangs bank balances……

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  2. This Kaonde Professor is still alive and only talking from outside the country instead of bringing home his expertise so that we can tap in. I remember this mukulumpe having done his secondary schooling at then Solwezi Boys in the 70’s. You come back home.

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  3. Why is everyone in the upnd camp fearing for Sishungwa Sishupu to go to court?? He wrote that damning article and hence should be answerable. He is innocent till proven guilty. So donkeys must not panic.

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  4. Feature articles need to be produced, circulated, read and understood in context. First of all, the Zambian people do not necessarily express themselves like others do. In the Zambian context, it is unlawful to direct strong language at social icons, particularly politicians and businessmen. Should you trouble the trouble, the trouble will trouble you. Political activism faces political response. Period. Two, the local cultural, social, economic, financial situation is not different from other regional players. In actual fact, it is better depending on the criteria. Three, peace and prosperity can record ups and downs. It is a matter of global and regional forces. If writers want to be seditious, then the result is predictable.

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  5. Sedition is inciting agitation of people to rebel against authority. HH incited Kuomboka celebrants to demean, attack, the presidential motorcade and endangering citizens’ lives. Sishuwa propagated, regime change by encouraging violence, if PF was not removed, championing tribalism and advancing hate speech.
    Some Mongu residents sought secession from Zambia by cutting away Barotseland. All these are unbailable seditious activities.
    Henry Kyambalesa, stop misleading us. All offenders should just own up. Laws make people act responsibly.

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  6. The majority of the Zambian people do not care about the vagaries of the law, they just care about their stomachs. It is how jejunal people will feel on 12 August, that will determine the outcome of the elections.

  7. Stop the hate and start the love. God really loves you, please apply all the covid safety measures & take the vaccine & use the mask. Eat and exercise healthy to avoid clots. Others and I also love you! Luke 14 Forsake all everyone and yourself for J
    Luke 16 Work for J not payments, then He will give you and your family the food and clothing if they follow too
    Matthew 25, Luke 12, 6 Sell everything and give to poor asap and keep all your giving in secret
    Mark 16, John 17 Share the Truth to everyone working with others in love and peace
    Revelation 13, 14 Don’t take the mark of the beast right hand or forehead only way to buy or sell *not vaccine or mask, but maybe implant or quantum technology
    Revelation 17, 18 U.S may be the Babylon to be destroyed in one hour, with fire

  8. A sticker on his forehead reads ‘ Villagers, take you educated man, his knowledge pollutes peace. We do not want him.

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  9. Clearly PF is opposed to “the Zambia we want” and has no respect for the Republican Constitution,Rule of Law, Good Governance and respect for Human Rights. On August 12 all Right thinking Zambians should vote wisely to remove the Corrupt, incompetent and Visionless ECL from Power. Under ECL PF Cadre lawlessness will be the order of the day. ECL and PF should be sent my wire on August 12. Time will tell.

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