Tuesday, May 28, 2024

CiSCA condemns arrest of peacefully protesting former police officer, demands his immediate release

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The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) has condemned what they called the unconstitutional arrest of a former police officer, Jeyson Musonda Chipepo for staging a peaceful one-man protest at the police headquarters.

In a statement released to the media by Judith Mulenga, the CiSCA Chairperson, CiSCA said that Mr. Chipepo was also exercising his right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 20 of our Constitution and that freedom guarantees one the right to say what they want to say and includes the freedom to express one’s opinion on a matter.

Below is the full statement

The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) condemns the unconstitutional arrest of former police officer, Jeyson Musonda Chipepo for staging a peaceful one-man protest at the police headquarters.

On Wednesday 2nd June 2021, Mr. Chipepo staged a one-man protest which he said was against what he considers the intimidation of citizens and the abuse of the police service by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kakoma Kanganja.

As a movement that advocates for and promotes the supremacy of our Constitution and the rights and freedoms contained therein, and in this instance the right to freedom of assembly and expression for everyone, CiSCA wonders why the Police arrested someone who was simply exercising these rights and was in no way riotous? Article 26 of the Zambian Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. The article warrants all citizens “the right, without carrying weapons, to assemble, demonstrate, protest and present their demands to the government”. It is this justiciable right that Mr. Chipepo was exercising and as far as we could see, he was not carrying any weapons and so his was a very peaceful demonstrations against a public officer, Mr. Kakoma Kanganja.

Mr. Chipepo was also exercising his right to freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 20 of our Constitution. The freedom guarantees one the right to say what they want to say and includes the freedom to express one’s opinion on a matter. As pronounced by one of the supreme courts within the SADC region, the freedom of expression is “one of the most precious of all guaranteed freedoms and it has four broad purposes to serve: i) It helps an individual to obtain self-fulfillment. ii) It assists in the discovery of truth. iii) It strengthens the capacity of an individual to participate in decision making and iv) it provides a mechanism by which it would be possible to establish a reasonable balance between stability and social change”. By arresting Mr. Chipepo, the police are denying him the opportunity to exercise what the supreme law of our land guarantees him. His arrest is therefore nothing but an infringement of his rights as a human being and CiSCA condemns this gross violation of his human rights in the strongest terms.

The same Constitution that guarantees Mr. Chipepo’s rights also places upon the Zambia Police Service the responsibility to “(a) protect life and property; (b) preserve peace and maintain law and order; (c) ensure the security of the people; (d) detect and prevent crime; (e) uphold the Bill of Rights; (f) foster and promote good relationships with the Defence Force, other national security services and members of society; and (g) perform other functions as prescribed”. Which of these functions does the arrest of an unarmed, non-violent individual like Mr Chipepo serve?

CiSCA notes that the Executive and its agents continuously deny its deliberate squeezing of the civic space while we Zambians wake up to and witness these arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions every single day! Explanations of police conducting investigations are trite since Zambia has had a police service since before Independence and we have never seen this rate of wanton deprivation of liberties and extrajudicial killings too!

CiSCA wishes to remind the Police that the Constitution which guarantees the rights of freedom of assembly is the supreme law of the land. Therefore, the Public Order Act cannot be superior to the Constitution. Under the Public Order Act the police are only under a duty to regulate public meetings, assemblies and processions strictly for the purpose of preserving public peace and order. There was no breach of peace and order during Mr. Chipepo’s exercise of his Constitutional rights and so the Police are in breach of the Constitution for arresting him. CiSCA therefore demands the immediate release of Mr Chipepo.

Issued by:

Judith Mulenga

CiSCA Chairperson

12 COMMENTS

  1. Lungu is even afraid of the toilet……….

    What do you expect from a fraud convict corrupt thieving moron lawyer…….?

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  2. I am expecting lungu to cancel elections in the name of covid………

    The theif even banned ECZ from publishing declared assets of presidential candidates…

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  3. A law enforcement officer retired or not is bound by oath… if he where still uniformed he would be considered a mutineer and the consequences are grave its for this reason officers in what ever force do not have unions, they have commissions and the chain for airing grievances is clear. As a former police officer not even as a policeman he knows to bring the name of senior command in disrepute is a no no….he does have a path for airing the same. We hope ngos in assisting the man will also take some of this into consideration….

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  4. Attention seeking yavuta these days…people will do anything just to get the attention they want……protesting hoping to be in the news seeking attention…instead of using that time to work and provide for his family he is in the streets seeking attention…malabishi….am neither PF nor UPND….

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  5. F00Iish former officer. You would think he would know better. Can he be kept in prison so that the thugs he was arresting deal with him.

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  6. This freedom is the most misunderstood freedom. And the headless so called civic organisations do not even apply their minds to anything except to parrot freedom.

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  7. What did he do wrong? He was making a statement and walking alone in the street. Why was he arrested and what charges has he been given? He made a personal judgement which was not even defamatory but a simple statement. This is going to kill our freedom of speech and thinking. It means when one sees something wrong, one cannot express themselves? Please we have one country to enjoy peacefully in the spirit of One Zambia One Nation One people.

  8. Lungu, like all other dictators, is as paranoid as they come.

    Next he will accuse his Jameson bottle of staring at him, and have it arrested.

    Some people should just leave office quietly.

  9. The protest is Ok but his message on the placard is very primitive& its what has taken him to the hands of the authority.
    What did he smoke ?? Shisha or Dagger?

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