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Sunday, May 8, 2022

Detentions without bond

Columns Detentions without bond

By Isaac Mwanza

Police bond is, among other reasons, usually denied to people who are flight risks but the courts would not deny bail for bailable offences unless a compelling reason has been provided to show the person will jump bail.

When His Excellency, President Hichilema announced, during his first press briefing, that denying people bond or bail will be a thing of the past in this regime, the public felt he made a serious policy pronouncement and the country was going to see some significant change with the manner suspects are handled.

But does the President really know that the opposite of what he wanted to see for Zambia is happening? From the look of things, the ACC is now competing with and trying to outdo the ZP in making it difficult for people, especially for those who are politically aligned, to get bonded. They are all in that period of impress the new administration or prove a point that we are the good guys to the new dawn?

For the police, the practice of denying people bond can be understood: since colonial times, police officers have worked under instructions from politicians and the training of junior officers who daily interface with the public is very short as compared to training ACC and DEC undergo.

An example of a politically motivated instruction and charging was the arrest of Mr Hichilema himself. We know from that leaked audio how the then Police IG was instructed to arrest and given some leads as to what the charge should be.

The Commissions are nevertheless involved in investigating white collar crimes among those who allegedly wear white collars. Usually, people they investigate, like Chitotela and Lusambo, are not flight risks. They have lots of investments made and appear determined to defend their investment or the country benefits if everything is seized and forfeited to the State.

There was thus no need for ACC to be dramatic by going to Kawambwa to ferry Chitotela or to deny both Chitotela and Bowman bond if they really have a good case to make in court. ACC simply used old terror-instilling methods which the President is against.

What ACC must be more concerned with is not a temporal appeasement of politicians and a section of the public but the end game of each case. My instincts tells me that the ACC feels that when they lock up people, deny them bond or make it hard for suspects who have been given bail to be released, they are seen to be working, regardless of how the cases will end up.

Already, we have been reading on how a good number of accused persons have shown a lack of confidence in the new administrative arrangement at Subcourt where few selected or preferred magistrates have lined up to try them. Then you have these manoeuvres by the Commission of making it hard for persons whom the Court has granted bail to go out. This is not good for the impartiality of the criminal justice system.

I think a distinction must be seen in the manner Commissions handle suspects and in the manner the police have been and continue to do so. For the police, it is really understandable, looking at their history and training.

Today, President Bally just need to undertake a random visit to any police holding cells and see how many people are incarcerated, denied bond and indefinitely languish in congested holding cells and prisons on minor offences without even smelling a court room.

It appears detentions without bond has become a uniform tool for LEAs to help politicians punish each other.

13 COMMENTS

  1. The president is aware of everything going on. Ar the level where we are my view is that the politicians take the masses for granted. These state operatives have somewhere where they draw their wantom behaviour. “Kolwe pa kuswamwa ninshi kuli apo ashintilile”

  2. The ACC is slowly losing the confidence people have in them… they are too quick to arrest and detain but nothing conclusive comes of these cases. They grab property suspected to be proceeds of crime but they dont have any evidence to prove the cases in court. They arrest and then go into deals with the same individuals for crimes to be dropped. I wonder what job they are doing. This Unit of ACC should be investigated and probably gotten rid of cause they are taking us for fools with these cases which don’t take people to jail.

  3. HH is happy with these tactics, he more or less chided the LEAs to arrest and lock up certain people in his praise conference.
    What we need are commissioners who have a backbone and can do their jobs professionally.

  4. Look at this Isaac Mwanza talking about bail conditions when PF was detenting people for more than 7 days where were you? Bowman is flight risk he hasn’t been responding to call outs…Findlay has investments in Zambia but he has run away to RSA. Why do we like protecting thieves who are stealing from your children.

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  5. This Mwanza chap is a PF cards who said nothing when we were being detained for months without bond. Let him just wait for his turn to answer on the cars he got from Government for his NGO and money to denounce UPND

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  6. We know how ruthless was to their opponents. Unless we are saying it is tit for tat now.
    The president said, never again will the zambia people be treated with an iron fist by the state. He also said the LAW WILL BE CLOSING IN on one suspect. And when the law closed in, ACC even disobeyed court orders by denying suspects bail.
    We want looters to surrender the spoils which is the prime commission ACC was set up for and not to victim suspects.

  7. Spot on Mwanza. Things are not tying with presidential pronouncements. Either he doesn’t believe what he says or he has already lost control of instititutions. Zambia is becoming a police state

  8. If you are not UPND why should you be protected.. after all PF treated UPND the same. .. eye for an eye basa…. New Dawn for UPND

  9. Look look when you declare freedom you must look at the shackles in the entire system including on your own limbs. Have you freed yourself from what chains you to evil values? Because they want to please you the institutions you preside over will be uplifting those very evils of old and its up to you as a leader to stop them. Otherwise you will be as bad, if not worse, than those you have toppled

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