By Venus N Msyani
Today in Zambia people seem scared to criticize the president because of arrest and forced relocation
Under new dawn administration, only the rich can afford to criticize the president. The poor seem not only scared to criticize the president because of arrest but also possible forced relocation.
When one criticizes the president in the language that is not pleasing to the new dawn administration cadres, he or she is reported to police in the remotest part of the country for defamation.
It seems to be a scheme to make accused spent more hours in custody and possibly spend more money.
The Zambian law demands that a detainee appears before a court within 48 hours of arrest and be informed of charges against him or her. Transporting the accused, most of who reside in Lusaka, to far places make it possible to escape the 48 hours law.
On top of that, one has to spend more money on legal process as he or she need to arrange travel for his/her legal team from Lusaka.
For example, on Thursday May 19, Economic and Equity Party (EEP) leader Chilufya Tayali, who is currently a leading President Hakainde Hichilema critic was arrested in Lusaka. The following day Tayali was transported to Lukulu in Western Province where he has been charged for defamation of the president.
On Monday May 23, 2022, his legal team managed to secure him police bond, but after the EEP leader has spent more than 48 hours in custody.
Mr. Tayali will have to use his own transport to get back to Lusaka. He is about 600 km away from home, Lusaka. A poor person may end up opting to settle there in Lukulu; forced relocation.
Meanwhile, prior to last August election President Hakainde Hichilema was onboard hence knowing exactly what kind of freedom of expression Zambians are demanding.
The freedom of expression Zambians are demanding is not possible under the current form of defamation of the president law.
“We have restored freedom of speech, expression & association, allowing anyone to write or say what they want, where they want & when they want.” President Hakainde tweeted few weeks ago.
The president sounds like he is not aware of the ongoing defamation of the president arrests in the country. If he is not, maybe the emerged cadreism will do. Cadres are now openly threatening to deal with anyone criticizing the president. That is not freedom of expression Zambians want.
Today the poor are scared to criticize President Hakainde Hichilema because of possible forced relocation. That is not freedom of speech and expression Zambians want.