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CiSCA condemns Mumbi Phiri continued incarceration, UPND should not be blaming a failed Judicial System

Headlines CiSCA condemns Mumbi Phiri continued incarceration, UPND should not be blaming a...

The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) has issued a statement condemning former Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General Mumbi Phiri’s continued incarceration.

In the statement released to the media and signed by Chairperson, Judith Mulenga, CiSCA said that the continued incarceration of Mumbi Phiri goes against all the national values and principles outlined in Article 8 of our constitution, particularly Article 8(d) on human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination.

Ms Mulenga also said that this continued incarceration of Ms Phiri also goes against the values of “Equality before the law”, and “Respect for the freedoms and rights of all citizens” as contained in the UPND Manifesto (page 6) and also goes against President Hakainde Hichilema’s pledge during his address to Parliament on 11th March 2022, where he promised that his government would “enforce the law equally regardless of one’s status in society”.

CiSCA further said that it was it unfortunate that yet another government has embraced the excuse of a failed judicial system as normal, contrary to campaign promises to uphold the rule of law and end injustice.

Below is the full statement

CiSCA condemns Mumbi Phiri continued incarceration

Lusaka, 21 September 2022: The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) is concerned with the continued incarceration, without trial, of the Patriotic Front Member of the Central Committee, Ms. Mumbi Phiri.

CiSCA acknowledges that no-one is above the law and that there are indeed many others, like Mumbi Phiri, languishing in our prisons in similar circumstances but this still does not make her prolonged detention right or acceptable. An injustice is injustice regardless of who is involved – both the perpetrator and the victim. We remind the government that the Presumption of Innocence is enshrined in Article 18(2) of our Constitution and therefore until proven guilty, no one should have to be behind bars for longer than the law demands. We also remind the government of the maxim ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ All incarcerated people are entitled to a speedy trial. The UPND Manifesto under its Law, Justice and Security did affirm not only to ‘strengthen all institutions to provide and guarantee security, safety, human rights, civil liberties and justice,’ but to also, ‘modernize the operations of the judiciary to speed up the dispensation of justice

The continued incarceration of Mumbi Phiri goes against all the national values and principles outlined in Article 8 of our constitution, particularly Article 8(d) on human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination. This also goes against the values of “Equality before the law”, and “Respect for the freedoms and rights of all citizens” as contained in the UPND Manifesto (page 6).

It also goes against President Hakainde Hichilema’s pledge during his address to Parliament on 11th March 2022, where he promised that his government would “enforce the law equally regardless of one’s status in society”. The President also promised that “government will uphold the rule of law and accord everyone equal treatment in line with the law and our national values and principles”. We believe the time is now ripe for the implementation of these commitments.

We therefore find it unfortunate that yet another government has embraced the excuse of a failed judicial system as normal, contrary to campaign promises to uphold the rule of law and end injustice. In its manifesto for 2021 to 2026, the UPND promised to: “Modernize the operations of the judiciary to speed up the dispensation of justice because justice delayed is as good as justice denied.” No Zambian deserves prolonged incarceration without trial, regardless of their political or any other affiliation.

The continued incarceration of Mumbi Phiri has clearly shone the spotlight on how dysfunctional our justice system is and this in itself should be enough to compel the government to show their sincerity by acting with urgency to reform the system and accelerating court appearances for pending cases across the country, especially in the rural areas where the justice system has lamentably failed the people and perpetuated inequality in access to justice.

The Chief Justice is on record as having highlighted the failure to take suspects to court in a timely manner as an injustice, but one year down the line, little has changed.

We call on the Chief justice to act with haste to ensure that Mumbi Phiri immediately appears before the courts of law, including the many other people in similar circumstances, not as a favor but a legal requirement and a demonstration of political will to change our justice system for good. Doing this should not be seen as a weakness but a demonstration of uncommon wisdom, integrity and strength of character for those that hold power to make change happen.

Issued by:

Judith Mulenga

CiSCA Chairperson

15 COMMENTS

  1. Is Mumbi Phiri detained for a murder she openly boasted about committing? Yes! Is there a law in Zambia saying that a person accused of murder cannot be granted bail? Yes! Is UPND implementing that law? Yes! Did UPND enact that law? No, it was there before UPND came to power! Was that law used against UPND? Yes, there are 5 UPND members who have been detained in a prison in Choma for 5 years, 4 of them before UPND came to power, under that same law! Is UPND a law abiding party? Yes! Were the parties before UPND as law abiding as it is? No! Did Mumbi Phiri object to the law she is detained under when she was a high racking member of the then ruling party? No, in fact Mumbi Phiri was an enthusiastic supporter of such laws.

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  2. I am UPND but this is not right, take the lady to court, but not only her even for those who have been suffering in there by the inherent inefficient justice system in Zambia. The incompetency, lack of sense of urgency and casual approach of our judiciary leaves much to be desired. If it is low staffing levels, then this area needs urgency, you have money from the IMF use it to reform this archaic judicial system or get expatriates to assist, let us not be shy, detaining somebody longer than necessary is not right on any day, then why are we elected as leaders if we cannot solve such

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    • Gambito @ 1

      We in UPND need to speak and call out wrong doing. It has nothing to do with the judicial system. The president has total hands on this matter. He admitted in his TV interview that is was a mistake to have her on prolonged incarceration for barely being a witness. One wonders whey he has not commanded the Justice Minister who is now a bootlicker to release her. The president is proving to have so much vindictiveness. We campaigned to kick out PF and not to repeat old bad habits.

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    • Gambito #1
      Mutafela Mulife #1.1

      I totally agree with you guys. This is just playing politics by a president who promised Zambians that he will do things in a different way. What
      is bothering HH about Mumbi Phiri. So what if she called him names such as Ba Kachema etc…. He is the president and must rise above such things.

    • A court date was set for this woman for next month…there are people in prisons with such crimes with zero evidence by the incompetent ZP but they are rotting incarceration now because its Mumbi lets all make noise.

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  3. If my memory serves me right, I heard last month that Mumbi Phiri’s court appearance date was set for October 3. Mwaliteta and 4 others were incarcerated for 1 year over trumped up aggravated robbery charges

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  4. My uncle has been in incarceration for 3 years without trial in Mukobeko maximum prison.This appeal is just about Mumbi Phiri alone.Ms.Mulenga of CiSCA dont hide behind those that have been longer in remand just to relaese your favourite.

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    • These are organisations registered by one person ..if you check their track record on people they have helped out legally in prisons or jail you will find no one …I hope donors dont fund them.

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  5. The judicial system in zambia is under remote control and it is not a failed system but it is a system under remote control by the out side forces.
    So the lady is being persecuted because she is PF and this is very shameful and an acceptable.

  6. There is one or two more who should have been in incarceration, “the clinical officer from Chawama” masquerading as Political Advisor and the “Lawyer” from Chawama masquerading as Minister of Justice and as President of Zambia after the demise of President Sata.

  7. Spot on @ #1, Nega Nega!
    The double standards by these criminal P.F sympathisers is MIND BOGGLING to say the least.
    Had the “Notorious P.F” & it’s officials -Munbi included been law abiding, Mumbi would have at the time been suspended & made to go though the justice system to clear her name, BUT aukona tupiyefu.
    It’s one law for these criminals & another for the rest!
    Let’s not forget Mumbi was a prolific law breaker, she made her bed, it it may she comfortably lie!

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  8. Spot on @ #1, Nega Nega!
    The double standards by these cr1minal P.F sympathisers is MIND BOGGLING to say the least.
    Had the “Not0rious P.F” & it’s officials -Mumb1 included been law abiding, Mumb1 would have at the time been suspended & made to go though the justice system to clear her name, BUT aukona tupiyefu.
    It’s one law for these crim1nals & another for the rest!
    Let’s not forget Mumb1 was a prolific law breaker when in power, she made her bed, so in it may she comfortably lie!

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