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Sunday, January 22, 2023

HH Announces the abolition of the death penalty and defamation of the president crime

HeadlinesHH Announces the abolition of the death penalty and defamation of...

President Hakainde Hichilema announced on his Facebook page that he has officially abolished the death penalty and the offense of criminal defamation of the president.

The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill number 25 of 2022, which was assented to by the president, repeals all provisions in the Penal Code Act that provided for the mandatory death sentence in the absence of extenuating circumstances. The provisions of Section 69, which pertain to criminal defamation of the president, have also been repealed.

President Hakainde Hichilema emphasized that these changes align with the campaign promises to amend laws that inhibit the growth of democracy, good governance, and human rights.

“Fellow Zambians, during our campaigns for the presidency, we promised to amend all laws that inhibit the growth of democracy and good governance, impede human rights and basic freedoms. Today we have delivered,” the president said in a statement.

According to the statement the abolition of the death penalty and criminal defamation of the president marks a significant step forward for human rights in the Republic of Zambia. The decision to repeal these provisions demonstrates a commitment to justice and the protection of basic freedoms for all citizens.

Isaac Mwanza
Isaac Mwanza

However, the repeal of law on defamation of the President from the Penal Code by Parliament is a job half done for President Hichilema’s administration for which he must be commended but the President must be encouraged to do more, says Governance Activist Isaac Mwanza.

“The repeal of Section 69 of the Penal Code will not significantly change Zambia’s democratic landscape unless President Hichilema and his administration proceeds to further repeal the entire Chapter 18, inclusive of Chapter 8, of the Penal Code which maintains criminal defamation on the statutes,” said Mr Mwanza.

Mr Mwanza observed that the repealed Section 69 was solely used for convenience by the Zambia Police in charging persons that issue defamatory remarks against the President because the Police will still be arresting any person or opponents or issue similar remarks charging anybody with criminal defamation of the President based on provisions of Chapter 18 of the Penal Code.

Mr Mwanza has since advised that it is too early for anyone to celebrate the repeal of Section 69 of the Penal Code as a victory for democracy.

“As you may see from Chapter 18 of the Penal Code, the law is replete with many provisions for charging persons with defamation of the President even in the absence of the repealed Section 69 of the Penal Code,” he said.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Now we will see them throwing serious tantrums on the president knowing very well they will not be defaming the president. It is indeed good to repeal such laws as they hindered people from criticising the president. But hopefully we will not be seeing people intentionally using abusive language towards the president but engage in civilized criticism instead.

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    • The action is incomplete I dont know if this is deliberate but those chaps can still be charged with defamation of the President under chapter 18 of the penal code. We need John Sangwa to explain to the nation how the Judiciary will be ruling on these charges. We all know Kajoba will still be arresting Tayalis whenever he wants to shut them up. The whole thing leaves it up to the will of the president and that is not democratic at all.

  2. HH makes too many declarations and pronunciations that do not turn out true. He ended load shedding in 9 months for example. The NAPSA fiasco and so many declarations that other arms of government have refuted. From what I know these laws that he is talking about, have they been passed by parliament or he is doing things in reverse?

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    • True. HH’s advisors need to tell him how Zambia repeals its laws. A repeal is done via a re-enactment that introduces a new law to replace the old one. Even a Presidential decree, which Chiluba used to make Zambia a Christian state has to be supported by a bill that is debated and passed in parliament. Is the amendment of the penal code going to replace the defamation of the president law in its entirety? No so perhaps Fred mmembe should introduce a bill on the floor to repeal the defamation crime. Oh sorry he has no members in parliament?

  3. This is what happens when you promise f00Iishness just for votes. So now we can insult this hh. Chicarla chakwe hh. F00lish president

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