Thursday, June 20, 2024

Criminal defamation still exists-Linda Kasonde

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Chapter One Foundation Executive Director Linda Kasonde says the ordinary crime of criminal defamation under Part III of the Penal Code still exists on Zambia’s statute books.

Ms Kasonde said the offence is punishable with a maximum of two years imprisonment or a fine or both.

She said this shows that there is still work to be done to promote freedom of expression in Zambia.

Ms. Kasonde was commenting on President Hakainde Hichilema’s decision to repeal the law on criminal defamation of the President and death penalty.

Ms. Kasonde said the country also look forward to the amendment of the Cyber Security and Cybercrimes Act which also contains sections that restrict freedom of expression.

She said the decision by President Hichilema is bold and that this is a victory for the protection of the right to life and the right to freedom of expression in Zambia for which the government must be commended.

On the abolishment of death penalty, Ms. Kasonde said there are 195 countries in the world and only 55 actively implement the death penalty.

“Subsequently, this move is in line with global trends to abolish the death penalty. The death penalty is widely recognised as being an unjustifiable violation on the right to life, the right to human dignity, and the protection against cruel and degrading treatment.”

“As Mahatma Gandhi once said, an eye for an eye will just lead to more blindness in the world. No study has conclusively established that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to committing capital offences (offences that lead to the death penalty).”

“Regarding the abolishment of the crime of defamation of the President under section 69 of the Penal Code, this is a welcome move as I believe that this offence was an unjustifiable limitation on the right to freedom of expression in a modern democracy such as we have in Zambia,” she said.

“Democracy thrives on the marketplace of ideas. The more access we have to people’s freely expressed ideas, the more likely we will find solutions to the many challenges we face as a nation. If people are afraid to express themselves, we won’t get the best ideas.”

Meanwhile, Activists Isaac Mwanza has reviews that in 2017, President Edgar Lungu was asked about repealing Section 69 of the Penal Code, which provided for defamation of the President. His response was that while it might be attractive for activists, many lawyers knew that repealing Section 69 alone would not be enough to stop the punishment of those who defamed the President using the same Penal Code. The Penal Code still contains provisions that punish criminal defamation in addition to Section 69.

According to Mr Mwanza, the President said he had instructed the Minister of Justice to engage the Zambia Law Development Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the Penal Code.

“Now, there is the great celebration over the repeal of Section 69, particularly among activists. However, this may be short-lived for those who believe they will no longer be charged with criminal defamation,” Mr Mwanza said.

This year alone, Parliament has made two piecemeal amendments to the Penal Code. While President Hichilema has made progress in changing the face of these laws, eventually bold decisions must be made to repeal and replace the entire Penal Code in order to allow democracy to thrive. The Penal Code was enacted during colonial times and does not support the growth of democratic governance in its current form.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Merry Christmas to all my friends and family and all the f00Iish upnd bloggers here. We may not see eye to eye but we all blog here because we have at least one commonly held aim- to see our country prosper. As we enter 2023,I hope our friends in upnd can reduce on the hate and rise above petty politics. I am eating drinking dancing and wawawa whilst upnd cadres are searching for money. Life has become hard. No money in circulation.

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    • So no death penalty on Kaizar or Mumbi Phiri. So you @Kaizar tell your friends in PF and Lusambo to stop shooting others like you do.
      Fair enough.

  2. I am surprised that this Activists Isaac Mwanza has the audascity to mention his saviour who helped with piece work Lazy Lungu who requested for comprehensive review of the Penal Code by instructing the Minister of Justice to engage the Zambia Law Development Commission. What Mwanza does not tell you is as was with everything under Lazy Lungu which did not involve loans is that nothing materialised from this and Lazy was a lawyer by profession.

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  3. Haha! My fellow Malawan Kaizar Zulu. I thought that you are now in diaspora. I read you calling me a Congolese because of my English. You are very funny. I cannot understand your short of memory. Our both parents came from Malawi. Together with the parents for our friend Edgar Lungu we changed our names and villages because Zambia was a paradize where we could easily carry our stealing habits. Which under Kamuzu Banda could lead to one’s death.Actually Kaizar Zulu in other countries you could be locked up together with your friend and thieving lawyer Kelvin Bwalya for your part in unconstitutional coup which brought our fellow Malawian to power. With false signatures of a dying president. I know you ver good Kaiza. Just shut up. You and me, we are Zambians by virtue of registration…

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  4. SO KZ the impostor here is also Malawian? me thought he crossed from Zumbo at Feira from Zimbabwe into Zambia chief Mugule where his relatives are settled. That is only possible if one is a criminal whose subtlety enabled him become presidential advisor after mess anger job at Chelston clinic.
    Soon will be imprisoned after a myriad of criminal cases including illegal fire arm possesion and open fire at innocent civilians. KZ needs to surrender the diplomatic passport as has began masquerading as a diplomat .

  5. Stop misquoting people you hopeless reporters. It was Martin Luther King Jr who said those words you are attributing to Mahatma Gandhi in this story:
    “As Mahatma Gandhi once said, an eye for an eye will just lead to more blindness in the world. ”

  6. When I read Julius Ceasar by Shakespear for the first time I did not understand why the people kept on changing their stance. Later own I realized that the orators were politicians who understood the human mental capacity. The politician does not go for logic , he goes for emotions. HH knows the problems ahead of him and he knows logical explanations will not do. So he goes for the most popular topics ie Defamation and Death Penalty. Indeed without even reading related sections of these chapters the people go into a frenzy……there sections which still support the seemingly abolished acts.

  7. We are not interested in how how the code should still be there. Give us the science on how we should remove it very quickly. It’s a bit like fighting all your life for money and suddenly you discover that money has been deposited in your account. Instead concentrating on validating why it should be in your account, your focus is on why it shouldn’t be there.

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