In a strongly-worded statement issued today, Sean E. Tembo, the President of the Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), expressed deep concern over the prolonged detention of Dr. Christopher Zumani Zimba without being taken to court or granted the opportunity to apply for bail. Tembo condemned this act as a clear abuse of state institutions by President Hakainde Hichilema and his government, highlighting its violation of both the rule of law and Dr. Zimba’s fundamental human rights.
Tembo stated, “We are saddened and dismayed that more than a week after being detained in Police custody, Dr. Christopher Zumani Zimba has still not been released on bond or taken to court so that he can apply for bail.” He continued, “This is a total abuse of state institutions by President Hakainde Hichilema and his Government and is contrary to the rule of law enshrined in our Constitution, as well as a blatant violation of Dr. Christopher Zumani Zimba’s human rights.”
When addressing President Hichilema’s previous stance on unlawful detentions, Tembo said, “When Mr. Hakainde Hichilema was in opposition, he used to bemoan the unlawful detention of suspects without due process of the law, but now that he is a Republican President, he has become a perpetrator of the same vices that he used to condemn.” Tembo expressed concern about the President’s actions, stating, “This shows the extent to which President Hakainde Hichilema has turned himself into a hypocrite and is seeking to turn Zambia into a banana republic.”
Highlighting the demand for justice, Tembo asserted, “As Patriots for Economic Progress, we demand as we hereby do, that Dr. Christopher Zumani Zimba be released on bond or taken to court so that he can apply for bail, with immediate effect.” He further emphasized the weakness of the allegations against Dr. Zumani Zimba, stating, “We wish to put it on record that the State’s appetite to impose extra-judicial incarceration on a person who has not been convicted of any offence is indicative of how weak their laughable allegations are against Dr. Zumani Zimba.”
PeP President Tembo drew attention to a pattern of extrajudicial incarceration under President Hichilema’s administration, citing the case of Honorable Mumbi Phiri. Tembo expressed, “It is a well-documented fact that President Hakainde Hichilema and his Government have a habit of extrajudicial incarceration of citizens whom they hate but whom they do not have any solid criminal case against.” He pointed out that Honorable Mumbi Phiri endured over a year of incarceration before the charges were suddenly dropped, just a day before the court judgment.
Tembo concluded his statement with a call for the President to cease his callous behavior and prioritize the welfare of the Zambian people. He criticized Hichilema, saying, “It is evident to all well-meaning citizens that President Hakainde Hichilema has a witchcraft mentality and is using the presidency, not to improve the welfare of the Zambia people, but to harass his perceived political enemies. We call upon the President to cease and desist from this callous behavior.”