Review colonial laws – Sinkamba .
GREEN Party president Peter Sinkamba has called for an immediate review of colonial laws which are are being used by President Edgar Lungu’s government to arrest and prosecute the media and the opposition.
In a statement, Sinkamba stated that his party strongly believed time had come to review and scrap colonial laws.
“In particular, offences under Sections 57 and 60 of the Penal Code that were enacted in 1938, and amended in 1955, 1964, 1965, 1969, and 1994, which provided for offences that constituted seditious practices and seditious intention that were not in synch with the democratic dispensation post 1991,” Sinkamba stated.
“We join other organisations condemning in strongest terms the use of colonial laws before, during and after 2016 general elections, to arrest and prosecute media and some opposition leaders. The latest harassment and intimidation suffered by the Muvi TV journalist in Kasama, Prime TV in Lusaka, Radio Mano in Kasama and Chipata TV in Chipata, are just but a few cases over the years, where several people, especially journalists, have been arrested and prosecuted for offences under Sections 57 and 60.”
He stated that the profound intention by journalists and politicians victimised under such provisions clearly showed that the government have been misled or mistaken in any of their measures.
Sinkamba stated that journalists had endeavoured to persuade people to attempt to procure by lawful means the alteration of any matter in Zambia as by law established.
“The harassment, through arrests and prosecution, has continued. Whilst condemnation of the harassment is a noble cause, moving forward, the Green Party believes repealing repugnant provisions of Section 57 and 60, which are susceptible to abuse on flimsy grounds, is a more sustainable measure,” Sinkamba stated.
He stated that the Green Party was scheming the repeal of Section 60(1)(b), which prohibits bringing into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the government.
“We believe that if Dr Kaunda abused this provision in 1990 and 1991, slogans such as ‘UNIP ni cholera’, ‘UNIP zwaa’, ‘Shemuneni’ would have landed multitudes of citizens in prisons. Even slogans like ‘kuwayawaya fye’ and ‘dununa’ something can land someone in jail,” Sinkamba stated.
He further stated that the Greens would seek to repeal Section 60(1)(d) which prohibited bringing into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Zambia.
“This provision is dictatorial. With such a provision in force, even if a court decision is hopeless, any expression of resentment can land one in jail,” stated Sinkamba. “Thirdly, we plan the repeal of Section 60(1)(e) which prohibits raising discontent or disaffection among the people of Zambia. Like Section 60(1)(b) above, because this provision can land one in jail on petty things like slogans, we believe it is repugnant and should therefore be done away with.”