Open Zambia Joins Amnesty International In Calling For Criminal Charges Against Fire Truck Activists To Be Dropped
Open Zambia is joining Amnesty International in calling for the government to immediately drop all criminal charges against the 6 activists that took part in peaceful protests that questioned the amount spent on new fire trucks.
Their trial is set to take place today.
Amnesty International’s regional director has stated that “The Zambian authorities must quash these charges which are clearly being used to silence any voice that dares to criticize the government or expose wrongdoing,”
He has gone onto state that “These activists are being put in the dock solely for exercising their right to peaceful assembly. They have committed no crime, they have only demanded accountability from their leaders.”
The activists, including musician Fumba Chama who is known as Pilato, Lewis Mwape, Laura Miti, Sean Enock Tembo, Bornwell Mwewa and Mika Mwambazi have pleaded not guilty to charges of disobeying a lawful order after marching on parliament last September against what they said was the corrupt procurement of 42 fire trucks for US$42 million.
We call on the government to immediately drop the charges made against the accused, it symbolises a blatant and dangerous erosion of freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest. If Zambian citizens cannot hold the government to account, we run the risk of living in an authoritarian regime or as British High Commissioner Fergus Cochran Dyer put it – a dictatorship.