DEC used to terrorise people- Changala

Renowned Civil Rights Activist Brebner Changala soon after being released together with his sister Agness Kawandami were on Tuesday last week on a nolle prosequi by the Director Public of Prosecutions after having been arrested and charged for allegedly trafficking in drugs charged that the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) had been turned into a state sponsored apparatus of terrorizing and humiliating citizens with divergent views.

The outspoken Civil Rights Activist has demanded that government should with immediate effect unblock the Zambian Watchdog, an online publication that has since been shut by the state saying it was the last line for defence for many citizens who had no channel through which they could express their displeasure on how human rights were deteriorating under the PF regime.

Mr Changala and his sister Agness Kawandami were yesterday discharged from Kamwala Remand Prison after the state through the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) entered a nolle prosequi on what the Civil Rights Activist described as tramped up charges of drug trafficking.

Mr Changala together with his sister were in less than clear circumstances were taken to court yesterday morning when their case should ostensibly have been coming up on Thursday having been adjourned on Monday.

Mr Changala and his sister Kawandami were arrested last week on Friday and were charged with drug trafficking, a non-bailable offence a week after a combined team of DEC officers, state police and state agents raided his home in Kabwata area and seized 50 tablets of vermox, a deworming drug for children.

Mr Changala and Ms Kawandami had their case brought forward from Thursday to yesterday and were discharged on grounds that the DPP had decided against continuing with the case that was deemed highly politically motivated.

The Civil Rights Activist soon after his nolle prosequi was read out questioned government said it was unacceptable that government had turned institutions of good governance into instruments of terrorizing citizens.

Magistrate Alidah Chulu said: “For the two of you, the Director of Public Prosecutions has entered a nolle prosequi. The matter is therefore discontinued and the two of you are discharged but not acquitted.”

Mr Changala said he would be able to issue a comprehensive statement about his incarceration and the relevance of DEC and good governance to Zambia’s young democracy.

“Today (yesterday) is a great day for me and my family that has been traumatized for the last six days that I have been in police cells and eventually at Kamwala Remand Prison commonly known as Chimbokaila. I was arrested on tramped up charges by the Drug Enforcement Commission. I will speak comprehensively on the relevance of DEC in relations to good governance in our young democracy after I have rested. For now, DEC has become a state sponsored criminal organisation fully funded by the state to terrorise and humiliate those with divergent views,” Mr Changala said.

Mr Changala thanked the church, the civil society organisations, the MMD, UPND and the media for having been on his side when he was being incarcerated.

“For the first time, I hereby call for the unblocking of the Zambian Watchdog because it is the last lime of defence in this terror campaign against citizens. I wish to thank the church, the civil society organisations, the media fraternity the MMD and the MMD for having stood by me during my time of tribulations,” Mr Changala said.

And Ms Kawandami when asked about her drugs soon after her release said she hoped the officers who seized the drugs would use the drugs to deworm their children.