Zambia has no political prisoners-Kapyongo


HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says there are no political prisoners in Zambia except for ‘political suspects’ in various correctional centres in the country.  Mr Kampyongo also said there were political remandees in detention for various criminal charges and offences in some remand prisons.  Mr. Kampyongo however told Parliament in a ministerial statement yesterday that government would not condone lawlessness in the country. He said government will not politicise the unfolding political happenings but thoroughly investigate such cases. “Mr. Speaker Sir, there are currently no political prisoners but political suspects in our correctional facilities in the country,” the Minister said. Mr Kampyongo said despite calm , law and order having been restored throughout the country, some politicians  had continued to agitate and incite members of the public against  a legitimate and popular government , elected on the majoritarian  principles of 50% plus 1. He said they had also continued to provoke the law enforcement agencies by wilful violation of the laws, and further warned those daring the law enforcement agencies that the State would not tolerate  lawlessness any longer because it had a duty to protect lives, people and property as well as preserve peace and order.    Mr Kampyongo also observed that lately the country had witnessed a number of fires in the markets  in which traders have lost goods worth millions of Kwacha.  He said the fires were suspicious because they were not common in communities at this time of the year, hence investigations to establish  who might be behind the spate of fires were still underway. On violence, Mr Kapyongo said after the August 11 general elections police recorded 50 political cases.   He said the nature of the violence ranged from aggravated robbery to arson, assault, unlawful wounding, malicious damage to property, looting and rioting among others. Mr Kampyongo said 87 suspects were arrested by police while 77 of these were currently appearing before the courts of law in their respective districts. He disclosed  that 10 suspects that were arrested in Mongu had since been discharged by the court. Mr. Kampyongo said violence accounted for 76 percent in three provinces in Central, Lusaka and Southern provinces respectively. He said Southern had 40 percent, Central 26 and Lusaka province a paltry 10 percent of  political violence. He,q60 however, could not state the breakdown of the political affiliation of those detained but simply responded, they came in confrontation with the law. The Minister appealed to political party leaders to provide the necessary leadership qualities and exhibit attributes of a good leader. Meanwhile, Mr. Kampyongo said the country was stable and peaceful and business was being conducted in a good atmosphere. He said police and other law enforcement agencies were enforcing the law and there was absolute order in Zambia.  “Mr. Speaker Sir, the country is stable and peaceful. Business is booming as usual and conducted in good atmosphere,” Mr. Kampyongo said.