AI ask Govt to drop charges against 6 activists over protest
By Staff Reporter
Amnesty International has asked the Zambian authorities to drop all criminal charges against six activists who took part in a peaceful protest that questioned exorbitant levels of government spending when government bought 42 fire trucks.
The call comes ahead of the trial of musician Fumba Chama aka Pilato, Lewis Mwape, Laura Miti, Sean Enock Tembo, Bornwell Mwewa and Mika Mwambazi in Lusaka this morning. They have all 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.
In a statement Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said the charges are being used to silence any voice that dares to criticize the government or expose wrong doing.
“The activists were exercising their right to peaceful assembly and demanded accountability from their leaders,” said Muchena. “The reported cost of the trucks sparked public outcry over alleged misuse of public funds, resulting in the protests on 29 September 2017. If convicted, the activists face up to two years in prison”.