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The imprisonment of Nevers Sekwila Mumba for trespass at ZNBC!

The imprisonment of Nevers Sekwila Mumba for trespass at ZNBC!

April 08
11:56 2018

Dr. NEVERS Sekwila Mumba with President Edgar Chagwa Lungu

By Alfred A. K. Ndhlovu

Magistrate David Simusamba flashing PF symbol

THE imprisonment of opposition politician, Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba, sent shock waves to some of us who know him as a pastor and politician. Even the charge of trespass at ZNBC premises shocked us because we do not ordinarily and necessarily obtain formal permission to enter those premises as sources of news.

A heavier charge of “Criminal Trespass” cannot hold because Dr. Mumba was not armed with any lethal weapon or device to cause havoc at ZNBC. There are, of course, some politicians who walk armed with guns, but Dr. Mumba may not be one of them. Guns protect the beholder but sometimes they work against the beholder, remember the death of Nyirenda (Gen. Rtd) in Chilenje! However, I am quick to observe that Zambia’s gun culture is very good. Only hardcore criminals use guns for dreadful purposes.

Dr. Mumba could not go to ZNBC to cause confusion and havoc. As a politician, Dr. Mumba has always something to say. Public media usually have bias in favour of rulers. They operate under the mistaken belief that government does not do any wrong.

When democracy came back to Zambia in 1991, all media houses are supposed to review their performance to ensure that all journalists do their jobs professionally and without bias whatsoever. Events happen every day. Journalists must go there to cover them as they occur.

Dr Mumba with HH and GBM

The practice of following government leaders wherever they go as credible news sources is out of fashion and outdated. Such practice betrays professional and ethical conduct of journalism and portrays journalists as incompetent.

The rule of the media is not to cover the owner of the media house everyday unless there is something very serious which has happened. However, public media which are owned by government breach this rule as government wants biased coverage every day.

Many politicians “storm” or have been “storming” public media houses without being accused of trespass of whatever type. There are many videos showing late Michael Sata castigating media houses when he felt betrayed. He usually used harsh language but he was not, at any time, arrested nor barred from entering the media house premises. The reason for that tolerance was that he was a source of news desired by productive journalists. Even “storming” the media house is news. Journalists must be wary of these features in news coverage.

Magistrates and judges are in a special position to dispense justice. Laws protect their actions as lawmen. Laws do not allow magistrates and judges to be biased in favour of or against any party in dispensing justice. They must see and evaluate all sides to a grievance or charge such as criminal trespass before they can convict and sentence. ZNBC is an institution whereas Dr. Mumba is a human being who feels pain after injury. The only pain which ZNBC can suffer is to break its property. This did not happen to ZNBC. So, why should Dr. Mumba be sent to jail for three months? Did the magistrate evaluate the event to qualify it as a lie intended to make Dr. Mumba suffer for nothing? The learned magistrate behaved like a person whose parents were foreigners and that he intended to please ZNBC as an institution owned by government which protects him. Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba, whose political career I doubt, should be freed from prison unconditionally and be paid by ZNBC for causing him false imprisonment. As for the ridiculous charge of giving false information to an “officer”, this is plainly and clearly harassment intolerable in an emerging democracy. What type of information was that and for what purpose was it? What did the so called “officer” trying to get from Dr. Mumba?

It is a well-known truth that Dr. Mumba wants to be president of Zambia first and foremost. He lost the leadership of the MMD, but he is still there looking for space to participate in the forthcoming presidential election. Some people have called him a faction leader of the MMD which has another leader who is skirting the ruling Patriotic Front.

Dr Nevers Sekwila Mumba in a police truck Kasalanga

The MMD has leadership crisis at party president level. Dr. Mumba is failing to build background capacity for him to be president of the Republic if he has the luck to win an election in future. The political party which he had formed in the past collapsed and died. This was because he failed to lead it as he lacked political leadership skills.

Dr. Nevers Sekwila Mumba has immense religious charisma but lacks political one. Late President Mwanawasa brought him to the MMD as vice president, but he failed to work to succeed late president Mwanawasa. Dr. Mumba failed to fit as vice president of the Republic which actually is a passive job.

A democracy tolerates such politicians because the electorate will always vote to choose leaders and politicians like Dr. Mumba can make themselves available to be elected as a matter of their rights.

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