By NOEL IYOMBWA
THERE is nothing sinister about the recent pardoning of 60 inmates by President Edgar Lungu, says a Lusaka-based lawyer, Mr Sakwiba Sikota. The pardoning of 60 prisoners including Keith Mukata and Mathew Mohan by President Lungu has been received with mixed feelings with some non-governmental organisations condemning the freeing of murder convicts, while some contend that there was nothing illegal about that.
Mr Sikota however said that it was a discretion which was given to the Head of State and that it was at his discretion whom he chose to pardon. He said that the law does not require the President to justify why he should pardon a particular individual.
Mr Sikota explained that there is nothing unusual with the move as it has been done in the past by many Heads of States. He said that unless the constitution is changed, the action by President Lungu was within the confines of the law hence it should not be condemned.
“Pardoning of inmates is a discretion which is given to the President and it his discretion whom he should pardon. The law does not require him to justify why he pardoned someone. “We have seen in the past there have been plenty of pardoning of inmates, but the one that ticks out for me was the one by the late Dr Kaunda which he did for the late Edward Shamwana and Christon Tembo so it is within the constitution,“ he said. President Lungu on Thursday pardoned 60 inmates, including those who were serving cases of defaming him. Others pardoned include lactating mothers, pregnant women, the old and the terminally-ill, among others. The inmates have been pardoned in line with the prerogative of mercy powers vested on the Zambian president in the constitution.