PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema breached the Constitution and seriously undermined the criminal justice system by appointing Fanwell Siandenge as Deputy Inspector General of Police for Special Duties when he still has aggravated robbery charges pending before the Lusaka Magistrates Court, Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) president Sean Tembo has said.

Mr Tembo said the move by President Hichilema was unacceptable.

In August 2016, Mr Siandenge was charged with aggravated robbery together with four others, but went into hiding.

This was after he, in the company of others, intercepted a vehicle carrying ballot boxes during the 2016 general elections.

Mr Tembo said President Hichilema should have allowed the due process of the law to take its course.

“The correct way of doing things is that Mr Siandenge should have been arrested and presented before the Lusaka Magistrates Court after which the State should have either dismissed the charges unconditionally or conditionally through a nolle prosequi,” he said in a statement.

Mr Tembo said it was not acceptable for President Hichilema to just ignore that Mr Siandenge had aggravated robbery charges pending before the Lusaka Magistrates Court.

He said President Hichilema promised that he would respect the rule of law if elected into office as Republican President.

“We also remember vividly how President Hichilema swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia on 24th August 2021 when he was sworn into office as our sventh Republican President,” Mr Tembo said.

He said it was shocking that barely two weeks later, President Hichilema abrogated the same Constitution that he swore to protect and defend.a

“The fact that the Police did not arrest Mr Siandenge when he showed up to be sworn in as Deputy IG at State House, despite there being an active warrant for his arrest, means that the Zambia Police Service in particular and law enforcement agencies in general will not be allowed to operate freely under President Hakainde Hichilema’s tenure of office,” Mr Tembo.

He said the President’s colourful speech during his inauguration about allowing law enforcement agencies to operate freely was mere rhetoric.

Mr Tembo urged the Zambia Police Service to immediately arrest Mr Siandenge and present him before the Lusaka Magistrates Court. He said if the State wanted to drop the charges against Mr Siandenge, it should be done properly and in compliance with the Criminal Procedure Code Act, Cap 88 of the Laws of Zambia.

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