By KALUNGA MWAPE and GIDEON NYENDWA
A TONGUE in cheek wisecrack that Bembas might become extinct in seven months looking at the rate at which prosecutions were being conducted, has landed Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) President, Sean Tembo, in trouble after being summoned for propagating hate speech.
Mr Tembo in a Facebook post on November 2, 2021 stated that at the rate at which the government was making arrests, Bembas would become extinct in approximately seven months.
Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said yesterday, a warn and caution recorded is for the offence of hate speech contrary to Section 65 of the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act Number 2 of 2021 of the Laws of Zambia.
Mr. Hamoonga said such utterances involved hostility or segregation directed towards a particular social grouping on grounds of tribe or origin.
Mr Tembo, who was released shortly after recording a warn and caution, said the move by police was meant to intimidate the opposition from offering credible checks and balances.
He charged that the UPND government was proving to be most brutal regime as compared to those that had come before it.
And speaking to journalists after being questioned at police headquarters in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Tembo described the warn and caution as intimidation aimed at silencing the opposition from offering credible checks and balances.
Mr. Tembo said it is sad that the government has gone on rampage to undermine the freedom of expression in its quest to turn the country into a one-party state.
Mr Tembo stated that the intention of the summons from the police was to slow down the opposition from commenting on issues of governance by intimidating anyone who tried to voice out on areas that the government was not doing the right things or making wrong decisions.
He said that the opposition in this country had a mandate to offer credible checks and balances on behalf of the Zambian people and no form of intimidation from the government could stop them from voicing out on national issues.
“We are not going to allow ourselves to be intimidated,” he said.
Mr Tembo said Zambia was a democratic country and opposition parties should be allowed to operate freely without any form of intimidation from the government using government institutions like the Zambia police.
He said that moves to try and prevent the opposition from going about doing their business freely will not prevent Zambians from seeing the UPND for who they were.
Mr Tembo said that PEP would continue offering checks and balances so that the people in government could start doing the right thing for the benefit of all Zambians.