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Tayali charge misplaced

THE mutiny charge against Chilufya Tayali is an overkill. It spells heavy handedness on the part of those leading the prosecution.

Nobody plotting insurrection or mutiny, an offence carrying a life sentence, will call a press conference to announce such an intention.

That cannot be said of Barbra Musamba Mumba, a cadre, who suggested in a video that has gone viral that there was almost going to be a coup d’etat in Zambia and the same was being championed by businessman Harry Findlay who was in South Africa and plotting with some soldiers on how to overthrow the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Hakainde Hichilema.

The charge by Ms Mumba constitutes an offence of misprision of treason, an offence punishable by death unless of course if our security agencies had been alerted.  Any suggestion of individuals scheming to usurp constitutional power deserves serious investigation to establish their veracity and if true bring the culprits to justice. We wonder why security officers have not taken the initiative to question and bring her to book.

As expected, Mr. Findlay’s lawyers have written to Ms Mumba, stating that the allegations were malicious and demanded their withdrawal failure of which they would seek legal recourse.

It is equally beguiling that nothing seems to have been made of the more serious allegations regarding the “Mutiny” affair. 

We are concerned that, according to reports,  that senior Army officers did not only allow but actively encouraged the mutiny of  junior officerscsomplaining against the nonpayment of their full allowances after their tour of active duty outside the country.

If true. This would constitute a more serious offence than the Tayali rant

Clearly, Tayali is a rubble rouser and irritant but is certainly not a conspirator intent on destabilising the government or indeed calling for a mutiny.

He instead calls himself a “people’s” lawyer championing whatever cause may appeal to him.

Undoubtedly this is one cause that has touched a raw nerve among security officers who want to make a lesson for his unguarded and clearly misplaced statements.

By definition, mutiny means an open rebellion against the proper authorities, especially by soldiers or sailors against their officers.

According to criminal law, an individual is guilty of an offence when two conditions are meant. The first being an intention to commit an offence and the second an actual act in perpetrating that intention.

Can it be said that Tayali really intended to cause a mutiny and in execution of this intention called a press conference? This is totally implausible.

The fact is that Tayali, thoughtlessly, chose to champion a cause that was trending on social media and indeed a cause on which the Minister of Defence Ambrose Lufuma chose to duck when raised in Parliament, cannot be held against him to deserve a life sentence.

It is not too late for the State to withdraw this matter before it goes into court and bring the real culprits behind the real mutiny to book.

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