By LUCY PHIRI
FORMER President Edgar Lungu’s family has asked the State to stop demonizing and prosecuting the former First Family through the press but should instead use the courts of law to which they are willing to seek justice over a myriad of accusations.
And former President Lungu’s family has complained that the dramatisation of their circumstances by the State in the newspaper tabloids has only worked to demonise the former head of State.
Tearfully addressing the press at former President Lungu’s residence in Ibex Hill yesterday, Tasila Lungu, the Chawama Patriotic Front (PF) Member of Parliament said the former head of State had worked diligently to serve the country and had willingly handed over power to his successor.
“Our request is that we may not be tried in the media but that we be given justice in court,” Ms Lungu said.
Ms Lungu, the daughter of former President Lungu said the former head of State and his wife Esther had opted to remain silent against the odds of numerous attempts and manuvours by the State to continue demonizing them.
Flanked by her brothers and sisters that included Janet Lungu Banda, Agness Lungu Musimuko, Willie Lungu, and Chiyeso Lungu Katete, Tasily said it had been the resolve of former President Lungu to allow the law to take its full course in all the allegations against the former First Family.
Our appeal to you all is to allow us to defend ourselves in court. The dramatization of our circumstances by the state in the daily tabloids has only worked to demonize our father who worked diligently to serve this country and willingly handed over power to the incumbent. We have had to spend considerable amount of time with our father and mother who, in all these difficult times, have opted to remain silent,” Ms Lungu said.
Ms Lungu complained that despite having chosen to live a quiet life and being ever complaint to several summons to the Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA), it had become fashionable for the State to continue demonizing the Lungu family based on unfounded allegations.
Ms Lungu said the past one and half years had proved to be hard for her family.
She said the State had not made it easier for her family to live a quiet life as it had often times decided to the gallery in matters that related to the former First Family.
She explained that former President Lungu’s family had in the recent past been made aware of lawsuits against the family through the press and various social media platforms.
Ms Lungu said while it was the expectation of her family that they should be the first people to know anything on matters involving her family members, the State had instead embarked on a route of informing them through newspaper tabloids.
“We must hasten to say that we are not objectionable to the Law Enforcement Agencies making inquiries into any matter and we have constantly and consistently complied with the Law Enforcement Agencies. Despite our compliance, it seems to us that it has become fashionable to demonize the Lungu family based on unfounded allegations.”
“The state has not made it any easier for us, as they seem to play to the gallery in matters that relate to our family. Ordinarily, we would expect to be the first to know as relates to matters involving any member of our family. However, we have learnt of the recent lawsuits through news items published in tabloids and various social media platforms. We proceeded to engage our lawyers to obtain the necessary documents from the state, which attempt was met with difficulties,” Ms Lungu said between sobs.
Ms Lungu said her family had, through difficulties finally managed to have access to court documents from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who has decided to seize former President Lungu’s family properties through the non-conviction forfeiture process.
She has made a solemn appeal to the State and Zambians in general to allow her family to defend itself in the courts of law instead of subjecting them to the court of public opinion.
This article is supported with the WAN IFRA Women In News (WIN) Social Impact Reporting Initiative (SIRI). Gender equality, diversity and inclusion ( GEDI) Information in this article does not reflect the views of WAN IFRA Women In News.