A Civil Society Organisation says the sentencing of anti corruption activists Gregory Chifire to six years imprisonment is too harsh a sentence meant to intimidate activists from holding government institutions accountable.
GEARS Zambia executive director MacDonald Chipenzi says the sentence will have a chilling effect on advocacy in the country.
See full statement below:
Statement for immediate Release
24 Nov, 2018
The harsh sentence handed over to Gregory Cifire, SANAC Executive Director, of six years in jail by the Supreme Court of Zambia over a contempt charge, is a chilling hand on activists and activism in Zambia.
The sentence is not only a chill on activists but also chill pill on the advocacy and the fight for state transparency, accountability in Zambia.
The sentence is punishment too harsh for an offence of holding an opinion over a state institution.
If this same harsh sentences were meted on those plundering state resources and committing corruption offences, Zambia would long have eliminated corruption in government.
But alas, corrupt and abusers of national resources rarely get such kind of a years as sentences for such offences or crimes.
Nonetheless, as the bible encourages us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 that “we are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; [and] persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed”, the battle for a transparent and accountable state has just begun.
The demand for accountable state apparatuses will continue in the face of such hard press and prosecutions.
We encourage Mr. Cifire to get inspirations from the bible verse quoted above in this trying moments and let him be assured that, for us still outside the jail walls, our motto is aluta continua till real justice for all is assured and a transparent and accountable state is created.