Kabwe based Investigative Journalist Wilson Pondamali is still detained and has been slapped with a second charge of stealing a book.
Like in most dictatorships around the world that also wish to benefit from democracy, the police are not charging Pondamali with anything to do with his journalistic work which is the real reason they arrested him. They have found trumped up charges just to punish him for exposing government corruption and incompetence.
Pondamali was abducted by police last Wednesday and was denied police bond to date. His lawyers will try to push for his release through police a bond or court bail.
Police have charged Pondamali with two counts of being in possession of military books and theft. In the first count police claim that he was found possession of military books contrary to the Defence Act Chapter 106 of the Laws of Zambia.
Particulars of the charge are that Pondamali on July 17, 2013 did have in his possession one copy of a restricted Zambia Defence Service Intelligence book and one restricted tactics book used for military purposes.
In the second count it is alleged that the accused did steal a book entitled Freedom of the Mind valued at K140 a property of Kabwe Municipal Council (KMC).
But Pondamali is in good spirits. Speaking from Mpima remand prison where he is currently detained, Pondamali said he is surviving.
Meanwhile, the Zambian government says it is happy with the arrest of journalists Pondamali, Thomas Zyambo and Clayson Hamasaka.
Information and Broadcasting ServicesMinister Kennedy Sakeni said investigative wings would clamp down on any person suspected to have broken the law regardless of whether they were journalists or not.
“The question is, are you journalists above the law that you can not be investigated even if the police has reason to suspect you of having committed an offence? If they suspect you, why can’t they investigate or arrest you like anybody else?” he said.