News / Africa

Zambia Denies Agreement with Sudan to Train Militia

Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.
x
Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.
Zambia's new President Michael Sata, right, takes the oath of office on the steps of the supreme court in Lusaka, September 23, 2011.
Peter Clottey
Zambia’s information minister has denied his government signed an agreement with Sudan to train a youth militia group with an objective to terrorize opponents.

Kennedy Sakeni also denied the administration is using state institutions to suppress opposition parties from fully participating in the democratic process.

“As far as [the] government is concerned, we haven’t signed any agreement and as government we don’t intend to do so,” said Sakeni.

His comments came after Hakainde Hichilema leader of the opposition Party for National Development (UPND) accused the government of training youth in Sudan to terrorize opponents in Zambia.

The police demanded a retraction, but the opposition leader refused. Hichilema was arrested and charged with publishing false information with the intent of causing fear and public alarm.

“That is why the opposition leader is in court because he is talking about an issue, which is neither here nor there,” said Sakeni.

He declined further comments on the prosecution of the opposition leader.

“Zambia is a democratic country, which believes in the rule of law and as such, we would leave it to the courts to determine the matter,” Sakeni said. “It’s very prejudicial for us to be discussing this matter. Our law is very clear when a matter is before the court let us leave [it] to the courts of law to determine [it].”

But, supporters of the opposition leader accused the government of using state institutions to deprive opponents of exercising their freedom of expression, as enshrined in the constitution.

Information minister Sakeni said his government is making sure that the rule of law is respected by all Zambians.

“This gentleman was arrested and within a spate of six hours he was taken before a court of law. He wasn’t detained or even questioned longer than necessary,” said Sakeni.

“As a state we just follow the normal procedure and that is I think one of the achievements as a government. As a new government, we are able to determine [and] this matter before courts of law so that the courts can decide.” 

Critics say the government has been intimidating and harassing opponents. They cite the prosecution of members of the opposition Movement for Multi-party democracy (MMD) including Dora Siliya as a tactic, to silence critics. But Sakeni disagrees.

“The opposition parties are participating in the democracy very well. They are able to get on stage to campaign and manage their own affairs. You will never hear of an opposition leader who is [prosecuted] on tramped up charges,” said Sakeni.

“The law enforcements do their business transparently and take matters before the courts of law. And as far as we are concerned as a government we are on course.”
Clottey interview with Kennedy Sakeni, Zambia’s information minister
Clottey interview with Kennedy Sakeni, Zambia’s information minister i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Amnesty: EU Failing Migrants, Refugees

Rights group says migrants, refugees subject to detention, extortion, beatings More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deali
X
July 07, 2015 12:02 PM
If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs