Civil Rights Activist Brebner Changala July 31st morning broke down as he made a verbal submission to the Legal and Justice Reforms Commission during the ongoing public hearings in Lusaka.
Making his submissions before the Commission which was sitting at Kabwata community hall,Mr Changala broke down as he recollected the ordeal he went through in August last year when the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) raided his house and later charged him with trafficking in 59 tablets of methylenedioxy methamphetamine a drug popularly known as ecstasy.
In his submission Mr. Changala observed that despite the DEC being established for a noble cause, he believes the investigative body is currently working outside its mandate.
Mr. Changala, 53 of House No. 4810, Kabwata Township, says this is because the DEC appears to be used by government to allegedly settle political scores with people perceived to be opposed to government.
He told the Commission that he does not see the reason why, for example, the DEC should raid a citizen’s home as early as 02:00hrs in morning using its own signed search warrant and later take the citizen to court without bearing any legal costs but later enter a nolle prosequi.
Mr. Changala submitted that such night raids should come to an end as they are barbaric, against decency and human rights, and show lack of respect for individuals.
And Mr. Changala has proposed that the Legal and Justice Reforms Commission recommends that courts be given powers to ask the Director of Public Prosecution (DDP) to give reasons for entering a nolle prosequi especially when the matter before the court appears to be suspicious or politically motivated.
He says this is in view of the fact that the appointment of the DPP by the Head of State is allegedly a political appointment and currently appears to be used to allegedly settle political scores with people who seemingly opposed to the government.
The civil rights activist has also proposed that the period in which a nolle prosequi should remain effective be reduced to a life span of six months as opposed to the current situation where the period is indefinite.
He has also submitted to the commission that it recommends that all charges that are non bailable such as treason or drug trafficking offenses be made bailable as it is in other countries such as South Africa and neighboring Zimbabwe.
( Thursday 31st July 2014 )