By Sean Tembo – PeP President
1. By forcing the woman and her school-going children to consume an entire 2.5 liters of Kachasu against their will, the Minister of Local Government committed a criminal offense according to section 231 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 87 of the laws of Zambia, which states that;
“Any person who unlawfully, and with intent to injure or annoy another, causes any poison or noxious substance to be administered to, or taken by, any person, and thereby endangers his life, or does him or her some grievous harm, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for fourteen years”.
2. Additionally, article 6 of the United Nations Human Rights Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Zambia became a State Party on 26th June 1987 states that;
“Any State Party in whose territory a person is alleged to have committed an offense of torture and/or cruel, inhuman and/or degrading treatment shall take him into custody … “
3. Additionally, Gary Nkombo decided to extend his punishment of forcible drinking of Kachasu to the school-going children of the victim, who are innocent third parties even if it was later established that the woman in question had committed a misdemeanor under the Traditional Beer Act, Cap 168 of the laws of Zambia. The school-going children did not deserve to be part of the punishment.
4. Gary Nkombo’s apology to the victim lacked sincerity. Instead of going back to the victims’ house to render his apology, Gary decided to summon the victims to his office for purposes of rendering his apology. And according to the victims’ relatives, Gary did not even refund the victim for the money she spent to book a taxi from Garden Compound to the Ministry of Local Government, as he commanded her to be at his office within 30 minutes when he telephoned her. Therefore, she was unable to use a bus but had to book a taxi.
5. Evidently, Gary Nkombo needs to be held accountable for the criminal offenses that he committed in this instance. But while the criminal charges are being pursued, we expect President Hakainde Hichilema to impose administrative sanctions against Gary Nkombo by either suspending him or entirely dropping him as Minister of Local Government, until after the resolution of his impending criminal charges. Unless of course President Hichilema is telling the nation that he finds his Minister’s conduct acceptable. Or that Gary’s half-hearted apology is adequate to atone for his criminal transgressions. Or that as a Minister in the new dawn administration, Gary is above the law.