Lillian Fulata Shawa Siyuni
Lillian Fulata Shawa Siyuni

Protect the DPP, Protect the Constitution

By Amb. Emmanuel Mwamba

In 1969, at the height of the liberation struggle for Southern Africa, Zambia captured two Portuguese soldiers under the rule of colonial Angola.

The two soldiers were captured by the Zambia Police in Chavuma District.

The Lusaka Magistrate (of Ghanaian descent) sentenced the duo to a fine of K2,400 ($2,400) or two years imprisonment each for the offence in lieu.

But upon review of the case at the High Court by another expatriate jurist, Ifor Evan, the soldiers were released.

Judge Evan stated that the case was trivial and mere border tresspass.

The conviction was therefore quashed and the two soldiers were released and allowed to return to Luanda, Angola.

President Kenneth Kaunda, who was outside the country at the time, demanded for an explanation upon his return.

Chief Justice James Skinner responded to him by affirming the independence of the Judiciary.

Following this meeting, Kaunda publicly attacked Skinner and the entire white-dominated bench as being racist (he later apologised).

From this statement, UNIP hooligans orchestrated public demonstrations that ended up with the storming of the high court grounds and the attack on white judges.

Despite being seen as a nationalist and a comrade of UNIP, Zambia’s first Attorney General and later Justice Minister, Skinner was forced to resign as Chief Justice and both him and Evan fled the country.

The start of the rapid erosion of the independence of the Judiciary can be traced to this single incident.

It is therefore appalling to see UPND orchestrated campaigns against the Director of Public Prosecutions, Lillian Fulata Shawa-Siyuni SC and the absurd campaigns extensively covered by ZNBC, a public broadcaster.

Sadly, the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) seemed to have joined the fray and public lynching, with their statement that failed to affirm the constitutional independence of the DPP’s Office but sought to focus and interpret an extremely narrow matter of a leaked letter of the DPP to the Drug Enforcement Commission.

Even this letter shows that the DPP is on the correct path as she was merely making an enquiry, a routine matter she conducts in her official interaction with Law Enforcement Agencies.

Infact, both the law on “Plea Bargain” and “Witness Protection” do provide for the DPP’s limited role in investigations.

The Plea Negotiations and Agreements Act of 2010 provides numerous instances in which the DPP directs both investigations and prosecution.


The controversy surrounding the DPP and her decision to enter a Nolle Prosequi must be seen in context to her other similar decisions.

She has entered Nolles in cases involving high profile cases at the time such as; President Hakainde Hichilema, Nellie Mutti, John Sangwa, Rajan Mahtani and Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba.

Sadly despite the strong constitutional guarantees provided for the tenure of office of the DPP, and despite the prosecutorial decisions made being guaranteed as independent and entirely the discretion of the DPP, politicians have always illegally interfered with this office.

Recently holders of the Office; Mebeelo Kalima, Mukelebai Mukelebai, Chalwe Mchenga, and Mutembo Nchito have suffered orchestrated negative political campaigns and tribunals that have helped hound them out of office.

Zambians have a duty to stop this rot and the erosion of this office by ensuring that the Constitution as provided for in Articles 180-182 is upheld, respected and the DPP’s office is protected from malicious political attacks and orchestrated negative campaigns.

It is clear from the above that Presidents want a compliant and obedient DPP who, at their political whims, can succeed in their set agenda, usually against their perceived political opponents.

And therefore, any office, judge or DPP seen to be failing to tow their political line is hounded out of office.

We can only allow this if we have abandoned Democracy as a sacred project and way of governing ourselves, or if we have wilfully chosen to undermine its growth by desecrating the autonomy and independence of democratic institutions.


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