The jailing to 18 months simple imprisonment of Derrick SINJELA, by the Supreme Court, five days before Christmas Day, a day believed to be the birthday day of Christ Jesus, cannot go without a comment by our Team of Analysts, we did not expect such a sentence considering that Our Comrade was merely doing his Noble job.
Having followed with keen interest this matter, we are concerned with the matter the Judiciary is sending a message to Society, the men and Women of the wigs have resolved to create a fear factor to the Media, the fourth estate, a situation we find to be unfavorable and a threat to the media.
To us, Comrade SINJELA, is our Brother and to others out there, SINJELA, is a role model to Zambia’s Journalism fraternity. Under his belt Comrade SINJELA, has so many people that he has groomed and given platform to become members of the Media. Comrade SINJELA, is “truly a Man who wears so many hearts”.
Take a read to what the Supreme Court said when it passed it’s Judgement on 20th December, 2019.
“You even went to the extent of giving us free copies so that we read your articles, you also put up a banner on Chikwa road, a poster accusing Stanbic of being corrupt. You also continued commenting as the proceedings were going on because you wanted the outcome to be in the favour of Savenda. That’s irresponsible behaviour which is aggravating,” read Supreme Court Justice Mwanamwambwa.
Comrade SINJELA, pleaded guilty which didn’t waste the Court’s time so we expected the Learned Men and Women to demonstrate love instead of using his fate as an example to the media Fraternity. The Judgement passed on our Friend was like” Let your friends in the Media learn from you”.
We however, acknowledge the history behind this verdict maybe as a result of where the Judiciary has come under immerse pressure for being perceived to be bias from a cross section of society with the Law Association of Zambia coming to it’s rescue considering that Our Judges cannot defend themselves. But this should not imply that the Court should use the Chambers to punish remorseful individuals just to send a warning shot to potential offenders.
Our Reaction to this is that like others have said before, The Court cannot be three in one that is a Complaint, Investigators and a Judge. That is a source of concern. Our Judiciary is still closed up, it still operates like in a one Party State, where there is too much secrecy. It is at times almost difficult to access information from the Court.
We note with regret that Our Courts are very unfriendly to the Media, no Court in Zambia allows media houses to film Court proceedings. The Court in Zambia needs to enhance it’s flow of information with the media in order to prevent any lies when the Media seeks clarifications on rumors at times refered to as there is no smoke without fire.
We also do not agree with the application of emotions when passing out rulings on matters before the Courts of Law…by this we mean, what is wrong with Comrade SINJELA, physically making available publications of the Rainbow Newspapers to the Courts of Law, at no cost. Comrade SINJELA, wanted the message to be taken by his target audience.
The Public Relations department of the Court must be responding to press queries in quickest possible time. The Judiciary should formulate what for now we can refer to “as meet the Press Media briefing” that can be held quarterly to respond to questions from the media including members of the public.
Such a system will be an opportunity for society to know why and how certain rulings were done by the Courts of Law. Legal languages is not for anyone to interpret, so the duty of the current Public Relations Department should be to simplify Judgements.
The Judiciary must bear with Society that it’s existence is to interpret Laws and punish those who break the Law without remorse. We also understand that the Judiciary should have a human face. It is our understanding that cases brought before the Court of Law have two ends a win and a defeat like in a match of Football.
Also we see certain judgements to having a direct negative impact on the Political Leadership of Zambia. For now records have been set Comrade SINJELA, was jailed by the Judiciary under reign of the Patriotic Front administration.
Sometimes, certain wings of Government uses their mandate to get to the appointing authority all in the name of carrying out my job even when other better options are available within their jurisdiction. Sometimes decisions passed in certain key government are made by people in charge for the sole purpose of tarnishing the good image of those in high offices. One year six months for the contempt of Court offence in the amidst of an apology, our Team of Analysts is still coming to terms with this Judgement slapped on Comrade SINJELA.
FINALLY the Government of the able Leader, the Commander in Chief of armed Forces, his Excellency President EDGAR LUNGU, can redeem Comrade SINJELA, from the current status quo. The Judiciary has done it’s part. At times and most often the Zambian Judiciary has not assisted to decongest prisoners, there are over 22 thousand inmates Country wide against a National prison capacity of less than 15 thousand convicts.
Why not commit certain offenders to Community service. That is why Chief Justice Irene Mambilima, needs to establish an “effective and quick response Public Relations Department that will explain who qualifies for Community Service and under what circumstances, as it is now, we are under pressure at the mercy of the Judiciary.
As Comrade SINJELA, clocks a month in prison, we are hopeful that something can be done and still hope that the sentence will in no way cripple or blind the media personel outside prison to pay a blind eye to injustices caused to Society by a few privileged individuals as a result of predicament fallen on Comrade SINJELA.
It is our expectations that the Judgement slapped on Comrade SINJELA, will finally be made public tomorrow, coming one month two days after the verdict was passed. We understand the delay was due to “corrections” to the Judgement.
The Judiciary has managed to send a fear factor in the media but has not solved the misinformation gap that exists meaning the media still has no credible verification desk at the Judiciary to clarify queries on time.
Comrade SINJELA, remain strong in your current position.
The Speech Analyst