Source: Kwacha Celebrity Newspaper
Our hearts are with Comrade Derrick Sinjela who is currently serving his jail term in Lusaka Prison famously known as Chimbokaila Prison. Cde Sinjela was jailed by former Deputy Chief Justice Marvin Mwanamwambwa after he questioned the Supreme Court’s judgment of Savenda Management Services Limited versus Stanbic case.
Without wasting the Court’s precious time, Sinjela pleaded not guilty but was accordingly condemned to jail by the same Supreme Court he was questioning.
One could have expected the Supreme Court to show some leniency on Cde Sinjela because of the manner he behaved during the court process when he pleaded guilty and being remorseful for the offense he committed but the highest court of the land went ahead and slapped an 18 month simple imprisonment on him.
Not to question the learned Judges’ decision of jailing Sinjela, we feel the 18 months slapped on our dear brother was quite excessive considering that contempt of court case has become outdated, it is not a serious offence. The option of a fine could have worked on Sinjela and that could have been punishment enough and not to throw him in prison. Even what they termed simple imprisonment, for us does not hold water or did the court show leniency to Sinjela because simple imprisonment does not exist in Zambia because of the state of prisons we have in the country. Unlike Gregory Chifire, Sinjela did not run away but respected the Zambian law and stayed on until his case was concluded, therefore, our expectations were that the court was going to either fine him or give him a suspended sentence. Jailing him was the worst punishment given to Sinjela who until then had no criminal record.
What has left as puzzled is the fact that Bishop John Mambo who equally pleaded guilty was given a lighter sentence of a mere fine amounting to K25 000 fine(9 months simple imprisonment in default). One can argue that the court was lenient on Bishop Mambo because he is old but Cde Sinjela is also old and has a medical condition. We are not saying that Bishop Mambo could also have been jailed but what we are saying is that there was discrimination in the manner the judgment was delivered and this is something people will continue talking about for many years to come. Sinjela could have been fined even K1 billion and in default sent to prison but since the court overlooked that option , he is today languishing in prison and being punished mentally, physically and emotionally.
We have taken note of all the comments that have been generated since Sinjela was thrown in prison. A lot of people have shown solidarity to Sinjela. A number of people have visited Sinjela to offer him pieces of encouraging words and that is what is making the Rainbow Newspaper owner strong and alive. We are glad that his wife and family have remained strong during this trying moment. However, the pain Sinjela’s family is facing is too huge to be ignored, more so that their bread winner, instead of being with them, he is languishing in jail.
Sinjela does not deserve to be locked and keyed in Chimbokaila Prison because his contribution to Zambian media is not questionable. He has helped to tranform the Zambian media industry by helping young reporters to reach their potential. A lot of journalists, some of whom are managing newsrooms have benefited from Sinjela’s hard work and generosity. Indeed his absence has been felt because of his determination and zeal to deliver.
Now that our comrade can’t appeal his case as it was precided over by the highest court of the land, we are appealing on our Great leader Edgar Chagwa Lungu to find it in his heart to pardon Sinjela using the prerogative powers vested in him to release him from the shackles of prison. As a father figure, President Lungu must prevail over Sinjela’s case and release him as he has learnt a bitter lesson, having spent three months in incarceration.
Please ba tata ba Lungu, we are on our knees begging for your mercy, release our man so that he can continue what God has called him to do otherwise, being in prison is worsening matters. We understand that he wronged the Supreme Court judges but please, please forgive him and bring him back home ba kateka wesu twapapata.