Politics and Crime

I just happened to pick up the independent newspaper in Zambia, The Post, and thought I’d share the first two articles I read.  (The other main newspaper is the government owned Zambia Daily MailThe Post is often considered the opposition newspaper.)

On the front page reporter Bright Mukwasa reported on a parliamentary seat apparently up for grabs.  One of the politicians said his party “would resort to any means at its disposal, including ‘juju’ to ensure the party retains the Chongwe parliamentary seat.”  Juju, for the uninitiated, is magic or witchcraft.  Wonder if that’s how Sarah Palin sees Russia from her front porch?

In another article a 72-year-old man robbed two places.  At the first he stole one television set, a DVD player and two cell phones for a total value of about $350 of stolen goods.  At the second he stole one television, one DVD player and one cell phone for a total value of about $300.  And, it was considered a violent crime because he used a stolen AK-47 to do the robbery.  That was his big mistake.  Do not commit even the hint of a violent crime in Zambia.

The robber was convicted on both accounts and here was the sentence by the Lusaka High Court judge:  “I pronounce the ultimate penalty of death and announce that you shall be hanged by the neck until pronounced dead.”


About Kimm X Jayne

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6 Responses to Politics and Crime

  1. barbarajparr says:

    Whoa, Nellie! Our population would be down if we resorted to those foolish tactics!

  2. Mikey says:

    Well, at 72 a life sentence probably wouldn’t be long. If they didn’t hang the old man, Zambian gangs of geriatrics might start roaming the streets.

  3. Frank says:

    The grandpa will die in prison. He wont be hanged. Its been a long time since anyone was hanged in Zambia. It seems the death sentence is kept on the statutes as a scare crow. Technically in Zambia ‘Death’ means life imprisonment since succesive Presidents dont seem to have the courage (or is it evil ?) to sign on the dotted line.

    • Kimm X Jayne says:

      I was wondering about that. I’ve never seen an actual hanging reported. Actually, I hardly see any reports about violent crimes — is this the truth or is it just hidden?

      • Frank says:

        Oh yea no one gets hanged in Zambia even Human Rights Watch has commended Zambia for this and have urged successive govts to simply do away with the death penalty. Even the guys who attempted Zambia’s first coup in 1980 were all pardoned in 1990 by ex- President Kaunda despite the death sentence hanging over them.
        Violent crimes are rare in Zambia but they do occassionaly take place. Violent crimes were very common in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. This was at the time when Zambia hosted a number of liberation movements from the neighbourhood. The South African ANC had its headquarters in Lusaka. Zimbabwe’s ZANU and ZAPU were also once heaquartered in Lusaka including SWAPO of Namibia. These liberation movements used to have stocks of assault weapons which slowly found their way into the hands of organised criminals in the Zambian communities who terrorised residents in especially Lusaka and the copperbelt provinces. The liberation movements were also suspected of taking part in criminal activities. Residential areas and banks used to be robbed at gun point. It was during this time that ‘walls’ around houses became the ‘protective armour’ that has turned Lusaka into ‘walled neighbourhoods’ . The govt used ‘gun amnesty days’ in the 80s to encourage people to surrender unregistered weapons without any questions asked. Looks like in the long run it has worked to reduce violent crime.

  4. Kimm X Jayne says:

    This is really interesting — thanks for sharing. When we were looking at houses we came across several in town that had barred rooms within bars and the realtor said it was for safety in the 1980s, but no longer needed. It seems like they treat any type of crime here pretty seriously — a month ago and gang of about 30 young men were walking down our street, whooping and swinging big knives (I was out jogging and remember, we live back on dirt roads). It was a little scary but then I saw our night guard. He came over and told me that they had caught a thief and they were walking him to the police station (which was at least 3 miles away). I looked at the guy he was pointing to and someone had tied his hands behind his back and the other guys would run up and smack him and yell at him and harass him. It actually was a little comforting to see that the local community really united against anyone stealing. I’m sure he had a few bruises by the time he got to the station but I don’t think he’ll ever steal in our area again.

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