|October 25, 2004
State apologises to former President Kaunda
Government has apologised to first Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda for his unlawful arrest and detention on charges of treason in December 1997. Furthermore, the Permanent Human Rights Commission (PHRC) has commended Government for apologising to Kaunda and expressed the hope that the admission by Government that Dr Kaunda's human rights were violated marks a turning point in the quest to strengthen the administration of justice.
According to a letter to the PHRC from Government, through the office of the Solicitor General Sunday Nkonde, the State has unreservedly apologised to Dr Kaunda for his arrest and detention on allegations of treason.
The PHRC chairman, Mumba Malila, noted that the apology, even if a belated one, could not have come at a better time than on the eve of the Zambia's 40th Independence anniversary. "The apology is a fitting gesture to the former head of State for the injustice he suffered at the hands of the State," he said. According to him, the mere fact that Government had acknowledged that it violated Dr Kaunda's human rights should be applauded and that Government should no longer be sycophantic about observing human rights. "It should, through its various organs, in future ensure that people's human rights are not lightly trampled upon, particularly where political motives are discernible from the action taken by its functionaries," the PHRC said.
Dr Kaunda through his lawyers accepted the apology and further forever released and discharged the State from any claims arising from and incidental to the matter.
(The Times of Zambia, Ndola)