Zambian News paper Headlines 16.04.2014

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The recent assassination attempts on the opposition leaders in the country like what happened to the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) president Nevers Mumba in Chinsali and United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema in Ndola is unacceptable.

This is the more reason that Zambia needs a new constitution that guarantees equal freedoms and protection for everyone regardless of their political, cultural and religious affiliations.

We, the Grand Coalition, therefore reiterate our demand for the immediate release and enactment of a new Constitution before Zambia plunges into anarchy. In a country where 6.8 million people are children under the age of 15 who disproportionately suffer more in any conflict situation, government has a duty to ensure and promote peace.

The barbaric action committed by the PF cadres in Chinsali and Copperbelt demonstrates how defunct and defective the current Constitution is.

The supremacy of the Constitution is not questionable, non-negotiable and sacred. A new constitution that will guarantee equality to all is inevitable in a democratic dispensation.

If President Sata while in opposition was allowed to say that Levy Mwanawasa’s mouth and brain did not coordinate at a rally when late President Levy Mwanawasa was in power, why is President Sata not allowing opposition political and civic leaders to have the same freedoms?

Democracy is about the respect for the rule of law and free speech which guarantees politicians to sell themselves and their manifestoes, policies and programmes to the people without which free and fair elections are untenable.

For instance, it is unconstitutional for the Police to wantonly disrupt meetings by opposition political leaders such as what happened to President Edith Nawakwi of the Forum for Democracy and development (FDD).

The action by the police using the Public Order Act which is a subordinate law to the current constitution underscores the need for a new constitution.

We also wonder how the police could help HH and Dr. Mumba escape from the cadres when they should have arrested them for attempted murder.

Coalition spokesperson
McDonald Chipenzi

Zambian Newspaper Headlines 15.04.2014

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Zambian Newspaper Headlines 14.04.2014

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Zambian Newspaper Headlines 13.04.2014

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A clerical error meant state ‘forgot’ to send this man to prison for 13 years. Meanwhile he built a life, became a master craftsman, married and had four children. Now he faces the NEXT 13 years in jail.

The Missouri Department of Corrections discovered, upon preparing to release a prisoner who had served a 13-year sentence in July 2013, that the prisoner had never been incarcerated and promptly sent him to prison.

In the intervening 13 years since his 1999 arrest, Cornealious ‘Mike’ Anderson III, 36, has transformed his life, becoming a master carpenter, starting his own business and marrying and having children.

In July last year, as he and his youngest daughter slept in the St Louis home he built for his family, a SWAT team outfitted in tactical gear and helmets swarmed the house, arresting the terrified father of four and delivering him to the Missouri Department of Corrections, where he’s been ever since.

13 years late: Mike Anderson is currently nine months into a 13-year prison sentence for a crime committed in 1999

13 years late: Mike Anderson is currently nine months into a 13-year prison sentence for a crime committed in 1999

Now, Anderson is fighting to be released from prison, where he’s nine months into the original 13-year sentence.

In 1999, Anderson and another man robbed a Burger King store manager of the day’s takings as he attempted to deposit the cash in a night-deposit box.

The pair used a BB gun and Anderson was arrested two months later after witnesses gave police his car license plate number.

Between 2000 and 2004, Anderson filed a series of appeals which were ultimately unsuccessful. At that point, his bail should have been revoked and he should have been taken into custody – but he never was.

Family man: Anderson with his wife LaQonna and their four children. In the years since his arrest he has built a business and a loving family life

Family man: Anderson with his wife LaQonna and their four children. In the years since his arrest he has built a business and a loving family life

As the weeks and months passed by, Anderson never attempted to hide: he registered a business, Anderson Construction and Investment, to his home address and married his wife, LaQonna Anderson. He coached his son’s football team and volunteered at his local church.

He even filed a post-conviction appeal that clearly stated ‘Movant is not presently incarcerated.’ His co-accused, Laron Harris, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years. In filings, Anderson’s address is clearly stated as Webster Groves, whereas the listing for Harris is the Missouri Department of Corrections.

No one commented on this discrepancy and Anderson remained free for seven years after his final appeal failed in 2005.

Tim Lohmar, the current prosecutor for St. Charles County, where the armed robbery occurred, is baffled at the error.

‘Somebody messed up. Somebody messed up big time,’ he told CBS News.

As to whether Anderson deserves to be free, he said, ‘The jury heard the evidence, the judge upheld the sentence,’ he says. ‘As unfair as it may seem to he and his family, he’s got 13 years he owes the state. I don’t think there’s much more to say than that.’

Model citizen: After his scrape with the law, Anderson became a master carpenter, married, and built his family a home from the ground up

Model citizen: After his scrape with the law, Anderson became a master carpenter, married, and built his family a home from the ground up

Anderson’s father, Cornealious Michael Anderson II, said that his son went through a rebellious phase as a young man, but has completely redeemed himself. He had no prior convictions at the time of the crime, and held a full-time job at AT&T.

‘If the point of incarceration is rehabilitation, the job’s already done,’ he told the Riverfront Times.

Anderson’s attorney Patrick Michael Megaro has filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the warden of Southeast Correctional facility where Anderson is being held, challenging the state’s right to hold Anderson.

It argues that forcing Anderson to serve his sentence 13 years after it was given is a violation of due process, and that taking him away from his family, work and home constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.

‘Petitioner was left alone by the State of Missouri for 13 years and led to believe that the State had given up on execution of the judgment. To require this man to now begin serving a sentence in 2013 that should have been completed in 2013 is in essence to double his sentence,’ reads the petition.

If the petition is rejected, Megaro plans to appeal.

Frank Bowman, professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, said that if all else fails, Anderson’s only other recourse would be clemency.

‘Say, “Hey, governor, can you pardon him or commute his sentence in light of this error on the part of the state? This person has taken advantage of this great chance, has kept his nose clean and become a great citizen. After all, you have budgetary problems. What good is it going to do to stick this family man inside and pay for his room and board?”‘

Abrupt end: Anderson and his wife LaQonna, a hotel manager, who way away on business at the time of his arrest

Abrupt end: Anderson and his wife LaQonna, a hotel manager, who way away on business at the time of his arrest

However, Governor Nixon has only granted one prisoner clemency since he took office in 2009. By contrast, the governor of Illinois has granted 900 during the same period.

If Anderson is forced to serve out his original sentence, he will be 50 by the time he is released. His business will have failed, his children will be grown up, and his wife will have had to raise them by herself.

The victim of his crime contacted the Riverfront Times after reading about Anderson’s plight.

Known only as Dennis, he says he doesn’t believe Anderson should go to jail.

‘[The state] were supposed to make sure he went to jail,’ he said. ‘[Anderson] screwed up and he was supposed to pay for it. Our government screwed up. Who’s paying for that? Does he have to pay for that again? Doesn’t seem right.’

Anderson says he feels guilty for the crime he committed, but believes his time would be better spent being a productive member of the community.

‘Yes, I feel responsible. I could have stopped it,’ Anderson says of the robbery. ‘A year or two in jail, yeah, I would have done that. I knew that I was there. I knew that something could have been done, but I ran. I was scared. But 13 years for that? There are guys in here on attempted murder; they’ve been here for ten years, for taking a life.’

The court has issued an order for Missouri’s attorney general to respond to Megaro’s petition by April 15.

Megaro has started a online petition on behalf of Anderson to lobby Attorney General of the State of Missouri and Mississippi County Judge T. Lynn Brown to release him from prison.

Read more:
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Zambian News Paper Headlines 11.04.2014

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