The conviction of the Barotse activists is the worst form of hypocrisy of the law because President Michael Sata witnessed Simon Mukupa tearing the same document in 2011, a civil rights activist has said.
Brebner Changala said President Sata set a precedent that anyone could tear a document if they did not agree with it when he allowed Mukupa to tear the 2011 dreft constitution and this prompted the Barotse activists to follow suit.
Mr Changala said Mr Mukupa and his colleagues were not convicted when he engaged in acts of anarchy in order to show their detest against the manner in which the former MMD government handled the constitution issue.
He charged that in a similar manner the Lozi people showed their detest in the manner the Patriotic Front was handling national issues by tearing the document.
“It is an act of highest hypocrisy of the law that the Lozi activists can be convicted on a matter that the current President had already set precedent. It is in this vain that I call upon the Patriotic Front government to release all the activists that have been convicted,” he said.
Mr Changala said it was unfair that the activists could be arrested because their behaviour was as a result of the false hope that Mr Sata gave to the Barotse people prior to the 2011 general elections.
He charged that it was criminal for Mr Sata and the PF administration to turn round today and convict the Barotse activists on matters that formed the very basis of his promise to restore the Barotse Agreement.
“Mr Sata must apologise to the people of Barotseland and stop the harassment that is going on in Western Province,” he said.
On Friday, the state convicted 17 Barotse activists accused of tearing a draft Constitution and jailed them for 12 months imprisonment with hard labour.