Law & Order

Imagine you are Zambia’s chief prosecutor Mutembo Nchito.

You’ve been director of public prosecutions since 2011 and things seem to be going pretty well. You may or may not have taken advantage of your position for some constructive grafting. Then, in late 2014, disaster strikes. The president who appointed you dies in office. He’s replaced by a new guy after a campaign season focused on corruption and cost of living.

Nevertheless, you, Mutembo Nchito, are shocked when the police show up at your door. They arrest you on a host of charges, including corruption and forgery.

So what do you do?

You’re the chief prosecutor! You drop the charges.

h/t: Ben, formerly in Lusaka.

WTF Friday, 1/10/2014

Today in “things you didn’t know you could get arrested for”: Opposition politician Frank Bwalya has been arrested and charged with defamation for calling Zambian president Michael Sata a potato. Specifically, a chumbu mushololwa, which is, apparently, a “sweet potato that breaks when it is bent”. He faces up to five years of prison time if convicted of this heinous offense.

In an interview with Voice of America, Bwalya claimed that his remarks were misinterpreted:

I called him a crooked sweet potato that cannot be straightened. It is a commonly used phrase which is not insulting. It is to explain the attitude of a person who doesn’t want to be advised who doesn’t want to be counseled.

So there you go. He meant potato in the sense of being a bad leader who won’t take advice, not in the more insulting sense of being a starchy tuber that tastes delicious with steak.

In either case, it hardly seems to qualify as “abusive language” aimed at “intentionally undermining the constitution”. So maybe dial it back a notch with your insane defamation statute, Zambia?

H/T: Ben in Lusaka

WTF Friday, 9/23/2011

I feel kind of sad that “narco pets” is now in my lexicon. Just glad there were no “drug mule” puns. (Thanks, Melinda!)

Zambia’s new president is nicknamed “King Cobra,” supports Robert Mugabe, and is maybe warding off evil spirits in this picture.

Rick Perry pronounces “Palestine” as “Pahl-ee-steen.” This is actually shrewd. No matter what happens at the UN he can always just say he was talking about something else.

WTF Friday, 10/22/10

In “creepy as shit” news, a life-size sculpture of comatose Ariel Sharon has premiered at the Kishon Art Gallery in Tel-Aviv, complete with open eyes and (somehow) the appearance of breathing. Truly disturbing stuff…

The “Rolling Stone” newspaper (no relation) of Uganda has published the names and addresses of gay and lesbian Ugandans, encouraging readers to, no exaggeration, “hang them.” At least four people have been attacked so far. How unbelievably shitty.

Former President of Botswana and chairperson of the Champions for an HIV Free Generation , Festus Mogae, has spoken out against the possible criminalization of HIV infection in Zambia. Great now let’s try not to invoke homosexuality in this con…well, I tried…

What the…?

According to Zambian Watchdog, 11 miners at Collum Coal Mine were “shot and seriously wounded” while complaining about poor working conditions to the mine’s Chinese management.

Assuming this isn’t yet another example of an attempted Deadwood episode reenactment gone tragically awry (when will people learn that no one can actually consume that much whiskey?), we’re guessing there’s more to this story. Anyone know what it is?

(Hattip: Howard French)