FRED M’membe should stop this hide and seek game, own up and avail himself to relevant authorities since he has made it clear that there is no crime that he has committed rather than taking behaving like a fugitive, a status not befitting a legal practitioner, the Gallant Youths in Zambia (GYZ) has charged.
In February, Mr. M’membe sneaked out of the country after information leaked that the magistrate court had issued a warrant of arrest against him and preliminary information indicated that he was destined for Jamaica and the US, to which he attested.
His wife, Mutinta, was arrested a few days later after tearing the warrant of arrest which was supposed to be served on her husband, and at that time M’membe responded that he was not scared to come back to Zambia to face whatever charges levelled against him.
M’membe described the arrest of his wife as state harassment on his family which was done in bad faith because the person the police were looking for was him and asked to be given time to come back.
However, days turned into months without him coming back as he opted to remain holed up wherever he was.
On Tuesday this week, Mr. M’membe was reported to have sneaked back into Zambia but since then, he has remained at large.
Speaking to the Daily Nation yesterday, GYZ executive director Henry Mulenga said it was shameful that a person of Mr. M’membe’s standing in society could exile himself from his country of origin where he had businesses and left his family yet continue to plead his innocence over the charges slapped against him.
He said as a legal practitioner, Mr. M’membe knew that no matter what crime he is alleged to have committed, he remained innocent until found guilty by the courts of law, adding that his continued hiding will not help him in any way.
He said his continued refusal to face the courts would force Zambians to start thinking that he knew that the gravity of the crimes he had committed could lead to his outright conviction and serving jail terms.
“Mr. M’membe should just own up and come back to Zambia if he is still away at the moment. He is a lawyer who understands that being arrested does not amount to conviction but if he continues living as a fugitive , away from his own country where he has had flourishing businesses, Zambians will start thinking that he is guilty and that is why he cannot come back,
“He promised Zambians that he was coming back in February but what is keeping him away? We are now hearing that he sneaked into the country on Tuesday but his whereabouts are yet to be known. We want him to come out in the open, exonerate himself from any criminal charges and continue with his normal life if he is innocent,” Mr. Mulenga said.
Writing about the raid at his house by police and the subsequent arrest of his wife on February 17, 2017, Mr. M’membe described the “invasion” of his house in his absence as cowardice and an act of desperation and that he would be back into the country in few days’ time.
“I learnt of the arrest of my wife, Mutinta, and harassment of my lawyer Nchima Nchito with deep sadness. This was inhuman, unacceptable and done in bad faith. The invasion of my home in my absence was and is a cowardly and desperate act. President Edgar Lungu and his agents ought to have known I was out of the country visiting the USA and Jamaica.
“The warrant to arrest me was therefore a farce. It was meant to enter, search, intimidate, harass and humiliate my family. My wife, just like any humble and respecting citizen should do, complained against this injustice.,
“ I will be coming back home in a few days’ time. President Lungu and his agents should be patient enough to wait and give me the chance to answer any charges against me,” Mr. M’membe said.