A group of lawyers representing various opposition parties in Zambia have announced the formation of The Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR), an organization which will work within both local and international legal structures to halt the violation of civil rights currently taking place under the Patriotic Front administration of President Michael Sata.
In a statement circulated to Lusaka media outlets, the CDDR announced, “The formation of this coalition has become necessary because of the growing illegality and violence initiated by Patriotic Front members abusing state power to advance their private and political interests.”
The statement continued, “As lawyers dedicated to the rule of law and democratic values, we are duty-bound to assist those whose political, civil and constitutional rights are violated. Our doors are open to all those who have suffered unlawful treatment at the hands of the Patriotic Front government over their beliefs, irrespective of ideology, ethnic origin, or agenda.”
The statement was signed by prominent Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota, who represents a number of opposition parties, and international lawyer Robert Amsterdam, who represents the former President Rupiah Banda and his son, Henry Banda, both of whom have been the subject of false accusations by the state.
Among the first actions of the CDDR will be the submission of a comprehensive document detailing the Patriotic Front’s legal violations and judicial interference for submission before relevant international bodies.
“It is our intention to make the international community aware of the current abuse of rights and threats of violence being deployed by this government, paving the way for future prosecution,” the statement reads.