Zambia: Lungu annuls musician's appointment as envoy against gender-based violence

Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – Zambian President Edgar Lungu has with immediate effect withdrawn the appointment of local musician Clifford Dimba popularly known as ‘General Kanene’ as an ambassador against gender- based violence.

A statement issued by State House Monday said the president’s decision to revoke Dimba’s assignment has been taken in the light of the court case that he faces on allegations of gender-based violence.

In a letter addressed to UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan, the president stated that the allegations against Dimba made it untenable for him to execute this onerous task.

"It was my hope that Mr. Dimba would use pardon and his special skills as a musician to campaign against gender-based violence using his anecdotal experience. However, I regret that he faces before the courts of law allegations of gender-based violence. This does not cast him in a good light to move the campaign forward’’.  

UN human rights experts last month criticised President Lungu for pardoning Dimba, who was convicted of the rape of a 14-year-old girl and appointed as an ambassador in the fight against gender violence.

He was convicted in 2014 and sentenced to 18 years in prison, but was pardoned by President Lungu after serving one year.

Since his release, the singer has been involved in two further incidents of violence against women..

Dubravka Šimonović, UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women  and Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography called on the Zambian government to publicly withdraw Dimba's appointment and to ensure that there are no further pardons for such crimes against women and girls.  

The two independent experts highlighted that the granting of a pardon under such circumstances was incompatible with Zambia’s international human rights obligations and the President's role as a champion in the UN Women's campaign, He for She.

But the President on Monday assured the UN of his unwavering personal commitment to the fight against gender-based violence in particular and the attainment of gender parity in general.

He also assured of his administration’s full support to the United Nations agenda to help create a fair society where men and women enjoy equal rights
-0- PANA MM/AR18Jan2016

18 january 2016 17:32:01

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