Letter to the Editor

Five-year imprisonment over pangolin too harsh

Dear editor,
I’M APPEALING to our learned men and women to help me understand the logic behind certain sentences passed in court.

Recently, a man of Chipata was sentenced to five years imprisonment for being found in possession of a pangolin, which is a protected animal.
Another man of Chisamba was also imprisoned five years for being found with a parrot.
I am yet to understand how the courts determine which case deserves a severe sentence and which one does not.
This is because there are certain cases involving corruption where culprits have been handed less than five-year sentences.
In my view, corruption is a more serious crime than being found with a protected animal.
While those found with protected animals may be victims of their ignorance, corruption is usually as a result of well calculated evil intentions to satisfy one’s greed.
In cases of corruption, individuals use their privileged offices to fraudulently divert money which is meant for service delivery in sectors such as education, health, agriculture, and many others.
If money meant for education is diverted by corrupt individuals into their pockets, it means many people will be deprived of an opportunity to access education thereby relegating them to perpetual poverty.
In the case of health, if money meant for drugs is diverted, it may lead to people dying.
The probability of people dying due to lack of finances to access specialised treatment abroad may be high.
In short, corruption inhibits development and leads to loss of life in some instances.
However, on the other hand, being found with protected animals may not necessarily impact human life.
According to some judgments we have witnessed from courts, are we saying animal life is more valuable than human life?
I need our learned men to explain to many Zambians who may be wondering, like this author, on the rationale of determining such judgments.

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