Mayor of Lusaka effects Citizen’s arrest over false social media post

I have taken him to Woodlands Police station for criminal defamation.

The Mayor of Zambia’s capital city Miles Sampa took matters into his own hands when a false post about him went viral on social media. A petrol attendant at a filling station where the Mayor had fuelled his car posted on Facebook claiming that Sampa had left the filling station without paying. The post quickly went viral.

“So, this afternoon a petrol attendant decided to abuse social media by posting false pics on Facebook claiming I had put gas in my personal car and refused to pay “because” I am a Mayor,” said Sampa.“When his post went viral, I went back to the Filling station and effected a Citizen arrest on the petrol attendant. I have taken him to Woodlands Police station for criminal defamation.”

“I have had enough of malicious social media abuse on my persona and we will now meet in the Courts of Law to all malicious abusers targeted at me,”

Miles Sampa

Canadian based lawyer Elias Munshya has chimed in on the issue, stating that it is wrong and irresponsible to effect a citizen’s arrest for an issue that is not an urgent act of criminal activity. “Citizen’s arrest is an unusual arrest that must and can only be effected in the process of a criminal act being carried out. Citizens have no right to simply go to a filling station and arrest a person for criminal defamation,” commented Munshya.

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Although Sampa argued that he hoped that his citizen’s arrest would be a deterrent to those who are using social media irresponsibly, Munshya stated that the correct thing to do would have been to report the matter to the police.

Sampa has since taken down the post from his Facebook page, but formal charges against the unnamed Lusaka petrol attendant still stand. Sampa, who is extremely active and vocal on social media, has a Facebook page with over 120 thousand likes. He uses the platform to update the public on news and civic issues. He also often uses the platform to voice his personal views and opinions, which usually end up going viral on Zambian social media.

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At the end of last year, Sampa was at the centre of controversy when he posted about eating at a restaurant in Lusaka’s upmarket Kabulonga neighbourhood. He refused to pay the bill because according to him the service he received was poor, although he admitted to enjoying the food. 

In an interview with local station Hot FM, he argued that he had done this to ensure that the restaurant would improve its service for the benefit of the residents of Lusaka.

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