Police Brutality against MMD and Opposition parties is a reflection of a persisting colonial mentality in Zambia Police
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is greatly disappointed at reports of a violent attack at the Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) in Eastern province by the Zambia Police in an attempt to disrupt the MMD’s party mobilisation meetings in the province and calls for the Police Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja to resign.
This violent attack by the police against unarmed citizens who express their fundamental political rights is extremely saddening because it comes at a time when President Lungu was swearing in the Inspector General and new Provincial Police Commissioners, urging them to treat all persons equally and fairly under law. What we saw in Eastern province was police brutality and intolerance and this calls for the Police Inspector General to immediately resign as it appears that he is not in control of his men and women in uniform.
The Zambia Police must avoid playing double standards on the way they want to enforce the law and they must understand that violations of people’s fundamental rights such as the right to freedom of Assembly, movement and expression is shedding a bad light about Zambia’s leadership on the international scene.
President Lungu as the Commander in Chief must actually be worried and disappointed to note that while his own wife, our First Lady Mrs. Esther Lungu and PF officials are continuing to hold campaign meetings on his behalf without being subjected to this inhuman treatment by the Zambia Police, his competitors such as MMD leader Pastor Nevers Mumba, UPND leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, Rainbow Party leader Mr. Wynter Kabimba and other opposition officials, are daily being brutalised by the police.
It is not enough for the President to urge his police command to administer the Public Order Act fairly and justly; it his duty to ensure that the police actually do so, and where they clearly fail to follow the law, we expect President Lungu, as custodian of the Constitution, to act immediately to safeguard the constitutional rights of the opposition, not just the ruling party.
The President must immediately relieve the Inspector General of Police for failing to protect Zambians and assure citizens that their rights will not be trampled upon by overzealous police officers.
We wish to remind PF leaders to learn a lesson from the MMD leaders who failed to do their duty to protect the rights of all Zambians and looked the other way when the Police Force used violence against political opponents.
Zambians have been yearning for clean and competitive politics in which all political parties play on a level playing field..
At the rate at which the Zambia Police Force are brutalising the opposition, we don’t see the Police contributing to free, fair and peaceful elections in 2016. This kind of selective enforcement of the law may move the opposition to take the law in their own hands and police their own meetings against the primitive Zambia Police Force.
If the Zambia Police are committed to fair play in the 2016 elections, they must do some introspection of their conduct which is not building trust among stakeholders. Certainly, the Inspector General and his top command are ensuring their own summary dismissal, should the opposition win in 2016.
Young African Leaders Initiative