Video images circulating on social media last week showing Police brutality against citizens in Luanshya and Lusaka, especially women are extremely depressing for a Christian Nation. Regardless their political affiliation, there is no justification whatsoever for the Police to use brutal force against defenceless citizens, especially women. The constitution grants citizens, including women, the right to freely participate in building a sustainable political, legal, economic and social order of the country and all must be supported by government in the attainment of these objectives.
In the case of women, President Edgar Lungu, has tried hard to champion rights of women. In this regard he has created ample space for women participation in the affairs of the nation. This is demonstrated by, among other accomplishments, his appointment of the first-ever woman Republican Vice President.
However, the images circulating on social media of police brutality against citizens, especially women are disgusting. The images are not helping at all in terms of promoting women rights and claiming their space in the socio-political dispensation of the country.
We therefore call upon the Minister of Home Affairs Hon. Stephen Kampyongo to forthwith stop this brutality. We urge the Minister to re-orient the Police from the disgusting brutal strategy to exercising maximum restraint when dealing with citizens on political and civil issues, unless the lives of the officers are at risk.
Such acts of brutality against women tend to tarnish the standing of the President Edgar, who not only is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, including the Police, but also an advocate of women rights. Furthermore, the President has sworn to uphold the human rights and fundamental freedoms of every person and principles of democracy and good governance. In addition, the President has a constitutional responsibility to uphold every citizen’s right to freedom of conscience, belief or religion regardless the political orientation of the persons involved. The Minister therefore has a responsibility to insulate the presidency from uncalled acts of Police brutality. In other words, the Minister has a responsibility to ensure Police actions do not in any way compromise the President’s constitutional responsibilities and accountabilities.
As the Green Party, our fourth principle is non-violence. Whilst we know that we live in a complicated world where at times one may be called to arms, however, it is our strong belief that violence is almost always a self-defeating solution. It actually causes more problems than it solves. We therefore call upon government and opposition parties alike to work together to end violence, and eliminate its root causes. We strongly believe that violence must always be the very, very last choice, and applied only in instances of self-defence, as provided for in the Constitution.