The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has described the shooting of a Lusaka based bus driver by a suspected Police Officer in Kamwala area of Lusaka as worrying and frightening.
HRC Spokesperson Mweelwa Muleya said it is extremely worrying that a criminal act of a suspected police officer, fully clad in a uniform, blocked a minibus in daylight and shot the Harrison Miti in the abdomen twice, ripping out his intestines, while one bullet injured a female Passenger, Janet Zimba on the leg on Monday.
“Worse still, the announcement that the police are investigating to ascertain whether or not the suspected criminal is a genuine police officer or not is worrisome for an ordinary member of the public who believes that anyone wearing a Police uniform a law enforcement officer, only to have such a person commit such a gruesome crime,” Muleya said.
Mr Muleya said there is need to get to the bottom of the matter and ensure that the culprit, whether a police officer or not, is brought to account for the criminal act of shooting individuals over a road traffic misunderstanding.
He said the scenario provides an opportunity to the Zambia Police Service command to prove to the public that police officers are not above the law and are not licensed to injure or kill citizens but to protect them by enforcing the laws of this country in a fair and just manner.
He said arresting the alleged police officer will give an opportunity to allay fears that there are marauding criminals disguising themselves as police officers in uniforms and carrying out the duty of police officers in an arbitrary manner to the detriment of the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens.
“The Human Rights Commission calls for an end to acts of lawlessness in order to promote an atmosphere of peace, law and order, which is necessary for the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms for all,” he said.
The Commission has called upon people who witnessed the near fatal incident to help the police with investigations by providing the necessary information.
Meanwhile, the Commission wishes to commend President Edgar Lungu for pardoning 30 inmates, including Freelance Journalit Chanda Chimba III on medical grounds.
In addition to being in line with the Prisons Act as amended in 2004 and international human rights instruments, the pardoning of the terminally ill inmates is an act of compassion by the President and must be commended.
Mr Muleya said it is a well-known fact that the environment in most of the correctional facilities in Zambia is not conducive for human habitation and that can be a catalyst for worsening the conditions of inmates experiencing ill health.
He said the right to life is sacred and it would be inhuman to deny terminally ill inmates an opportunity to seek and access better medical services and care outside correctional facilities.