Green Party leader Peter Sinkamba has cautioned the Police and other security agencies involved in the on-going operation in Chibolya to desist exposing innocent people of Chibolya to brutal force under the guise of State of Threatened Emergency.
Mr Sinkamba said it is now clear that the State is abusing the emergency powers.
He said there is no situation of threatened emergency in Chibolya to warrant such abuse of human rights of residents with impunity.
Mr Sinkamba said it is a pity that the State of Threatened Emergency has given a free hand to unbridled use of brute force and as a result, young people are falling prey to Police brutality almost every passing day since the operation began.
He said the abuse of emergency powers in Chibolya actually proves right those of who opposed the invocation.
“As everyone who followed the genesis of the invocation of the State of Threatened Emergency will recall, it had nothing to do with the state of affairs in Chibolya. Rather, it had to do with burning of markets and sabotage of other public infrastructure, neither of which are Chibolya issues,” Mr Sinkamba said.
“It is sickening that the residents of Chibolya are passing through most difficult times economically and socially. The increase in poverty and inequity in that society is unacceptable. This can be overcome not by use of brute force by State agencies against the people of that community but by demonstrating unity of purpose to address their socio-economic challenges. They too are Zambians who deserve social justice and protection of the law,” he said.
“We salute the residents for their resilience in meeting the challenges and braving the brunt of excesses being committed by the coalition security agencies.”
He added, “We would however like to caution government not to test the patience and resilience of people of Chibolya for far too long. It is imperative that government realises that this is a complicated world. There are times that government security agencies may be called to arms but we maintain that violence is almost always self-defeating.”
Mr Sinkamba said violence breeds more violence from the victims.
“Therefore, government focus should not be use of brute force against its citizens but work towards ending poverty, and eliminating the root causes of petty crimes in that neighbourhood.”
“We urge President Lungu to immediately cease fire in Chibolya. We also urge him to revoke the State of Threatened Emergency so as to end the spree of arrests and use of brute force that has characterized Chibolya and created anguish, fear and uncertainty across the township. Perpetrating atrocities under the guise of the State of Threatened Emergency and trampling people’s rights is wrong and must end.”
“Further, we call upon the people of Chibolya to remain peaceful and united despite the brute force which has unfairly been unleashed against them by the State. We assure them that the day is not far when this era of repression will end,” he said.
“Those of us who share their anguish are bleeding. There is no justification whatsoever for the State to commit such atrocities. There is also no justification for President Lungu to leave residents at the mercy of brute forces. He is under Constitutional duty to protect every Zambian, including residents of Chibolya, from unjustified repression.”