We, The Movement For Economic Emancipation Youth, stand with The University of Zambia (UNZA) students and condemn, in the strongest terms, police brutality and intimidation.
We also demand that justice be served for the late Verspers Shimuzhila and Evelyn Chongo who sustained a spinal injury after she jumped from the second-floor room she shared with Verspers to escape from the fire which is believed to have started after anti-riot police threw a teargas canister into their room.
We, therefore, demand that the riot police, who were at the scene on that day, be investigated and prosecuted. Police are supposed to protect and not kill us. We have lost a young and energetic life that could have contributed greatly to the wellbeing of our country. A life that could have been the pride of her family, a life that could have carried itself with so much confidence that it could have contributed and shared in building a nation full of hope.
This needless tragedy, that has left a couple childless, could have been avoided had police refrained from using excessive force. It is well-known that UNZA students regularly resort to rioting to air their grievances and police should, by now, know how to deal with riotous students.
It’s a shame that government has chosen to ignore complaints of police brutality and intimidation and have instead sided with officers whose use of excessive force when dealing with students continues to happen far too often to justify.
MEE youth shall always advocate for impartial treatment of all youth, whether in institutions of higher learning, on the streets, in markets and in any other place where they are found.
The youth are the future leaders, the torch bearers and custodians of peace, and must be given a chance to speak and be heard. A listening government is one that listens to good advice and acts upon it. A listening government does not give a deaf ear to cries of the people.
A young person should never have to die while trying to acquire education as this defeats the whole purpose of going to school.
Lastly, MEE youth would like to urge Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja to come up with an action plan of how to disperse rioting students without causing death, disability or any other harm.
Listen to the youth! Stop police brutality! Stop police intimidation!
Mary Mulenga – Head Of Department
For and On Behalf Of The Department For Youth Development
MOVEMENT FOR ECONOMIC EMANCIPATION