By Sean Tembo PEP President
1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) we are shocked by revelations that former President Edgar Lungu’s Barberman Mr. Shabby Chilekwa was tortured by the Zambia Police whilst he was in their custody. We are further alarmed by the statement from Zambia Police Service Spokesperson Mr. Rae Hamoonga that the Police will not comment on the torture of Mr. Shabby Chilekwa and that they will leave it to the Human Rights Commission to issue a comment. Additionally, we are perplexed with the impunity exhibited by the Zambia Police in refusing to adhere to a High Court order issued by Judge Bowa for Mr. Shabby Chilekwa to be presented before Court yesterday at 16hrs, and instead decided to transport him to Kaoma, ostensibly in order to hide the clear signs of torture which are said to be visible on his body.
2. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to challenge President Hakainde Hichilema to honestly tell the nation whether it is his Government’s policy to re-introduce torture of suspects who are in Police custody. If President Hichilema tells us that his Government has not adopted a policy of torturing suspects who are in custody, then we demand that all the Police and Intelligence Officers who were involved in the torture of Mr. Shabby Chilekwa be interdicted from duty and prosecuted accordingly.
3. If it is President Hakainde Hichilema’s position that his Government has decided to re-introduce the torture of suspects who are in custody, just like they recently introduced a shoot-to-kill policy for suspects, then the President needs to inform the nation which other adverse policies his Government intends to re-introduce. Does he also intend to re-introduce the assassination of political opponents and critics? Does President Hichilema also intend to re-introduce mysterious disappearances of citizens who challenge him? It is important for the President to inform us of all the adverse security protocols which he intends to introduce so that we can prepare ourselves accordingly.
4. As Patriots for Economic Progress we also bemoan the loud silence exhibited by foreign missions to Zambia including the American Embassy, British High Commission, European Delegation etcetera, in the face of these blatant human rights violations. Our regret further extends to once renowned defenders of human rights in Zambia such as Laura Miti, Pilato, Pamela Chisanga, Linda Kasonde etcetera who are now sheepishly quiet in the face of gross human rights violations by President Hakainde Hichilema and his new dawn administration.
5. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we however wish to commend the Catholic Church in general and Archbishop Alick Banda in particular for having the fortitude of mind to raise a concern about gross human rights violations by President Hichilema’s administration, especially at a time when the majority of religious and traditional leaders are tripping all over themselves in showering Hakainde Hichilema with unwarranted praises in an effort to seek personal favors from him.
6. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to put it on record and assure the people of this great nation that, as a political party, we shall always stand firm and challenge the Government of the day on any abuse of authority or violations of human rights, regardless of whether we like the victims or not. This we shall do at any expense whatsoever, even if we ourselves become targets of President Hakainde Hichilema’s harassment and persecution. That is because the democratic virtues of this Republic far outweigh any individual considerations, and therefore no expense should be spared in protecting these democratic virtues.
Thank You and May God Bless the Good Citizens of the Republic of Zambia and Our Ailing Nation.