Opposition Socialist Party (SP) President Fred M’membe has disclosed that Economic Equity Party (EEP) President Chilufya Tayali was badly beaten by the police.
Speaking to Journalists immediately after visiting Mr Tayali, Dr M’membe described the arrest of Mr Tayali and the brutality he has been subjected to as barbaric, adding that the same people who are mistreating Tayali today used to complain about police brutality when they were in opposition.
“The intention was to brutally beat him up. That is barbarism, this is not the way to police. The same people who are mistreating Tayali today were complaining about these things when they were in opposition,” he said.
“They wanted to be treated differently, they wanted to report themselves to the police instead of being picked at night. Instead of their homes being broken into. What was bad for them is also bad for anybody else. If Mr Tayali has committed an offence, arrest him properly.”
Dr M’membe said the offence which Mr Tayali is being detained for all night and all day is available.
“They have not formally charged him. He is not granted police bond, he has not been taken to the hospital, he needs to see the doctor definitely,” he said.
“I think we can be more humane with each other. Law enforcement was made for human beings. It was not meant for dogs, for animals. These police stations and police cells were meant for humans. No matter what offence a human being has committed, he’s still a human being and deserves to be treated as a human being.”
Meanwhile, the SP leader said Mr Tayali can be a little prickle but that does not take away his freedom and rights.
“If he crosses the line, there are laws for this country. There are laws of defamation, and other laws,” he said as he strongly opposed the beating of those in police custody.
Dr M’membe has also castigated the arrest of journalists who went to cover Mr Tayali’s arrest.
“The arrest of a prominent person like Tayali cannot be a private matter,” he said.
Dr M’membe also disclosed that Muvi TV journalist Innocent Phiri and the camera person Obvious Kapunda have been charged with obstruction of the police for filming the arrest of EEP leader Chilufya Tayali.
Dr M’membe wondered why the same people who when in opposition wanted the media coverage on such matters are now uncomfortable with others being covered in the media when being arrested.
The opposition leader said the police didn’t want the two media practitioners to cover the breaking in to Mr Tayali’s house.
“The journalists have been charged with obstruction of the police. They didn’t want comrade Innocent Phiri to cover their breaking into Tayali’s house and arresting Tayali. They wanted them out. But the same people who are sending them, when they used to arrest them, they wanted the media to cover,” he said.
“They wanted the media to tell people where they are, what is happening to them. They called for the media. Today the same people who used to call for the media don’t want the media to cover their friends when they are being arrested. What type of a society are we creating? Is this the democracy they promised our people? Is this the justice they promised our people? Is this the fairness they promised our people? Is this the media freedom they promised our people?”
Dr M’membe lamented that what is obtaining on the ground now is miles away from democracy. He said democracy requires a lot of tolerance and promotion of divergent views.
“Views clash, and what is important about democracy is to know how to manage disagreements, to know how to manage disputes. What we are seeing are kilometers or miles away from democracy. This is not the Zambia they promised our people,” he said.