In a startling revelation, renowned Zambian civil and human rights activist, Brebner Changala, has made damning allegations against President Hakainde Hichilema, accusing him of deceiving the Zambian people to secure victory in the 2021 election. Changala argues that instead of relying on the character of individuals, Zambians should focus on strengthening institutions through better laws to serve the nation’s interests.
“Mr. Hichilema knelt down and begged for a vote from Zambians, telling them he would be a better leader, but it was all lies looking at what is happening,” expressed Changala, highlighting his disappointment in the President’s actions since assuming office. This revelation comes as a surprise, considering Changala’s prior support for Mr. Hichilema during the election campaign.
Furthermore, Changala describes President Hichilema as a “loose cannon” who displays a propensity to suppress any form of criticism. He draws attention to the blame game played during the previous administration, where opposition leaders, including Hichilema, were often arrested, with President Edgar Lungu taking responsibility. Changala cautions that under President Hichilema’s leadership, the responsibility lies squarely on the President himself if individuals are wrongfully detained or abducted.
Emmanuel Mwamba, former Ambassador to the African Union (AU) and Ethiopia, joined the program and shared his own harrowing experience of arrest and brutalization by plainclothes individuals claiming to be police officers. Mwamba emphasized that his personal ordeal pales in comparison to the extensive catalogue of human rights abuses and arbitrary arrests documented in a recent report by the Department of State in Washington, covering the period from 2022 to the present under President Hichilema’s rule.
Mwamba further expressed frustration that accusations of forgery against him remain unsubstantiated, preventing his case from being brought to court. He vehemently denies the allegations, asserting that they were fabricated to tarnish his reputation as a result of his dissenting views on national issues.
Both Mwamba and Changala highlight the similar treatment experienced by other politically inclined individuals who have been subjected to harassment and arbitrary arrests, despite President Hichilema’s campaign promise to end such practices.
The program, hosted by Pastor Moses Chiluba, is available for viewing on YouTube and Camnet TV channel, providing a platform for the public to gain further insights into the discussion.
Mwamba challenges fellow civil society members to follow Changala’s lead and speak out against injustices, while Changala questions the apparent silence of the Human Rights Commission under President Hichilema, contrasting its vocal stance during President Lungu’s tenure.
Expressing his dismay, Mwamba recounts an incident where Commissioner Laura Miti openly mocked and laughed at him following his brutal arrest, despite the authenticity of his injuries confirmed by a government medical doctor.
Furthermore, Mwamba expresses surprise at the endorsement of “minimum force” against him by both the Inspector General of Police and the Minister of Home Affairs, Jack Mwiimbu. He points out that the Law Association of Zambia has deemed the use of minimum force unconstitutional and illegal in the country.
In response to the brutality he endured, Mwamba, through his legal representatives, Makebi Zulu and Corp, has filed complaints with the Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, the United Nations Human Rights Agency, and the Zambia Police Complaints Board, seeking both damages and an apology for the physical and public humiliation he endured.
These revelations by prominent figures raise important questions about the state of human rights and the rule of law in Zambia. As the allegations continue to unfold, it is essential to closely monitor the actions taken by the relevant authorities and the response from civil society organizations to ensure transparency, accountability, and justice for all individuals affected.