STATE HOUSE is silent on the rising incidences of torture and brutality by the police! Why? Is it because it is complicit?
Recently, the US State Department released a detailed report dubbed ‘USA 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Zambia’ which brought to light a number of human rights abuses committed by Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s administration.
The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) also condemned the increased incidents of police brutality against members of the opposition and cited the recent arrests of PF presidential hopeful Mr Emmanuel Mwamba, PF member and blogger Mr Rizwan Patel as well as Mr Given Phiri, a co- accused person with former State House Special Assistant for Politics, Dr Christopher Zumani Zimba as among the incidents where police brutality was in evidence.
LAZ further condemned the Inspector General of Police, Graphael Musamba, over his stance on police brutality, stating that there is no law which gives the police service power to brutalise citizens in the name of ‘minimum force’ during arrests. It also stated that it was not the function of the police to control the ‘toning down of citizens’, who have the right to freely express their views in line with their constitutionally protected freedoms. Earlier, Mr Musamba was reported as ‘urging the opposition to tone down and cooperate with the officers or else the police will use minimum force’.
Amidst all these problems between the police and the public in general, State House has remained conveniently silent about what is going on. But we are not surprised because we have stated over and again that the gestapo style of policing that is currently taking place is under the orders and supervision of Mr Hichilema’s most trusted agent, Mr Fanwell Siandenge, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of State House, who is working with a hit squad of well-known UPND cadres drafted into the State House security system.
It is also well known that in fact, Mr Siandenge is the de facto Inspector General of Police and all key decisions are taken by him while Mr Musamba remains a powerless Inspector General of Police. We say this with utmost sincerity and sympathy for Mr Musamba because no human being should be forced into such a situation. But we understand because that is Mr Hichilema’s style of leadership, in which he keeps some people merely to save face or for convenience while he continues to pursue increased political clout.
Furthermore, the recent justifications and empty denials on this matter from Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Jack Mwiimbu, justice minister Mr Mulambo Haimbe and acting
information minister Mr Makozo Chikote, only confirms one thing, the gross human rights violations by police are all part of the grand scheme to silence dissent hence the silence from Mr Hichilema, who should ideally be the one to address such very serious concerns.
The partisan policing and torture the country is currently witnessing is fully sanctioned by the top UPND government leadership.
It is now clear that those who don’t agree with Mr Hichilema or choose to align themselves with the opposition will be dealt with viciously. And the chilling incidents of brutality and torture by the police are calculated to intimidate the masses. This is meant to set the stage upon which the 2026 presidential and general elections will be held – unlawful use of force by police – but it won’t work because the police are not the law unto themselves.
We also want to remind Mr Hichilema and his hit squad in the police that they are not big enough to stop the revolution that is being waged against poverty, corruption and imperialist puppet leadership. The struggle for justice, equity and peace will go on and the hope for a better socialist Zambia will not die. The Zambian people are resolved and cannot be cheated anymore.
To the international community, in particular, the European Union (EU), who have chosen to pay a blind eye to these violations, we say, pretending that all is well in Zambia today is being complicit in the crimes committed. It is barbaric, inhuman and disrespectful to the Zambian people to endorse this regime, given the trend of brutality and torture against the innocent citizens we are seeing today.
The rapidly shrinking political space and decline in freedoms of expression, movement and association under Mr Hichilema’s leadership is a travesty and adds to the increasing crackdown on peaceful dissent in the country. This is not the Zambia we all want and definitely, this is not how peaceful nations are built. Mr Hichilema’s heavy handed approach must be stopped forthwith.
We demand that investigations into these gross violations be opened and the perpetrators together with their superiors issuing orders be brought to justice.
President of the Socialist Party