As the nation reels from a series of high-profile police brutality incidents of citizens due to their social and political opinions, many citizens have wondered why there is such a huge disparity in the treatment of different groups of Zambian citizens.
I’m not a trained police officer, but a concerned Zambian who doesn’t have to go to Lilayi police college to know the duties of police officers and have basic knowledge of the Zambian constitution and the law of the land
.From my findings, we are truly back to old days of one party state under UNIP, when our compounds use to be surrounded by vigilante political cadres,clad in police uniforms whose job was to beat up unarmed citizens who expressed their displeasure on the unfair treatment by the UNIP government.
But while it’s true that institutions that could have gathered the data of police brutality in Zambia and engage the state to stop the illegality have gone to bed with the offenders, as a concerned citizen, I describe the silence of human rights commission in Zambia and other stakeholders, as embarrassing and incompetence. There exists a wealth of academic research information, official government and media investigation data, and court rulings on the topic of police brutality and this could have guided the relevant authorities with investigations,but nothing has been done to arrest this abuse of human rights which has become the order of the day in this country..
A lot of video clips, of police brutality are all over the media.However, these are not exhaustive findings about human rights abuses in Zambia and are not conclusive evidence on the work of all police officers. these are merely an eye opener of the readily available information at present that could have been utilized by the relevant authorities to end these barbaric acts.
From the investigations I have carried out, I have come across evidence of intentional bias by the police in executing their daily duties. An offence committed by one group of Zambians ( PF cadres), is treated differently to the same offence committed by another group of Zambians ( UPND cadres) by the same police force. This is really concerning for the future of this nation because all citizens are not treated the same and some citizens are no longer protected by the police.
The police are indirectly telling us that for one to receive protection from them, one should be either a PF government praise choir master or a member of the PF praise team but is that democracy?
The bias exhibited by the police in executing their duties by brutalizing and shooting of unarmed citizens in some cases is a big threat to our nation peace,unity and democracy.
The probability that you would be safe and not be brutalized as a Zambian when you hold a different social and political opinion is 2%. This effectively means that if you share a different opinion in this country, your chances of being protected by the police are 2% of while the other 98% are chances that you and I will be the victims of police brutality.
The use of lethal force by Zambian police service in 2016 found had no correlation to the level of violent crimes in the entire country. The police are brutalizing innocent citizens because their implicit aimed is to suppress citizens with a different political persuasion. It is also true that the bulk of the victims of this Police Violence have not committed any offence but are victims of an oppressive regime that is using the police force to carry out its dirty work. The police are carrying out the will of their master, the PF government.
The truth is that, all real criminal offenders are roaming the streets.They can riot and protest at anytime without being shot,detained or teargassed by the same police who shoot,detain and teargas citizens who stand in solidarity with their leaders in a peaceful manner.
To the Zambian police service, my brothers and sisters in uniform, especially you the overzealous ones. The war you have declared against your fellow brothers and sisters whenever you put on your uniforms is not in good faith and doesn’t reflect the oath that you took at Lilayi police training college to serve and protect your fellow Zambians. Therefore, I ask you to reflect on your treatment of a certain group of citizens because whether you like it or not you will not be the exception to the rule of this massive poverty that has engulfed our nation today.
Always remember that the battles these citizens you are brutalizing are fighting today, will surely benefit you at some point when the mission is accomplished so think twice before you act ladies and gentlemen in police uniform.