Scenes emerging out of opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema’s New Kasama residence are not only disturbing but shameful.
In case you missed it, heavily armed police officers raided Hichilema’s residence and fired teargas after having switched off power to the house.
Police had to bring down the gate and gained forcible entry to the house. Granted, police may have a strong case to arrest Hichilema, but why they had to do it under the cover of darkness is mind boggling.
Hichilema is a citizen of this country with a well known aboard and freely moves around doing his business. It could appear police, after bungling the security detail of President Edgar Lungu in Mongu were desperate to appease the powers that be, but to have had to bring down the gate and fire teargas in a house where there are women and children is barbaric.
Should the police not be ashamed of themselves that they could not handle a routine security detail? Or maybe the motive was to embarrass the Head of State by exposing him to ridicule as his motorcade drove side by side with Hichlema’s motorcade?
Did not the police do their security homework before rolling out the Presidential motorcade? Why the hell did Mongu need all those 600 police officers and a number of unaccounted for zombies (Shushus) if all they could do was just gather up in taverns and just crowd the place with their soiled butts?
Now they wake up all too busy searching for a single citizen whom they can arrest during the day through summoning him via normal channels.
They should be mindful that the international community is watching and President Lungu should not let the incompetence of some his advisors and officials he appointed dent his image.
What Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja is still doing at the helm of the Zambia police after the Mongu incident is something only his backers know?
That smoke billowing from Hichilema’s residence under the cover of dark makes for very sad reading but maybe this could still be a further ploy by the police to embarrass the state, but if not, then whoever ordered the raid in the night had better think again.
After all, they have been repeatedly told how easily Hichilema thrives on such attention? That act at Hichilema’s house is not only unconstitutional but shameful and barbaric too.
We should by now drop Stone Age tactics of installing public order. Surely we can do better than this Gestapo stunt pulled by the police; Zambia has come a long way to go.
Statements by senior ruling party officials as Mumbi Phiri that they will tame Hichilema like rats are very unfortunate in a young democracy such as ours. Further threats by home affairs minister Stephen Kamyongo that Hichilema should be charge with treason are inflammatory.
The low level to which presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda sunk calling Hichilema “foolish” and suggesting bloodshed in Mongu does not befit his demeanor.
Clearly, the PF leadership have crossed the standard red-line. There is nothing new in the Mongu presidential motorcade. These tactics were introduced to Zambian politics by the same PF when in opposition and now its coming to haunt them.
It’s therefore important that the police command reconsiders its unnecessary and provocative style of doing things and follow the suitable procedure in getting Hichilema if there is any reason to do so. Otherwise, the entire episode is a sham that brings the country into ridicule.