Solomon Jere should resign, demand NGOs

A consortium of Civil Society Organizations in Zambia has demanded for the immediate resignation of Deputy Inspector General of Police Solomon Jere for violating the constitution and for failing to respect freedoms and human rights.

In a joint statement yesterday, Young African Leaders president Andrew Ntewewe said that the Civil Society Organisations had no option but to call for the immediate resignation of Dr. Jere in order to restore confidence in the police service.

“We have no option but to call on Dr. Solomon Jere’s immediate resignation as Deputy Inspector General of Police in order to restore public confidence in the law enforcement body. We also appeal to all political party leaders to counsel their party cadres to refrain from engaging themselves in acts of violence,” said Mr. Ntewewe.

He said that as Civil Society organisations involved in the promotion of good democratic governance through peaceful elections, they were deeply saddened to note that the election in Livingstone and Mpongwe were being held at the expense of loss of life.

Mr. Ntewewe said that the political violence in both Livingstone and Mpongwe has resulted into a serious breach of electoral code of conduct breach when police could have prevailed and maintained peace and unity.

He said that it was sad that police had continued to be reactive in the face of electoral violence rather than being proactive.

“The police have failed to really exhibit professional conduct during the elections. In most cases they themselves act as agents of electoral violence as opposed to peacekeepers during such time.  To hide their inefficiencies, the Police have in the past blamed political parties and banned political party rallies and gatherings,” they noted.

Mr. Ntewewe also questioned the deployment of over 300 police officers in Livingstone when they had failed to prevent death and violence in the area.

“How did the late PF District Chairperson for Monze and his friends find themselves near the UPND camp and what was the motive behind their going to the UPND camp? Why didn’t the Police men buffer the Zone between the two political party camps so as not to allow stray cadres into each other’s   camps taking into account that police are aware of the explosive political intolerance among political parties?” asked Mr. Ntewewe.

The Civil Society consortium also observed that there had been a tendency by police to act high handedly whenever dealing with opposition political parties while those in power tend to get away with anything.

“Further, the police have been using emotions and political directives to carry out their investigations rather than applying their professional acumen.  As the police go on with their investigations, we ask them to exercise the greatest respect for human rights and resist the temptation of turning the Police Service into a unit similar to the Gestapo that was under the NAZI in Germany. The Gestapo methods cannot work in a country like Zambia and those in charge of the Police must go back to their history books and learn the consequences of the same methods Hitler employed,” he said.

Mr. Ntewewe said that it was sad that police had rendered itself irrelevant in the eyes of other stakeholders as they now feel that the institution was applying double standards and selective justice.