Eroding the rule of law

Slowly but surely the rule of law and respect of human rights are becoming highly compromised by partisan politics. The Police are now helpless in the face of criminal conduct by ruling party cadres.

Police at Chelstone Police are holding without any charge Humphrey Bwalya  a suspected UPND cadre who was assaulted  by suspected PF cadres and handed over to Chelstone Police on suspicion of complicity in the Livingstone violence.

It is not clear how PF cadres in Lusaka would know a UPND cadre involved in the Livingstone fracas- unless they were there also.

However the bone of contention is that Police arrested Bwalya and have since detained him without any medical attention in spite of the assault he was subjected to as evidenced by the blood soaked clothes he was wearing.

The same thing happened at the Livingstone Central Police Station last week when Western Province Minister Obvious Mwaliteta, a former Police Officer in the Anti Robbery squad descended on Mazabuka MP Garry Nkhombo who he assaulted severely in full view of the Police to the extent that the MP is now hospitalized.

The Police made no effort to stop the assault nor to charge Mwaliteta either for disruptive conduct or indeed assault.

When the matter was raised in court the presiding Magistrate ordered that Nkombo should be taken for medical attention and a medical report should be furnished to the court. The Police ignored the order resulting in the subsequent locking up of a senior officer for disobeying court orders.

This is  an unparalleled display of impunity and dereliction of duty which confirms the fact that the Police are not acting professionally and perhaps confirms concerns that the Police Force has been seriously infiltrated by party cadres.

Whatever the case the prognosis is not very good.

Memories are still fresh of the travails suffered by MMD President Nevers Mumba who was at first arrested and incarcerated in jail for “conduct”, simply because he alleged that the Patriotic Front was funding rebellion in his party.

Earlier he had been arrested on the Highway and was charged with illegal assembly and for good measure overspeeding. Thankfully a nolle Prosequi has been entered.

That is not  all. At the weekend PF cadres invaded and took over a car wash belonging to former MMD MP Faustine Sinyangwe.

The cadres were so brazen that they went on Television to claim their conquest and taunt Ms. Sinyangwe over the property which they vowed never to return. The Police are aware of this development and have taken no steps to stop the illegality.

When approached they have suggested an “amicable” settlement as they would not want to enforce the law. In other words the Police are afraid to assist Mrs. Sinyangwe to get back what legally belongs to her because the Party has taken it over.

If members of the public can not turn to the Police for protection, because the law enforcement institution is compromised to the extent of sitting by as offences are committed, where is the nation heading to?

These and many acts of illegality including the appointment of individuals who lack integrity into sensitive Government positions open Government to  serious accusations of condoning corruption, illegality and abuse of the rule of law.

One thought on “Eroding the rule of law

  1. I am quite baffled by the lack of strategy and tactics on the part of Zambia’s main opposition parties, viz: the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and United Party for National Development (UPND), to effectively engage with the emerging totalitarianism and tyranny of the Patriotic Front (PF) led government. Notwithstanding the compromised state institutions and structures such as the judiciary, the police and other security organs, these two parties were elected by Zambians to represent their views and will in Parliament. This means that they still have recourse to legal means of challenging the rising tide of misrule such as instituting moves to impeach President Michael Sata and his cronies. I think running to the Commonwealth just does not cut it. Opposition leaders have to stand up and be counted and meet the PF’s tyranny head-on. I say this because I was part of the group of young men from the University of Zambia (UNZA) who rose up to topple the one-party state in 1990. We had no guns, no cadres, were extremely young but militant; no clout in society, but were buoyed up by the firm belief that Zambians wanted their freedom. So we challenged Kenneth Kaunda and his United National Independence Party (UNIP) and we paved the way for the MMD. Even when we were detained we continued to refuse to break because we knew that we were on the right side of history and that Zambia was going to be free sooner rather than later. And indeed, we helped to usher in multi-party democracy and pluralism in 1991 which is now being sullied by Michael Sata and his PF minions. Mr. Hakainde Hichilema and Pastor Nevers Mumba, you must take a stand and be counted! If we could go to prison for this freedom that is now being eroded by Sata and the PF as youngsters, why should you be intimidated when you are national leaders?

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