Police command evicts 365 in Lusaka West

The Police command has been condemned for recently mobilising 15 vehicles for a squad that demolished houses accommodating 365 family members from a piece of land in Lusaka West which senior officers have shared among themselves.

Chikondi Foundation president Bishop Mambo said the Police continued involvement in illegalities like corruption and land wrangles has created an unfortunate situation for Zambia as a democratic state.

The people being evicted from Plot No.10144 have lived on it for more than 20 years and now the land was being demarcated to be shared among senior police officers.

The officers being allocated the land, he said, were as human as the people whose houses were being demolished.

Bishop Mambo said state security should be on hand to protect and safeguard the rights and freedoms of the people especially the less privileged and vulnerable who have been forced into poverty due to joblessness and unfavourable economic conditions.

“The Police managed to mobilise about 15 vehicles to demolish houses for poor families from a piece of land they have for over 20 years.  These families live, work and earn their livelihood there but the people to protect them attacked them in the middle of the night and pulled down their houses,” he said.

Bishop Mambo said the involvement of high ranking Police officers in the demolition of houses and displacement of about 33 families was quite unfortunate but that one did not have to be a lawyer to see issues of corruption within the ranks, which proved that the weak have become victims of the powerful.

He said all well meaning Zambian should be worried about the impression the PF government is portraying to the international community on the increased human rights abuse, says

“The Zambia Army and the Police Service are one sided, siding with those holding the instruments of power instead of exercising their authority as institutions that safeguard and protect the people,” Bishop Mambo said.

The clergyman complained that the US report on Human Rights in Zambia had exposed situations that needed immediate address as they directly affected the wellbeing of the citizens’ safety and justice in the country.

He said the violation of human rights within the Police Service was evident after the victimisation and intimidation of a junior officer who was a victim of the demolition, but was charged for complaining about it.

One of the residents, John Ngulube condemned the police service action against one Junior Officer, Jackson Chama who was also one of the victims over his statements concerning the land in question that he was merely expressing his constitutional right as a Zambian citizen.

Mr Ngulube said the constitution protects the people against abuse and unfair treatment, and that before being a policeman, the officer was a Zambian citizen who needed protection from any form of abuse including illegal displacement.

Mr Ngulube accused the Zambia Police under the command of high ranking officers for leading the demolition of houses with the selfish intention to share the land.

Meanwhile, Lusaka Police Commissioner Joyce Kasosa has disclosed that it was illegal for the police to carry out a demolition activity, but was only expected to offer security to the local authority during the knocking down of any structures.

Ms Kasosa said Police were only allowed to provide safety for the council officials who were supposed to be demolishing the structures.

According to information obtained by the Daily Nation, the police, in the absence of Lusaka City Council (LCC) officers, demolished properties on plot 10144, in Lusaka West near Westwood Police Station under the direct command of a named senior police officer.

The demolition team was however not accompanied by any officials from Ministry of Lands, LCC nor presided by a Court Order to confirm warrant of the demolition.