No court martial for killers

The murder of the two Kampasa villagers in Lusaka must be fully investigated and those responsible at all levels must be brought to book.

Those to be investigated start from the person who pulled the trigger, the person who allowed officers to confront un-armed villagers with live ammunition, the person who gave the order t for the villagers to be surrounded at 05Hrs, the person who demarcated the land to eliminate the villagers, the person who purchased it in order to deprive the villagers and finally the original owner who passed on the Title to the new claimants.

There is absolutely no excuse for armed and trained military person to confront villagers with live ammunition. There is absolutely none. That is why the entire chain of command must stand to be discipline in the most exemplary manner for all Zambians to know that this Government does not believe in the abuse of statecraft to intimidate and politically emasculate the people.

Every Zambian has a right to property and indeed a right to own land. If as the case appears to have been in Kampasa, some of the land owners were aggrieved by squatters, a court order would have been in order, which order would have been enforced by the appropriate arm of Government, namely the civil Police.

Sadly though we have seen the civil Police taking the law in their hand in Lusaka West where, without a court order they moved to demolish houses because they wanted the land for themselves.

These are abuses of statecraft which must be condemned in the most robust manner possible.

It is bad enough to lose lives in any skirmish but intolerable that lives should be lost at the hands of  armed officers whose duties is to protect the lives and property of the Zambian people.

That is why we would like to see all those involved in this exercise exposed and disciplined publicly as a deterrent to any future abuses of lethal force.

What happened in Kampasa is a criminal offence. Zambia is not at war, neither was any insurrection declared to justify the use of arms to dispossess Zambians who felt rightly or wrongly entitled to the land. Therefore we do not expect this matter to be treated secretly through a court martial but through our civil courts where the trial will be in the open and all those involved called upon to testify.

This is one case where we hope the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) can offer proborno services to the people of Kampasa to help them seek redress while enforcing their claim to the land.

Unless such assistance is offered we see the people losing out, the privileged few who have power and resources.

It will be unforgivable that in this modern day and age Zambians should be trampled over by the privileged that have an opportunity to use their positions and power o manipulate systems to their advantage.

It is particularly reprehensible the Ministry of Lands has taken an insular approach to land alienation to the disadvantage of the poor and uneducated that are not familiar with the processes of land allocation.

We have said before and would want to repeat that legality is not the same thing as legitimacy. It was legal to enforce apartheid in South Africa and indeed people were hanged and imprisoned for apartheid law, but this did not make the system of racial separation legitimate.

That is why we would hope that the Commissioner of Lands will learn from the loss of life in Kampasa to study seriously issues of land alienation which should not done in isolation from the prevailing circumstances on the ground.

Very often land is surveyed, demarcated and apportioned while settlers live in oblivion un-aware that their land has been assigned to other user’s hence understandable fracas when the new owners enter to claim the property.

This trauma could be avoided if surveyors, first and foremost took time to advise land occupants of the survey purpose then give a chance to those in situ to make the first claim before extending it to other people  outside the area. Unless this is done suspicions real or otherwise will continue to linger that the powerful used their influence to muscle out the ordinary hapless people.

That is why it is important that all the facts concerning the Kampasa land are brought to fore and those responsible for the impasse are dealt with firmly.