A team from the Commonwealth Secretariat has finally arrived in Zambia to have an on the spot check of the deterioting human rights record in Zambia.
The team came to Zambia after opposition parties petitioned the international body over Zambia’s falling human rights record since the PF government took over power last year.
The team will meet opposition leaders, civil society organisations and government officials over increased violation of civil and political rights and freedoms, abuse of state institutions such as the media, the police and the judiciary against the opposition.
There has been systematic state sponsored violence and curtailing of people’s freedoms since PF took over power in September 2011.
So far, opposition parties have not been allowed to freely hold meetings and conduct rallies without police approval, which in most cases have been denied.Currently, leaders of the leading opposition parties, Dr. Nevers Mumba of the MMD and Mr. Hakainde Hichilema of UPND are facing a barrage of trumped up court cases as part of suppressing their political participation.
A number of opposition political leaders are currently facing various charges over allegations of holding illegal assemblies, while PF leaders and officials freely conduct their meetings without seeking police permit.
Last month, police allowed the UPND to hold their meeting in Kabwata, but the ruling party sent its thugs to the venue who beat up people including an American diplomat and some media personnel.
After being reported to the Commonwealth, president Michael Sata ordered all the banks in the country and government institutions to illegally furnish him private account details of one of the leading opposition leaders, Hakainde Hichilema, which he later distributed to media houses and members of the general public.
Mr. Sata later he would present the same dossier to the Commonwealth so that the UPND leader can tell them where he stole his wealthy, even when the PF government has not charged Mr. Hichilema with any theft or corruption.
The PF has mounted a smear media campaign against the opposition, usually by blowing up cases of violence involving cadres while covering up atrocities by PF cadres in order to mislead the international community that the opposition was violent.