President Edgar Lungu’s effort to improve Zambia’s international standing will be in vain unless he checks the anti-democratic activities being exhibited by some of his appointees like Lusaka Province Commissioner, Charity Katanga, says FODEP.
FODEP director Macdonald Chipenzi says ‘it is well known that Commissioner Katanga left behind her a trail of “democratic destruction” during her reign in Lusaka, Livingstone and more recently Kasama where citizens’ rights to assembly and expression were trampled upon under the guise of national security and abating “anarchy”.’
he said the nation may also recall that during Katanga’s reign in Lusaka in 2012, opposition rallies and demonstrations were always disrupted by police or indeed never granted at all and organizers brutalized. In 2013 while in Livingstone, Commissioner Katanga arrested the entire opposition campaign team on pretext that they murdered a cadre from the ruling party which was not true.
‘Commissioner Katanga could have contributed to the poor human rights record and low international standing Zambia recorded during late President Michael Sata’s three year reign which President Lungu wants to improve.
‘Unless, President Lungu censures Commissioner Katanga and tutors her on how to run a police unit in a democratic country, his effort to promote good governance and “up a bit” Zambia’s international standing will amount to nothing regardless of the number of international trips he is going to make.
‘In this regard, the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) does not understand police’s interest in MMD’s internal affairs for them to start issuing threats of arrest against innocent citizens like Muhabi Lungu and his group and wish to remind Commissioner Katanga that her actions are a threat to the democratic process,’ Chipenzi said.
Chiepnzi asks: ‘Why pursue Muhabi Lungu when he and his group were just exercising their rights to expression and assembly by wanting to hold a press briefing and that no violence was recorded at the meeting venue? Why didn’t police provide security to the Muhabi camp if they sensed danger than disrupting their meeting or indeed cancel their notice of notification to police of the said meeting? Are indoor meetings or indeed press briefings requiring police notifications now?
FODEP appealed to the appointing authority to remind Commissioner Katanga that Zambia is a democratic country and that her anti-democratic traits will not be entertained. Further, the appointing authority should explain to her that divergent views are the order of the day in a democratic dispensation and police’s role is to provide security for the effective participation of all citizens regardless of their political, religious and social orientation.