In the photo below, HH at the funeral house of Grayzer Matapa, the UPND official who was murdered by PF. Matapa becomes the first to be killed on the list of opposition leaders and critical journalists that are targeted for murdering by PF. President Edgar Lungu approved a project to kill opposition leaders and critical journalists two weeks ago. Those to be eliminated are HH, and others in UPND and journalists suspected of working for the Zambian Watchdog.
Below is the editorial in the Post on the murder of Matapa:
Grayzer Matapa, who was killed in Mutendere East on Sunday, was a political man. Grayzer’s brother, Douglas Matapa, says his brother used to be in MMD, where he headed the security youth wing of the party. But in January, he defected to the UPND, where he was a party mobiliser. Douglas says when the Patriotic Front won the January election, its supporters descended on Grayzer’s shops and bars. “They also destroyed his vehicles and a lot of merchandise. He reported to the police but nothing was done,” said Douglas. There is a good reason for Grayzer’s family and friends to suspect that his assailants came from the Patriotic Front. This is not a wild suspicion, given the way they were living with each other politically. It cannot be denied that Grayzer lived under serious political threats from Patriotic Front cadres. Before his death, Grayzer had reported to police several times, complaining that his life and property were being threatened by PF cadres. In a video obtained from Muvi TV, Grayzer’s widow, Memory Mwanza, who was in the shop during the attack confirmed that it was PF supporters who destroyed the property. And on February 5, 2015, Grayzer appeared on Muvi TV, complaining that his life was being threatened. He said that PF supporters had continued to torment his family by destroying his property and despite his many reports to the police, they were not taking any action. “The police are not doing anything. They seem to be working with PF. They are forgetting that we are all Zambians. They are leaving me with no choice; maybe I should just defend myself before they kill me. But when I defend myself, let them not come and say I have taken the law into my own hands. Instead of them continuously harassing my family and destroying my property, let them come after me. Leave my children and do not destroy the little I have built to try and keep my children. Let them just kill me instead,” pleaded Grayzer on Muvi TV. And indeed, they have killed him, he is no more. If some people have a violent attitude or disposition towards another and that person is found harmed or killed in a manner that can be said to be a product of violence, the first suspects will be those people – those who had a violent attitude or disposition towards him. This can be said to be the case in Grayzer’s death. Grayzer had well-known violent political enemies from the Patriotic Front. And his death from violence cannot be said to not be political. Before even the investigations into the death of Grayzer are concluded, Edgar Lungu is telling the nation that there is nothing political about his death. “Let us learn as Zambians not to politicise everything. We lost a life in Mtendere, I am told, in circumstances which were not political at all. But now, the politicians want to politicise… Let us avoid politicising normal events, which occur in communities. Those guys were drinking. Death arose and I am not supporting violence at all. All I am saying is let us not politicise events which have no political connotations at all,” said Edgar in reference to Muvi TV, which broadcast a story that PF cadres were behind the murder of Grayzer. Edgar is speaking like the investigations in this matter have been concluded. If indeed the investigations are conclusive, what are the findings? Who killed Grayzer? Where is he? What charges is he facing? However, this is not the correct position because we are told the police are still investigating the matter. But if the police are still investigating the matter and Edgar is conclusively saying Grayzer’s killers have no political links, what will the police do or say if at the end of their investigations they find that actually, some Patriotic Front cadres had something to do with this killing? Will they be free to contradict their commander-in-chief? We doubt it. We doubt this because this is not the first time the police are dealing with crimes committed against Grayzer. Douglas, Grayzer’s brother, says after the January 20 election, Patriotic Front cadres destroyed Grayzer’s vehicles and a lot of merchandise. The matter was reported to the police but nothing was done. Why? The truth is there is a serious problem of policing when it comes to cadres and supporters of the ruling party in this country. And it doesn’t matter which party is in power; the behaviour of the police has been the same. When the MMD was in power, cadres from that party became a law unto themselves; they were untouchable and did as they pleased. They beat up people, destroyed their property with impunity. None of them went to jail. The only people who were arrested and prosecuted for violence were those from the opposition. Judge Ngoma was the only political cadre to be jailed for violence. He was arrested, prosecuted and jailed simply because he belonged to the opposition Patriotic Front, as it was then. But was Judge the only cadre who engaged in violence? No. There were more violent cadres in the MMD than in the Patriotic Front at that time. But none of them were jailed in the way Judge was. And what did the Patriotic Front do when it came to power? Judge was given a presidential pardon. The merits or demerits of this can be debated.
But one thing that is clear is that our political parties, especially those in government, are very protective of the violence of their own cadres and supporters. We seem to have a serious problem with the police when it comes to political violence. The police is not able to deal with the violence of the ruling party for fear of being in trouble with those in government, including the President. We shouldn’t forget that it is the President who single-handedly appoints and removes the Inspector General of Police and members of the top police command. If one is seen to be harassing cadres of the ruling party or is, as a result, perceived not to be supporting the ruling party, his or her chances of promotion or of remaining in their position are reduced. So, police officers are very quick to move on opposition violence while turning a blind eye on the transgressions of ruling party cadres and supporters. This is why even supporters of the Patriotic Front like Newton Ng’uni could be issuing orders to the Inspector General of Police from Chongwe, where they were involved in an illegal detention and prosecution of the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is not a secret that police officers in this country take orders from ruling party cadres for fear of being reported as being anti-ruling party to the appointing authorities. So, when it comes to policing the violence of ruling party cadres, the police are impotent. And until the current structure of reporting lines and system of making appointments and promotions in the police are changed, very little will change in the way political violence is policed in this country. We saw how even the internal Patriotic Front succession differences were handled by the police. Those who commanded the police hijacked it to their own advantage. It was the same for senior defence and security officers, who openly took the side of Edgar to protect their jobs. As long as the current system of appointments and disappointments continues in our law enforcement, defence and security agencies, we are going to continue having these problems that threaten the peace and stability of our country. These are matters that may need some serious consideration in the ongoing constitution review process.