UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says the killing by police of demonstrators in Mazabuka shows how the government does not value human life.
In a statement, Hichilema expressed displeasure on what he called the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) Government’s Police brutality.
Hichilema said, ‘On 14 February, 2011, I wrote to President Banda with regard to the Barotseland Agreement related killings in Mongu arising from the use of live bullets by the Police.’
In that letter Hichilema told president Banda that: “We wish to condemn the use of live ammunition on demonstrators as demonstrations are an integral part of a democratic society. The Police should be instructed to exercise restraint when dealing with demonstrators in future.”
But Hhichilema says he is surprised that the police have continued using live bullets on citizens and that a few days ago killed four citizens in Mazabuka.
“Although President Banda did not address this particular item in his 22 February 2011 response to my letter, I understand that he subsequently issued a statement to the effect that the Police will not use live ammunition on demonstrators.
‘To our surprise, barely a few weeks after the Mongu killings, the Police have shot and killed in cold blood two citizens in Mazabuka. Worse still, these killings arose from the Police’s unacceptable behaviour earlier where they stormed and fired teargas on innocent soccer fans resulting in a stampede which caused the death of two other people,’ said Hhichilema.
He said that from these and many other incidences which Zambians are well aware of, it is now clear that the MMD Government has lost respect for human rights and life.
He said the unprofessional conduct of the trigger happy Police is a reflection of the inability by the Ministry of Home Affairs to supervise one of its units.
He further said this is confirmation of the breakdown of law and order in our country.
‘The question which requires an answer is how will the MMD Government restore confidence that it is capable of protecting citizens when it is the Police which is killing people without restraint,’ He said.