By Given Mutinta
The barbarous and hellish conduct of the Zambia Police Service officers who cut short a peaceful demonstration by the United Party for National Development (UPND) youths is a clear indicator that Zambia has become a Criminal Police State.
We are now living in a fascist state in which absolute power is concentrated in President Michael Sata and his capitalist criminal clique abusing power to dominate people mentally and physically.
If the police brutality we saw last week is something to reflect on, then we stand justified to argue that Sata’s ascension into power is a curse to our people. His election hammered into place the final nail in the coffin of democracy.
It is hard to believe that the commissioner of police for Lusaka province, Charity Katanga conducted herself in a hellish way in dealing with peaceful protesters. Her criminal orders to the police officers to cold-bloodedly attack peaceful protesters are shocking and disgusting!
We must now wake up to the fact that this nation is finally a Criminal Police State.
If Katanga, a commissioner of police cannot correctly interpret the current Public Order Act then one wonders how police officers can, and how she rose to a position of a commissioner of police.
Through past court cases the Supreme Court is clear that the police have a duty to protect citizens when holding demonstrations. Besides, the police have no powers to license people’s demonstrations and rights.
It is inane to have a commissioner of police who has no clue of the rights of peaceful protesters. How do you expect professionalism from such a callow commissioner of police?
It is incontestable that a peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society. It is a very powerful campaign tool and many of the rights and freedoms we enjoy today with Katanga and Sata were gained because people were prepared to go out on the streets and protest.
Since the coming to force of the Human Rights Act people have a right to peaceful protest
It is horrendous to see how excessive power was used to disrupt a peaceful protest using archaic justifications.
If as argued by Katanga that there were people who wanted to disrupt the protest, why didn’t the police officers deal with the forecasted disruptors instead of people who had notified the police of their intentions to hold a peaceful demonstration?
It was wrong and criminal for the police officers to brutalise peaceful protesters. In all conscience, was it difficult for the police officers to corral a handful of peaceful protesters that they resorted to brutality?
One tends to wonder the kind of training our police officers get if they cannot herd a small number of peaceful protesters. What kind of training do they get at Lilayi Police College if they lack basic crowd management and kettling techniques?
Thus, it is not only Katanga or police officers to blame for their cruel conduct on peaceful protesters. It seems police officers have learnt brutality through the police service’s failure to properly train officers on the importance of controlling situations by using minimal force. The acute lack of professionalism among our police officers shows that there need for a genuine police service reform.
Police officers who used force unlawfully on youths should be sued. We cannot afford to have a Criminal Police State.
Katanga’s police officers abused their capacity to use force. By implication, the police brutality was a deliberate unlawful violence. Actions, which mount to criminally use of force for whatever reasons, are acts of brutality; they are felonious and prosecutable.
As peace lovers we should condemn the obnoxious behaviour of our police officers. Let us wake and defend this country from being abused in whatever form by the ruling elite with criminal minds.
The youths assaulted by police officers are not the ones who owe the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) K14 billion. They were peacefully protesting for a common good that on moral grounds Mutembo Nchito should resign as Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), and together with Fred M’membe pay back the loan they owe DBZ.
Today, DBZ is not able to participate in major developmental projects that can lift up our youths from poverty because selfish and corrupt individuals pocketed the money. The smell of poverty is everywhere you go because some lowlifes are sitting on colossal sums of public funds that can be used to reduce poverty.
The police brutality we saw is nothing but a criminal act employed by Sata to intimidate people from speaking against the extensive evidence of corrupt activities involving his cronies.
Thus, the police brutality we saw is part of Sata’s strategy to protect M’membe and Nchito. Ill-advisedly, Sata is ready to use police brutality to intimidate voices demanding that his allies pay back the loan they got from DBZ. The police brutality that was unleashed by police officers is intended to prevent any action against M’membe and Nchito.
In all honesty, where does Sata get the pluck to claim that he is allergic to corruption when he is savagely protecting his corrupt friends? What a barefaced hypocrite we have as our president!
As for M’membe and Nchito, how did they feel when they watched the brutalisation of peaceful protesters for demanding that they pay back the K14 billion they owe DBZ? Gentlemen of the jury, where is your conscience, integrity, principles, and ethics that our youths were assailed for your broad daylight corrupt activities?
The brutality of the police officers is not that officers found our youths intractable and a threat to public order. Police offices were purposefully commanded to use brutal force, and as expected they injured our youths and violated their human rights.
The police officers’ behaviour went too far by using excessive force which is a criminal act. It is in fact a type of white-collar crime.
UPND should indefatigably pursue police officers who assaulted our heroic youths. The justice system should ensure that offenders are punished. This is one way the likes of Katanga, Sata and the police will recognise that brutality is a crime.
We should not allow our country to be turned into a Criminal Police State where some leaders through the police structure encourage excessive use of force to cover their corrupt activities.
By operating in the occupation of police officers and committing brutalising acts, officers committed a punishable offence.
It is incontrovertible that the brutality of the police we saw is an occupational crime. Police officers violated the legal codes in the course of activity in a legitimate occupation. It was a direct violation of the laws within the police service.
The police brutality was also a direct violation of our Constitution regarding cruelty and protection of the laws.
In our communities, police officers are given a great deal of trust by our people that they would act with honour and integrity. They also have a certain amount of respectability for the position they hold and the power that comes with their position.
Thus, their act of brutality on our youths abused this power and violated the trust placed upon them and their position. The violations of these attributes are key elements of white-collar crime.
We hope that the conviction of violent police officers will be revered with much fervour. If we can put people on the moon and return them safely to earth, why can’t we put them on the ground and take them safely to jail?
We entreat the police service to shake off their primitive and colonial mentality and provide high quality service, by upholding and applying the law fairly and firmly to all.
The police should apply professional methods to uphold peace, and respect individual human rights.
Our current police service is rotten to the core, and needs reform. It is through police service reforms that we can review the current criminal roles of the police.
It is through police service reforms that police officers can change their criminal approaches to law enforcement methods in order to facilitate good democratic governance, while upholding their professional standards and ethics.