Please withhold my details for security reasons. The arresting of Hakainde Hichilema and his officials has highlighted, yet again, the selective nature of the justice system under President Michael Michael’s leadership. Some citizens get arrested, but not others.
In Livingstone, heavily armed with deadly weapons, PF cadres invaded the UNPD camp but no single cadre has been arrested for their unmatched violent behaviour. Not long ago the same cadres armed to the teeth beat up UPND members attending the Kabwata rally and no arrest has been made. This is the most foul-smelling selective justice this country has ever seen.
To ensure that human rights law is credible, respected and effective, it needs to be applied consistently and fairly – against all those who violate its precepts, not just against Michael’s favourite enemies, HH and Nevers Mumba and their members. Selective justice is the worst kind of corruption there is.
The current inconsistent application of the law is glaring. A lawmaker Garry Nkombo is behind bars and due to stand trial on a charge of murder crime. But no such rendezvous with justice awaits Obvious Mwaliteta who attacked Nkombo in the full view of police officers. There is no prospect of him answering any time soon for his crime against Nkombo.
The mission of the police officers is to provide high quality service, by upholding and applying the law fairly and firmly to all but they watched Mwaliteta assault Nkombo with impunity.
Largely, selective justice against the opposition is thriving due to senior police officers who have been conspicuously compromised and have allowed their institution to be used by Michael’s regime for political reasons.
The likes of Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani, her deputy Solomon Jere and Southern Province Commissioner Charity Katanga supposed to be exemplary executives of law and executors of the rule of law. As professionals, their interests supposed to be the laws of the country and their enforcement.
Regrettably, their interest is in pleasing Michael and hanging onto their jobs with no thought for professionalism. As a result, Michael’s pressure on the police is playing a major role in setting the unprofessional standards that have characterised the police service.
This situation is appalling regarding how the police are used by Michael’s regime. There is a general collapse of the police professional instinct, caused by the degeneration of values due to Michael’s interference.
Time-honoured wisdom holds that society gets the police it deserves. Therefore, a country with self-seeking citizens and leaders naturally has a self-seeking police officers and the consequence is unprofessionalism where selective justice is perceived as justice.
This is the disease our country is suffering from. The symptoms of abuse of the police service by Michael’s regime to achieve his selfish ends of a one party state are keeping the country in a stranglehold.
From the time Michael came into power, the police is vilified virtually by everybody that have had the ‘misfortune’ to come into contact with them. The vilification hinges on their lack of professionalism due to failure to stand up for their noble mission.
They will never be professionalism in the police service as long as we have senior officers who cannot keep faith with police service ideals and live by police deepest values. Police officers supposed to cherish the challenge of doing the right thing in all circumstances.
It is a fact that Michael’s leadership has corrupted the mission and vision of the police service as well as its values. Police officers have been reduced to mere oppressive tools in his hands.
One really wonders if the police service has an accountability code of conduct. If they do, why is the code not applied to all officers irrespective of their ranks? The behaviour being exhibited especially by Libongani, Jere and Katanga does not reflect international conventions for law enforcement agents and other relevant service orders as well as public service rules.
Having compromised police officers should make all citizens worried. Lives are at risk when you have senior officers who are members of the ruling party because they always show favouritism to members of their own party. This explains the unhealthy police partisan operations we are witnessing in this country.
Libongani, Jere and Katanga should know better that as police officers their primary responsibility is to act as official representatives of government who are required and trusted to work within the law. Their powers and duties are conferred by statute not by Michael. Libongani, Jere and Katanga’s fundamental duties include keeping the peace and ensuring the rights of all to liberty, equality and justice.
We beseech Libongani, Jere and Katanga to perform all their duties impartially, without favour of affection or ill will and without regard to status, political belief or aspirations.
All citizens should be treated equally with courtesy, consideration and dignity regardless of their region or political affiliations or views. As senior officers, they should not allow relations to influence their official conduct.
Why can’t Libongani, Jere and Katanga emulate the likes of Ephraim Mateo and Wazakaza Nguni who enforced laws appropriately and courteously in carrying out their responsibilities? It is high time Libongani, Jere and Katanga conducted themselves in composure, in such a manner as to inspire confidence and respect for the positions of public trust they hold.
Let Libongani, Jere and Katanga use the discretion vested in their positions responsibly and exercise it within the law. They should be professional or leave the institution for professionals.
It is sad that under Libongani, Jere and Katanga we have seen police officers using unnecessary force on the citizens something unprecedented. Police officers should never employ unnecessary force in carrying out their duties.
We demand from these senior officers integrity to be above reproach. Their current conduct compromises their integrity and that undercuts the confidence reposed by the public in them.
Libongani, Jere and Katanga should refuse to be used by Michael as this hinders them from performing official responsibilities honestly and within the law
Do not cry foul when we have a society that will let justice take its sure course. You will be charged for lack of competence that is essential for the efficient and effective performance of your duties as custodians of the law.
Libongani, Jere and Katanga should take responsibility for their own contemptible standards of professional performance before it is too late for them to function independently from Michael’s domineering leadership.
Michael and PF will not rule forever. Do not say you were not warned.