COMMENT FOR TUESDAY 18/04/2017: Why has Tayali been arrested, detained?

Chilufya Tayali, the Zambian Voice executive director and leader of the Economic and Equity Party, was on Thursday arrested and detained by police in connection with a statement he posted on his Facebook page accusing Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja of trying to cover his inefficiencies by charging Hakainde Hichilema with treason and insinuating that he planned what transpired in Mongu to kill the President.

Tayali has been charged with criminal libel contrary to section 191 of the Penal Code. And police denied him bond.

Is this the best way for the police to deal with public criticism?

It can no longer be denied that Kanganja has lamentably failed to discharge his duties as a non-partisan chief of the police. His utterances and actions are increasingly becoming those of a ruling Patriotic Front cadre. It will not be difficult for Tayali to show that Kanganja failed to provide adequate protection to Edgar Lungu on his way from Mongu to Limulunga. And it is Kanganja’s incompetence, and not Hakainde Hichilema’s motorcade, that threatened Edgar’s life. Kanganja’s poor leadership of the police is not only a threat to Edgar’s life but to our entire national stability.

Kanganja’s main and only discernible preoccupation seems to be political patronage and not efficient, effective and orderly policing.

If we had an independent judiciary, Kanganja’s incompetent and politically compromised leadership of the police would prove too costly to the taxpayer.  There would be endless successful compensation claims against the state resulting from his politically induced decisions and actions of the police. And part of Kanganja’s failure arises from his abdication of the duties of his office to State House aides. There is abundant evidence to show how State House aides have taken over the command of the police in Edgar’s name. Kanganja has also allowed a huge infusion of Patriotic Front cadres in the police. Today, there is very little separation between the Patriotic Front and the police. And police officers are being promoted and deployed on the basis of how politically user friendly they are perceived to be. Hence the police brutality we are today witnessing towards the opponents, real or perceived, of those in power. They are rewarded with promotions and deployments that give them more money.

This is what Kanganja has done or has allowed to be done to the police. It will require a lot of effort to rebuild the police and restore its public trust after Kanganja and his political masters are gone.

And it is not only Tayali or us saying this. Let him pay attention to what the friends and allies of his political masters are saying! Let him read what  Dickson Jere and his Zambia Reports are posting on the Internet. They are, in some way,  saying the same things we are saying, the same things Tayali has posted on his Facebook page.

At this rate, what fundamental rights is Kanganja and his political masters going to leave us with? Kanganja and his political masters have totally robbed us of our fundamental human rights of assembly and association. Kanganja and his political masters arbitrarily decide who among us, and when they, can have a public gathering  – a rally, demonstration, protest. And now they also want to have total dominion over our fundamental human rights of speech and expression. As for the press, they assumed hegemony over it a long time ago.

And let’s not be cheated that Tayali has been arrested and charged purely on account of what appeared on his Facebook page. Tayali has been waging some lone battles against them on their abuses of power. He has been challenging them and their agents in the judiciary over the corrupt and crooked way they closed The Post and are trying to steal its assets. And again, the police has been deeply involved in the closure of The Post and harassment of The Mast. The police is taking direct orders from Edgar’s agent, Lewis Mosho, in the destruction of The Post and harassment of The Mast. These are things Tayali has singlehandedly been challenging.

Tayali also took them on in their criminal scheme to remove Mutembo Nchito from the office of Director of Public Prosecutions. He is also challenging judge Sunday Nkonde, a judicial officer who is helping them to totally destroy The Post, to recuse himself from the case.

This is the Tayali they have arrested and detained. That Facebook posting is just pretext.

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