IT was very clear even before the Human Rights Commission carried out their investigation that Vespers Shimuzhila was killed by police teargas, says Chishimba Kambwili.
He said the government should compensate Vespers’ family without having to resort to court.
Reacting to the Human Rights Commission recommendation that criminal charges be preferred on those involved in the operation that saw University of Zambia student Vespers die, Kambwili called for the resignation of home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo and Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja.
“We have a useless government that must be removed, a useless government that cannot protect its citizens,” he said. “It’s not only Vespers Shimuzhila, there are many people that have been killed at the hands of the police; you remember the death of that UPND cadre Mapenzi Chibulo. Those are issues to be looked at and ask ourselves that are we really behaving as leaders or we are murderers of our own people, the same people we are supposed to be protecting?”
Kambwili, a rebel PF Roan member of parliament, said the leadership of “the man in State House and the Minister of Home Affairs is wrong and mediocre.”
He said under a sensible leadership, the government would not have waited for the Human Rights Commission report to cite the perpetrators for murder.
“It was very clear even before the Human Rights Commission carried out their investigation that Vespers Shimuzhila was killed by the police through teargas. She suffocated and died. That in itself is a criminal offence and if we had a caring government they should not have been waiting for the recommendation from Human Rights Commission,” Kambwili said. “They should have investigated and took the platoon commander who was there to task and cite him for murder and also the officers who discharged the teargas in the university premises. That should have been done without waiting for anybody…. But because of the quality of leadership that we have today, one in State House and the Minister of Home Affairs, first and foremost, the combination is wrong and mediocre. You don’t gross over loss of life but because these people believe in the elimination of people, believe in violence, believe in being confrontational, they want to use the police in a wrong way hence cannot take action against their own actions. The President is the Commander-In-Chief of all Armed Forces including the police. And the Minister of Home Affairs is the political head of the police so why should they allow a loss of life and gross over it without instituting any criminal proceedings on the people that did that?”
Kambwili further said subjecting Vespers’ family to a litigation process was wrong.
He asked the government to compensate the family out of court.
He said the Shimuzhila family had already suffered pain and anguish thus suing government over a straightforward matter would be wrong.
“In developed countries, the moment they announced that one of the students had actually died as result of police action, the Minister of Home Affairs should have resigned on moral grounds. If he did resign, he should have called for an inquiry and arrest the culprits,” Kambwili said. “Why should Vespers Shimuzhila’s parents waste money for litigation when the Human Rights Commission, which is part of government, established by an Act of Parliament, has made a recommendation that the government is to blame? All they can do is call Vespers Shimuzhila’s family and agree to settle that matter out of court by compensating them. Why waste time to go and sue, why, when you know that the inquiry done by the Human Rights Commission says that government was responsible and the recommendation is that they must compensate them?”
He said the family had already suffered anguish and mental torture by the loss of their daughter. “Please compensate them without involving the courts and save the courts time. We have got so many cases in court to be taking more cases unnecessarily, even cases that are straightforward that government is to blame and the best that can be done is compensation,” Kambwili said. “The Inspector General and home affairs minister are supposed to resign on moral grounds. If the watchdog has found their institutions guilty but have not taken action, it’s a question of morality but in this country do we have morally upright leaders? The answer is no.”
He said morally upright leaders needed to make a decision without involving the courts.