The killing of a man by Zambia National Service officers in Ndola constitutes an extrajudicial killing.
An extrajudicial killing, also known as extrajudicial execution, is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.
Extrajudicial punishments are unethical, since they bypass the due process of the law.
Zambia National Service officers in Ndola shot dead a man on suspicion of smuggling mealie-meal to the Democratic Republic of Congo. And all this man had on his bicycle was a bag or so of mealie-meal. He was not in any way armed or violently resisting arrest.
This is hardly a month after Zambia National Service killed Stephen Banda, 35, of Ndola’s Kawama township in similar circumstances.
Life is the first and most fundamental right of individuals, without which no other right can be upheld.
Extrajudicial executions are a violation of this right, designating the deliberate killing of an individual by a State agent, or with his consent, without a previous judgment affording all judicial guarantees, such as a fair and unbiased procedure.
The State has the obligation to promote and protect the right to life, and to prosecute the perpetrators.
Things could have been done differently. They could have confiscated his bag of mealie-meal, arrested and prosecuted him.
Is one or so bags of mealie-meal worth a man’s life?
Thomas Aquinas said, “Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; justice without mercy is cruelty.” Justice without compassion is not justice, it kills. Justice without compassion is tyranny.
But this is what happens when military men are deployed to carry out police duties. They are trained to kill and not to stop or control.
There’s no smuggling of mealie-meal to the Congo that really warrants the deployment of military men.