BREBNER Changala has advised opposition political party leaders to defy police abuse of the public order Act and organise public rallies to mobilise for the 2021 elections.
Changala, a good governance activist, said it was clear that President Edgar Lungu and his government would continue abusing the law to stop the opposition from mobilising.
He said listening to police excuses whenever opposition politicians notified them about intended public gatherings was a waste of time.
“There is no law that gives the police the right to give permits. You are just supposed to notify them. And I invite you to notify them as per the law. Don’t entertain the reply, defy it, you have more followers than the entire police command put together,” Changala said. “Put up a rally in Chawama or Kanyama, but put up men and women on standby near Sikanze camp and Chelston camp. While the police are hammering you, also take care of their… And I use the word ‘take care’, they will understand what I mean. This is now a fight for our freedom – it’s a second liberation. It’s a pity that you have obeyed the laws as law abiding citizens, it’s time to break bad habits that have been brought by this PF which is full of insincere individuals.”
Citing South Africa’s apartheid era, Changala said, “All oppressive regimes, they use the law to oppress their people.”
“Here in Zambia, the PF administration led by one lawyer who I now doubt, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, they are using the law to abuse the opposition, the civil society and the dissenting voice. Sometimes even misinterpreting the law or creating their own law which is not in the statutes,” Changala explained. “They are asking the opposition to get permits from the police. There is no law that allows the police to give permits. That is clearly banditry, criminality. Having said that I’m inviting the opposition to come together. I’m not asking for an alliance; I’m asking for the opposition to choose a day to come together and defy this draconian behaviour by the PF government where they go out to mobilise.”
Changala warned Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja and Copperbelt commissioner Charity Katanga, that they would one day be asked individually to account for their abuse of the law.
“They don’t mean well. They have been coopted into a machinery of oppression. So, my request from Dr Fred M’membe, Hakainde Hichilema, Harry Kalaba, Chishimba Kambwili and other progressive opposition, is to come together. Choose a day when you are going to outnumber the men and women in uniform and send a message to the police and President Lungu that enough is enough,” he said. “The police must be told that when time comes, they will account for these individually. I’m telling the Inspector General of Police, madam Katanga on the Copperbelt; these are the vicious lawbreakers in this country. But there will be a day, you are going to account because you are abusing your offices to give leverage to an oppressor called President Edgar Lungu and his cohorts.”
He complained that while PF were using police to stop others from mobilising, they were holding rallies every week and making donations.
Changala called for a different approach from the opposition so that they could counter autocracy.
“They are using the DMMU, they are using their ministerial position while campaigning towards 2021 and the opposition are still at home because the police are saying ‘you can’t go out for security reasons’. That is being stupid and is totally unacceptable,” said Changala. “For the opposition, you must launch a new approach to fight for your freedoms and freedoms of your followers. Freedoms, your rights and liberties, you cannot fight for them from the comfort zone while listening to these policemen and women.”