We run the risk of sounding like broken records. It is actually a shame that we have to keep talking about the same thing over and over again. We are tempted to get discouraged and perhaps give up. Those thoughts torment our peace. Here and there. Why should we talk about these things if change is not coming our way?
What happened to MMD leader, Nevers Mumba in Vubwi last week is a huge shame. Dr Mumba was on his way to drum up support for his party. When he turned with his entourage to visit the town of Vubwi; or is it a village – a battalion of armed paramilitary police stopped the MMD leader from proceeding any further into Vubwi. The police have invented a law that does not exist in Zambia. And they are using bombs, guns and teargas to enforce that law. The police are mightily mistaken that a citizen of our country needs their permission to visit Vubwi. It is not the first time that the police are behaving in this brutal manner. Just a few weeks ago, they stopped UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema from visiting Mpika. This is entirely unacceptable and is a violation of common sense, the constitution, and applicable laws.
As stated above, there is no justifiable reason why the police should stop Nevers or HH from traversing the length and breadth of this beautiful country. These two gentlemen are citizens of our country, and they have the freedom of “amayendele”. The freedom to go anywhere they want to go. This idea that the national police must intervene on behalf of the ruling party to stop politicians who pose the political risk to the ruling PF is deplorable.
But to whom should we apportion this blame for the nonsense going on in the Zambia Police Service? Is this kind of behaviour as a result of rogue officers who have decided to ignore the law, common sense and the constitution? Where are the police officers getting the guts or the audacity to block a road, so that does not visit Vubwi?
This kind of recklessness is as a result of the reckless leadership at the top. The police are violating the rights of our people because President Lungu lets them do it. The President tolerates this nonsense, and that is the reason why this nonsense keeps escalating and torturing our people. How else can one explain this blatant violation of Nevers’ and HH’s human rights? The fundamental human rights of the freedom to move from Lusaka to Vubwi and vice-versa.
We need to remind the police. Once more, that our resolve to talk about this shall not be defeated. As long as the police continue to behave in this illegal manner, we shall continue to address this issue. As long as the President continues to tolerate this – we shall all not tolerate this President and his party.
Zambia is a democracy. It does not belong to one individual or the cabal of his benefactors. To flourish as a democracy, Zambians must freely assemble, organise, and exchange ideas. This they must do without having to fear bombs, guns and tear gas sent by President Lungu.
The freedom fighters who fought for Zambian liberties worked hard so that Zambians will cease to be slaves to autocrats. It is deplorable that we must come and lose these liberties now. And as long as the good Lord continues to bless us with a breath, we shall continue to breathe for the rule of law and common sense.
I am optimistic that Zambia will change for the better. But for us to imagine that future together, we must first urge the President and his police to stop arbitrary arrests, illegal blockades of citizens, and the thuggery behaviour of ruling party cadres.
Elias Munshya can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org/SM