THE Continental Leadership Research Institute (CLRI) has expressed concern at the shrinking civic space in Zambia.
Executive director Mundia Hakoola says the Institute is more concerned about the recent happenings where the motorcade for opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema was shot at by the police.
Hakoola said the incident was a direct assault on people’s rights of assembly and movement.
“In the recent past, there have been a number of incidents where rights of movement and assembly have been threatened and some State institutions that have a mandate to protect citizens have actually been used to threaten these same rights and liberties,” he said. “This event where the opposition leader was shot at by the police is an act of dictatorship and is reckless, considering that not long ago we lost Nsama Nsama Chipyoka, a civil servant who worked as a prosecutor for the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA), and Joseph Kaunda, a member of the United Party for National Development because of the [police’s] unprofessional conduct.”
He said if the harassing of citizens by State agencies continued the country would soon be categorised as a dictatorship.
“We take this opportunity to invite the international organisations concerned with human rights to take keen interest in Zambia and begin to aggressively monitor the human rights situation in Zambia,” said Hakoola. “And we also call the Zambia Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs to engage with all stakeholders and find common ground that will lead towards a path of transparency and accountability in the way the public order Act is being administered.”