The Human Rights Commission calls on the Zambia Police Service to investigate and arrest the suspects in connection with the brutal assault of the Patriots for Economic Progress (PEP) during a peaceful demonstration against the alleged overpricing of 42 fire tender engines in Lusaka.
The Commission has confirmed that the PEP President, Mr. Sean Tembo, reported to Lusaka Central Police the case of being attacked and robbed by some known and unknown people who were allegedly armed with dangerous weapons such as guns and machetes on Cairo Road in Lusaka.
It is therefore expected that in accordance with the rule of law, the police will swiftly act on the reported crime in order to end impunity and lawlessness that has in the past resulted in grave violation of human rights such as deaths and injuries of victims and loss of property.
The fact that Mr. Tembo is reported to have provided the Police with names of suspected assailants should provide the police with a lead in initiating investigations and bringing the suspected culprits to account through the due process of the law.
The Commission has engaged the police command to find out why there was no police protection or policing of the lawful public procession as required by law. However, the police have indicated that there was a last minute advice to Mr. Tembo that the police were not going to be available to monitor the procession because they had a sudden commitment.
The Commission is deeply concerned at the growing and apparently justified public perception that the police deliberately and maliciously neglect or refuse to protect individuals with divergent views in order to justify their routine violation of the right to freedom of assembly through the abuse of the Public Order Act.
The right to freedom of expression of divergent views and opinions is the foundation of a multi-party democracy and a pluralistic society such as Zambia, and the State has an obligation to respect and protect that right without any form of discrimination.
The Commission also calls for political tolerance, civility and respect for the rule of law and human rights. Those who commit crimes must be punished to avoid creating a fertile ground for impunity, civil disobedience and anarchy, which is inimical to national interest.
[The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the Zambian Constitution [Amendment] Act No. 2 of 2016 with an overall mandate of ensuring that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted]
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION