A video, which has been circulated widely on social media, showing the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Gary Nkombo, forcing a woman and her children to drink Kachasu, a local illicit beer, has been brought to the attention of the Human Rights Commission. The Commission finds the Minister’s conduct to be arbitrary and a violation of the woman’s and her children’s human rights.
Forcing of the trio to drink the illicit beer or face arrest amounted to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and was a violation of Article 15 of the Constitution, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia. The Minister’s conduct further violated the rights of the woman and her children to secure the protection of the law as provided for under Article 18 of the Constitution.
The Commission is concerned that the Minister extended the illegal punishment to the woman’s children, who might possibly be under age and that his conduct amounted to victimisation of suspects.
Brewing or selling prohibited beverages such as kachasu has prescribed penalties under the law and forcing perpetrators to consume the prohibited products is not one of the prescribed punishments and must, therefore, be condemned. The Minister is, accordingly, advised to leave law enforcement to designated offices and officers as prescribed by the law.
In conclusion, the Commission finds the conduct of Mr. Nkombo to be at variance with the pronouncements that have been made by the Republican President of his administration’s commitment to respect the rule of law and to the promotion and protection of human rights for all.
Mudford Z. Mwandenga
HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION