CiSCA condemns the gunning down of two people in Lusaka, demands justice for the murdered citizens
By Judith Mulenga, Chairperson
Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA)
Lusaka, Thursday 24 December 2020: The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) strongly condemns the gunning down, in cold blood, of two people in Lusaka yesterday, Thursday the 23rd of December 2020 for merely exercising their constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms.
CiSCA further puts the blame for the two deaths squarely on the Republican President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The action by the police violated all national, regional and international human rights principles and standards, including policing standards.
The killing of the two innocent persons has once again demonstrated the continued repression of the citizens by the government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.
The right to life is guaranteed in Article 12 of our Constitution. It is also guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Zambia ratified in 1984, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which we ratified in 1984 too.
The right to assemble is also guaranteed in our Bill of Rights Article 21 which expressly states, “Except with his own consent, no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to any political party, trade union or other association for the protection of his interests”. The same right is provided for in Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We would like to believe that the opposition UPND supporters turned up to exercise this right.
The Zambia Police command also violated international policing standards as provided for in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials. Principle 9 restricts the conditions under which force can be used. The standard is plain about the use of firearms as the very last resort of police and only as a life-saving action. CiSCA demands to know the threat that the two unarmed people posed to the police.
In confronting the UPND supporters with live bullets the Zambian Police Service further acted contrary to Articles 7 of the ICCPR, Article 5 of the African Charter as well as Article 2 of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials which all obligate law enforcement officials to respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.
CiSCA demands for justice for the fallen unsung heroes. Though we know it is an exercise in futility since President Lungu has never listened to citizens’ voices, it is our duty as CiSCA to still ask President Lungu to dismiss Minister of Home Affairs, Stephen Kampyongo and the Inspector General of Police.
“Their continuing in office has become untenable. Human rights long ceased to be a sovereign matter and Zambia now has a blot on its image and standing in the world. Putting us on the map for all the wrong reasons has been a hallmark of President Lungu’s leadership,” laments Judith Mulenga, Chairperson
Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA)
Lawyer recounts ‘scary’ moment cop pointed gun at him on day of ZP killing
FRANK Tayali describes as very scary and poignant the act of an aggressive police officer pointing a gun at him last week.
Tayali, a lawyer, is a UPND member who once served as the opposition party’s national youth chairman.
As UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema headed to police headquarters for questioning in Lusaka last Wednesday, his convoy was blocked around Cabinet Office.
Tayali, who was leading Hichilema’s convoy, alighted from his vehicle to inquire about the warfare attitude of police officers.
In a chilling video that circulated on social media, a loudmouthed police officer is seen pointing a gun, at point-blank range, at Tayali.
Tayali stood still.
On Monday, Tayali recounted the alarming encounter he had with the armed police officers.
“I was leading the convoy for HH, coming from his home, escorting him to force headquarters. Initially, we came across the first blockade where police officers were trying to prevent us,” Tayali told The Mast. “They were saying only HH has been invited. But we were able to say [that] although HH is the only one who has been invited, he has a team of security.”
He explained that at that point, there was an agreement that a certain number of vehicles be allowed.
“That was my car, which was part of the legal team’s car, and then three other vehicles which included HH’s security and his personal handlers. They allowed us to pass at the first blockade and we went round to Woodlands roundabout and then down Independence Avenue,” Tayali said.
“As we drove past Madison, we got to near Cabinet Office. I just saw this reckless driver over-speeding to come and block my car. When someone blocks your car, it’s only civil that you come out, and so I got out of my car to find out what was the problem.”
He continued: “as you heard from the audio, I identified myself as counsel and that we were escorting our colleague.”
“Then he (a police officer) cocks a gun and finally threatens to shoot. But at that point the security team for HH were afraid that in that fracas anything could happen – guns could be fired,” Tayali recounted. “So, they bypassed my vehicle and rushed to Force Headquarters. Later on, I told the guy that you have no right to point a gun at me…Instead of driving to force HQ (headquarters), I was told to park at Cabinet Office.”
Tayali added that he is able to recognise the “character” that pointed a gun at him.
“So, that’s why I want the police command to help me identify this character and also place that formal complaint, so that we don’t have police officers acting like hooligans,” he said.
Asked about how felt at being pointed at with gun, Tayali answered: “it was a very poignant moment, especially that the guy had evidently cocked the gun.”
“With his movement with a cocked gun, the bullet could have gone off at any time. But when you are an innocent man about to face such injustice in that split moment, you almost just come to terms that perhaps the time to meet your Maker has come,” Tayali said. “It was a very scary moment! You think about your loved ones who think you’ve just gone out there to do your routine. To imagine that maybe you are departing minus saying goodbye was quite traumatic, to say the least. Allowing that kind of behaviour to go on unabated will be a serious injustice. We want to stand up to this tyranny that we are starting to see.”
On Monday itself, Tayali went to the Police Public Complaints Commission (PPCC) to complain about the conduct of the police officer.
“They have told me to help them to get the full names of the guy (police officer) who pointed a gun at me. So, I then went to the IG’s office. The IG and what he calls command were in a meeting discussing the President’s report,” he explained.
“So, I was told to speak to a Moses Siwale – the special assistant to the IG. He discussed with me what it is that I wanted to bring to the attention of the IG. I made reference to the gun incident and he said ‘you have a genuine complaint but unfortunately the IG is in a meeting’.”
Tayali indicated that to get the name of the officer who pointed a gun at him, “I was advised to see the director in charge of CID (Criminal Investigations Department) – a commissioner Michael Nsofwa.”
“But he was also in a meeting,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tayali pointed out that the essence of going to the PPCC was to put the matter on record.
He said the step he took would form a basis upon which to escalate the issue in future, “should there be any interference or if the matter will not be taken seriously” now.
“Zambia is a signatory to the United Nations Charter on political and civil rights. So, I believe one would have locus standi,” said Tayali. “Should there be a more reasonable government in the near future, these are matters that can be revisited. The Bembas say umulandu taubola (a crime can be revisited, regardless the passage of time).”