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ZAMBIA: NATION AT INFLICTION POINT

Dear Editor,

AS a nation, we are at an inflection point. The election of President Hakainde Hichilema seems to erase moral accountability – the hatred of Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front has become a justification for lawlessness.

Since when did we see cadres beat suspects at the High Court while in Police hands?

President Hichilema should not sing the rule of law and human rights, while allowing his cadres to terrorise other citizens. 

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The recent video of a PF suspect in Police hands being escorted to the High Court, and physically beaten by UPND cadres in broad daylight made me afraid – the UPND regime has brought the New Dark era in Zambian politics. 

President Hichilema promised to restore the rule of law, but that video is embarrassingly humiliating to his administration, which vowed to promote human rights for all Zambians. Under no administration has this ever happened, Mr. Hichilema must tame his followers – we are a nation of laws! What is shocking is how a group of civilians could attack a detainee, when being escorted by the police. One could see other police officers watching as if nothing was going on. 

But is even more embarrassing is when an officer attempts to arrest a civilian, and the mob starts fighting the police officer. The entire incident is recorded on video.

If this event took place during the Lungu administration, President Hichilema would be calling for the resignation of the Minister of Home Affairs, the Inspector of Police and the chain of others. He would be on CNN and BBC too.

Despite the crime committed by the suspect, what we are witnessing is a clear lack of respect for human rights, and poor leadership in the Hichilema administration. 

As a democratic nation, we believe that every citizen is entitled to a fair trial. That the person was attacked while in police hands should be embarrassing to the President’s moral cause. There is no other way to describe this than call it for what it is – tyranny! 

We may hate Lungu and his administration, but allowing lawlessness on sacred grounds of justice is simply immoral and unacceptable.

Didn’t President Hichilema promise to be the president of all Zambians? Didn’t he promise to defend the rule of law, and protect human rights? 

Yet he has been vague on taming UPND cadres, who have seen his actions as inciting them to persecute those who differed with them during the elections. This is true on the streets as on social media. 

In fact, UPND cadres are proving to be worse than the PF. No one should bear the blame for this than President Hichilema, he has nurtured this culture in his cadres for 15 years – disrespecting those he differed with, was and is, his modus operandi. 

The violence being employed by his cadres on PF cadres has rendered President Hichilema impotent – he cannot stop what he himself gave birth to. 

Hence we should not be surprised to see him call on the police to arrest his cadres, while UPND’s cadres beat up the police as fellow officers watch. For a New Dark government blinds them all!

The lawlessness we face is personified in Plot 1. The President has disgracefully undressed the police to UPND cadres. 

Yet the rottenness of the Police system is exactly what he is doing by turning the Anti-Corruption Commission, Financial Intelligence Centre, and the Drug Enforcement Commission into his tuntembas. 

Our officers are corrupt because they know that only poor citizens are put in prison, while the presidential allies are left to roam the streets with heads high. And who can work under such demoraliSing ethics? 

That is why they ask for bribes – they would rather get something than waste time knowing too well that there is no law aside from the President and his cadres.

Under the New Dark administration, UPND cadres are untouchable – they are invisible to the law. That is why they are able to storm State House, stations, markets, courts, and now the High Court. 

The President has accorded them power over law enforcement officers. In fact, it is now common to hear them threaten to report law enforcement officers, ZRA officials, Permanent Secretaries and other career civil servants to the President. 

And when the Zambian Watchdog publishes the threat, that individual is fired.  Until the 2026 sunset, cadres determine who should be punished and who should be rewarded in the New Dark government.

UPND cadres may terrorise people today, but ascribed power is what it is – temporary. As soon as President Hichilema realises the international community is watching, he will throw some of these cadres under the bus. Remember the Mwanawasa “Chiluba” card – sacrificing an ally to remain in power. So we may see some arrests sooner rather than later. If not, the rope of justice may appear to be broken, but it is kept alive by the human spirit. It was not long ago that I told the PF cadres that pay time would come. 

Today’s UPND may think it is the police, but those videos are out to put all those criminals in prisons for crimes they committed in front of the law enforcement officers.

Unless the New Dark President pardons them, time for reckoning awaits.

KAPYA KAOMA.

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