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POLICE GYMNASTICS

POLICE GYMNASTICS

DID it have to take Lumezi Member of Parliament Munir Zulu and lawyer, Makebi Zulu to physically go and fish out the dealing officer from the Zambia Police Service headquarters to secure the release of Mr Raphael Nakacinda on Friday?

Certainly not.

Mr Nakacinda, the publicity and media chairman of the Patriotic Front was detained by Police on Thursday for defamation of the president and proposing violence.

This after the Police recorded a warn and caution statement from Mr Nakacinda for defamation of the President and proposing violence.

But they did not formally charge him much to the annoyance of his lawyers, Mr MakebiZulu and Mr Jonas Zimba who could not obtain Police bond.

But as has become the norm, the Police, obviously enjoying their new found freedom to operate independently chose to ensure that the person in their custody quickly realisedwho the boss was.

On Friday, after hours of cat and mouse games and claiming that the dealing officer was unavailable, Mr Munir Zulu and Lawyer, Mr Zulu to go and fetch the officer from the Force headquarters, which is about a kilometer from Woodlands Police Station where MrNakacinda was being held.

The two men decided to go and fish out the officer for they realised that the day might end with Mr Nakacinda in police cells.

He was finally released after the long drama.

Prior to his detention, Mr Nakacinda was questioned for about three hours at the Police headquarters before a decision was made to transfer him to Chilenje Police Post but was instead taken to Woodlands Police Cells.

We all assume that a person is deemed innocent unless convicted by a court of law.  But there is a growing trend in the country where police are locking up people and denying them their freedom

As we have pointed out countless times, liberty one of the most precious rights of an individual and no one, least of all, a government must deny a person of his or her freedom.

It is for this reason that people’s rights are enshrined in the constitution, the supreme law of the land, that guarantees citizens of their rights.

These rights must be respected and not abused under the pretext of fighting corruption for example.

It is unfortunate that a trend is evolving in the country under which people are being denied their liberty by being locked up in police cells even when they have not been arrested or charged.

In most cases, the idea is not only to humiliate them but to shame them in the eyes of the public as was the case with former Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo last week.

After answering summons from the Anti-Corruption Commission, he ensured hours of questioning before he was presented to the public in handcuffs – yet he was not charged or arrested.

These followed the next day.

The constitution clearly outlines how a person must be treated under the Criminal Procedure Code.  This is meant to stop the police and law enforcement agencies from arbitrary arresting citizens. 

Yet, President Hakainde Hichilema has been very explicit that police must not arrest anyone without concluding investigations.  And if they do so, the suspect must appear in court within 24 hours. 

It is therefore important that must Zambians speak out against any form of police transgressions without putting on political spectacles for rights transcend the political divide.

We agree with what a senior member of the PF, Mr Chishimba Kambwili says that the country must heal with the cessation of high level political arrests, searches, raids and humiliation of opposition figures, under the guise of instilling law and order as well as fighting corruption.

Mr Kambwili said there was need to start a new page by moving away from persecutions based on political lines and move in a positive trajectory for the betterment of the country.

When individual’s rights are being abused, all must speak with one voice. That is what will make Zambia a better country.

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