Headline NewsOpinionOPINIONS


WE do not agree with the manner in which Kasenengwa Member of Parliament Phillimon Twasa was treated while holding a public meeting in his constituency last Thursday.

The police stormed and stopped a meeting by Mr Twasa on grounds that he did not get a police permit.

They came in full riot gear and stopped the meeting much to the dismay of the people who were being addressed by Mr Twasa as he was whisked away by the police.

We find it ironic that at a time when the country is supposed to be moving forward in enhancing democracy, the Zambia Police Service appears to think otherwise.

It won’t allow opposition parties to hold meetings – open or indoor – unless they have the coveted “police permit” to do so.

Yet in reality, this goes against the very democratic tenets that the new dawn administration has been espousing to allow for all political entities to operate and organise freely.

In their overzealousness to please the appointing authorities, police have continued to operate in a vacuum in which they are the law unto themselves.

Thus, not even Members of Parliament can meet with their constituents in the constituencies unless they have a police permit.

Yet, all parties need, as a matter of courtesy, is to inform the police about any planned meeting and do not have to wait for a go-ahead from them.

That Mr Twasa could not be allowed to continue with the meeting is an abuse of the law which the police claim to be enforcing – and only helps in maligning the government.

It is not surprising that Mr Twasa’s “arrest” angered traditional leaders and residents of the constituency who felt that President Hakainde Hichilema had let Zambians down.

One of the attendees complained that President Hichilema has become worse than the previous regime.

“We know this is political. Why didn’t they come for the UPND who held a meeting here without a permit last week? We know they never had a permit, and this is our MP who they have picked,” he said.

Police need to promote goodwill with the public and certainly, MPs are not their enemies who they must treat like criminals as they did in Kasenengwa.

Just recently, police arrested Mr Chishimba Kambwili, one of the presidential candidates vying for leadership of the Patriotic Front on the ludicrous claim of holding an unlawful assembly contrary to section 74 read together with section 75 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia

His crime was that aggrieved citizens marched to his home to complain about the state of the economy, particularly the high price of mealie meal.

We recall how Citizens First president Harry Kalaba was “deported” by police from Kalulushi late last year because they were not aware of his presence.  Is this not institutional mischief?

Democracy is certainly in danger.

We might as well ask again, what message is Government sending to the international community touting the country as a good example of a democratic state not forgetting that President Hichilema is scheduled to host the Summit for Democracy at the behest of the United States next month in Lusaka – when not even MPs can meet freely with people who sent them to parliament?


Related Articles

Back to top button