Rise of political violence worries Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has expressed concern over the emerging pattern of political violence, especially targetted at members of the newly formed National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party.

Commenting on the assault of NDC supporters caused by suspected PF cadres at Lusaka Central Police Station on Tuesday in a statement yesterday, HRC chairperson Mudford Mwandenga noted that NDC members had fallen prey to attacks by their opponents recently.

“The Human Rights Commission (HRC) wishes to condemn the assaulting of National Democratic Congress (NDC) Party supporters by suspected political opponents at Lusaka Central Police Station yesterday where they had escorted Honourable Chishimba Kambwili who was summoned by the Zambia Police Service. HRC is deeply concerned at the emerging pattern of violence against NDC Party supporters. The nation may recall that NDC members were recently attacked as they were about to appear on a Radio Station in Lusaka,” Mwandenga stated.

Mwandenga stated that political intolerance was a violation of human rights and asked the Zamnia Police Service to end the vice by ensuring that culprits were brought to book in order to end impunity.

“Acts of political intolerance should be condemned as they are a violation of human rights, which every democratic country should endeavour to promote and protect. Violence against any individual is a criminal act and the Commission appeals to the Zambia Police Service to act without fear or favour in ensuring that culprits are brought to book in order to end impunity. Any form of violence should not be tolerated or misconstrued as a legitimate form of political activism or support. There is need for the Zambia Police Service to send a clear message to all perpetrators that violence is a criminal offence and thus any person committing or suspected of committing such an offence should be arrested and prosecuted in the courts of law,” he stated.

Mwandenga further condemned the culture of party cadres carrying and using dangerous weapons such as machetes and asked the police to decisively deal with such criminal behaviour.

He also cautioned politicians to be mindful of the words they use when addressing one another.

“The culture of party cadres carrying and using dangerous weapons such as machetes should be brought to an end. The Commission believes that it is within the powers and means of the Zambia Police Service to decisively deal with such criminal behaviour. The Commission wishes to also urge political party leaders to provide guidance to, and instil discipline among their members or supporters to refrain from any unlawful conduct or any such behaviour that may contribute to violation of human rights and freedoms,” stated Mwandenga.

“In the same vain, politicians across the political divide are urged to tone down on their language and ensure that in exercising their rights and freedoms, they do not violate the rights and reputation of others. The Commission reiterates the need to embrace dialogue among political parties and other stakeholders in order to mitigate excessive diverse and dissenting views, which are inevitable in a multi-party democracy and pluralistic society such as Zambia.”

         

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