Civil rights activist Brebner Changala says the opposition must sue Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga in her individual capacity for abrogating the Constitution.
And Changala has questioned Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda’s tendency of attacking opposition political parties, saying it is not part of his job description.
In an interview, Changala advised the opposition to sue Katanga instead of merely complaining about her conduct.
“When you look at the way Charity Katanga talks, she doesn’t talk like a police officer, she doesn’t exhibit any traits of a professional trained police officer. She talks like a school captain. So my call is to the opposition [is] fight for your rights. We have a challenge that this opposition does not fight for it’s rights. Once you notify the police, they cannot reply to you to say ‘you cannot assemble’, no! That is not their job. And I am telling the opposition, can you take this matter to court, start suing people like Charity Katanga in their individual capacity, start suing them. They are abusing the constitution,” Changala said.
“The opposition must wake up, don’t be cry babies! Take them on man! These criminals will not give you anything on a silver platter. The arrest of Kambwili with illegal assembly cannot stand any test of law, they are just wasting his time and inconveniencing him and he must sue them there after. And I would rather the police paid from their own pockets. It’s high time this police command were told that they are civil servants who are there to maintain law and order, not to be thugs and break the law with impunity.”
He noted that a member of parliament did not need a permit to meet his or her people.
“It’s absurd to arrest an MP and charge him with unlawful assembly. The police command is behaving in a manner that is less noble, they are behaving in a manner that is highly unprofessional. But I blame it on the opposition. The opposition has been abused by this partisan police. The law says ‘you notify the police’, nowhere does it say ‘get a permit from the police in order to assemble and communicate with others’. Beyond that, the Speaker of the National Assembly ruled earlier this year, if not late last year that an MP does not need a police permit in his constituency in order to assemble and meet his people, he doesn’t need a police permit. Now, what is going on is that Zambia is becoming a banana Republic, a country of lawlessness. Police is supposed to maintain law and order but in Zambia, but this police is there to break the law. We have reached this stage because of the failing leadership from State House,” Changala said.
“The President is supposed to give direction to some of these shenanigans in uniform. But because he’s benefiting, one thing he’s forgetting is that the clock is ticking and very soon, President Lungu ad his cohorts will be faced with this same unprofessional militia which is in police uniform.”
And Changala questioned Chanda’s tendency of attacking opposition political parties, saying it was not part of his job description.
“The administration of this country is in wrong hands. This country has been personalised by State House and you can see the arrogance when they are answering to issues of national character. First of all, we have the most difficult and challenging President, who does not communicate with the electorate for whatever reasons. Then his Spokesperson has also over the years grown so big-headed. You monitor his language, the way he describes other political players, it’s like he’s describing filth. The people in State House have grown so big-headed that they have forgotten where they are coming from. It is not Amos’ role to attack political players, his role is to speak for the Presidency and the President to some extent. But he has taken a dual role, he speaks for the President of the country and the president of PF. It’s from speaking for the president of PF that he starts politicking and demeaning other political players,” said Changala.
“Having said that, the people of Zambia, do not need a fugitive President who goes into hiding and the Press Secretary says we are not supposed to know because he doesn’t want to be disturbed. Really? We are are disturbing Mr Lungu? How? What the hell is going on? If he thinks we are disturbing him, why can’t he leave office so that he goes and live a quiet life? We will be too happy to release him. Let the President go to Chawama and live a quiet life. Why should the people of Zambia who voted for Edgar Chagwa Lungu be kept away from the very President they elected and yet his friends like Mr Valden Findlay have got unbridled access to our President, to State House, to the Presidency when we the people of Zambia can’t do that. So now it’s easier for a foreigner to enter State House at any time of the day and at any time of the night than it is for a citizen and an electorate of this country.”