Governance activist Brebner Changala has accused Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo of instigating Chongwe police’s refusal to allow UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to tour the area.

And Changala says Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja must resign because “he has outlived his usefulness in the Police Service”.

Commenting on Chongwe police’s actions to stop Hichilema from touring the district on grounds that he had no permit, Changala said Kampyongo must stop abusing the law to disadvantage other citizens.

He warned the Minister to stay away from the Police command and allow them to act in a free, fair and impartial manner.

“The people of Zambia have a right to associate and to assemble; they have a right to communicate. This is enshrined in the Bill of Rights. But it is like the current PF government has changed the law without the approval of the people of Zambia; they have done it illegally. There is a new term that has come into play, when political opponents of the governing party want to communicate or, indeed, associate, they are being told that ‘you don’t have a police permit’. I want to put it very clearly that Zambia is not a Police State, and nobody at any one time should stop anybody to assemble, communicate or, indeed, associate on the basis of a police permit. The police are there to maintain law and order not to regulate on how people should conduct or behave or how they shall associate in their normal lives, that is illegal,” Changala said.

“I also want to ask the Minister of Home Affairs to stay away from the Police Command because he was not trained for that. I want to warn Honourable Kampyongo that his actions today might haunt him tomorrow. He might think that he’s a champion in abusing his fellow citizens today, but tomorrow, he will be called to account and he will be alone. Edgar Lungu will be struggling with his immunity, which Kampyongo hasn’t got. He will be a parcel and an ideal cargo for incarceration if he’s not careful. So, he must not take joy in harassing fellow citizens. Kampyongo must not use the law to abuse other citizens, what is good for the goose must be good for the gander.”

He also called on Kanganja to resign from his position for what he termed incompetence.

“The Inspector General of Police, Mr Kanganja, must step aside! He has outlived his usefulness. He is a passenger in this confusion because he knows very well that we do not need a police permit to associate or to assemble. We need to notify the police seven days before the event and the police know that, and Kanganja knows that, Charity Katanga knows that, too. But they are abusing the people of Zambia because the people of Zambia have tolerated police brutality and the police’s incompetence,” Changala said.

“PF has mutilated this Constitution, and I am calling upon all the people of Zambia to rise, to uphold and defend the Constitution, our Constitution is under attack. The law asks every citizen of this country to come to the defense of the Republican Constitution at this critical moment in our time and history. We are being led by a group of citizens who have become the enemy of the law and law unto themselves. This must stop! I want the Inspector General of Police to listen for once that the day to account is not too long from today. Enough is enough!”

Meanwhile, Changala has demanded that government must issue a comprehensive statement to explain who authorised the police to give permits for people to associate and assemble.

“Who has given them those powers? The Attorney General also has to answer these questions: do people need a permit to associate? Do people need a permit to assemble? Do people need a permit to visit other districts, constituencies or to visit provinces? I want these questions to be put forward to the Attorney General, who is the legal advisor of the government because this issue of permits is getting out of hand. I listened to one radio station the other day where a presenter was misleading the nation that, indeed, people need a permit so that they do not disrupt government programmes, but that is unacceptable!. We are living in a society where the government of the day, especially the Head of State, does not want to engage the very people that he governs. If we are not careful and if we don’t stick to the rule of the law, we are becoming banana Republic,” said Changala.