THE Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) says the unprofessional conduct of police officers against suspects perceived to be aligned to the opposition is a danger to national peace and security.
And CCZ has condemned police’s inhumane treatment on incarcerated NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili’s wife, Carol, and daughter, Chanda.
In a statement, Thursday, CCZ general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya said failure by the police to run the service professionally was a danger to national peace and security.
“As observed by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the Non-Governmental Gender Coordinating Committee (NGOCC), the treatment that was given to Mrs Kambwili and her daughter was cruel, inhuman and degrading. Acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of suspects are categorically forbidden under Article 15 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the laws of Zambia and under international human rights law. Zambia is a democracy where citizens are guaranteed human rights, which must be recognised and respected by law enforcement agencies. Failure to respect the rights of suspects regardless of their offence is a violation of the law,” Fr Chikoya stated.
“After having studied this matter concerning Mrs Kambwili and her daughter, our understanding is that the unfortunate happenings that led to the duo’s arrest arose from the fact that they were denied access to see their loved one, against their constitutional right. We, therefore, remind the police that it is both humane and constitutional for them to allow family members, relatives and friends to have access to their incarcerated loved ones. Denying them access to their incarcerated loved ones is a violation of the law. We would further like to remind the police command that failure on their part to run the police service professionally is a danger to national peace and security.”
He also condemned the unprofessional, heavy-handedness and brutality by police on defenceless and unarmed citizens.
“We have noticed how the Zambia Police has been quick to arrest suspects, who are considered to be aligned to the opposition political parties, while tolerating those considered to be aligned to the ruling party, regardless of the crimes committed. This behaviour by the Zambia Police has become a danger to national unity and peace that we have been continuously praying and fasting for. Zambia has been known for peace in a long time, but with the manner the police have been treating citizens under the current government, we are getting very concerned about the sustainability of our much-cherished peace,” read the statement.
“We, therefore, condemn the unprofessional, heavy-handedness and brutality by the Zambia Police on defenceless and unarmed citizens. The manner in which the police handled Mrs Kambwili and her daughter is inhuman. The dignity of a human being must be upheld every time the police are dealing with any defenseless suspect, more especially like Mrs Kambwili and her daughter. We, however, do not condone careless behaviour that may threaten the safety of others. The police and other law enforcement agencies have the responsibility to ensure that all offenders are brought before the law. What we don’t agree with is the manner in which the police apply the law in an effort to maintain order.”
And Fr Chikoya urged the police to stop brutality against citizens.
“We, therefore, urge government and the Zambia Police to be professional where the application of law and order are concerned, regardless of who is involved in the offence/crime. When this is done, our prayers will be accepted by God. Failure to do our responsibility, God cannot answer our prayers for sustained national unity and peace. Isaiah 58:1-14 guides us on how we ought to live our lives if we want God in Heaven to answer our prayers. There is a responsibility we need to do for God to do His part. The Zambia Police should stop brutality against citizens, who are created in God’s image. Respecting human dignity is respecting God’s creation,” stated Fr Chikoya.