Government has always ignored criticism on police brutality, they should own the blame

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The death of Vespers has climaxed the problem of police brutality that the government has been warned about many times. It is at a time where the President has failed to directly address this incident neither has he communicated directly with the grieving family. That is the so called humility by PF standards, unfortunately. National leaders who have done the Zambian and moral thing by visiting the funeral house are being accused of taking advantage of the situation. Yet the seating president, a president for all, fell short of even sending a sentence to help the family heal.

Whilst this death has broken the hearts of many Zambians from all walks of life, this is not the first time we have witnessed police brutality. One only needs to search the internet and we will see video and picture evidence of Zambia police brutality. This is the reason why the Zambians don’t trust the police in investigating this incident. We can’t all forget the death of Mapenzi Chibulo who was shot whilst marching during a peaceful protest. HH and his family have been victims of police brutality. Many people have been brutally beaten whilst neutralised on the ground. Excessive force is considered a normal operation when police are managing university protests. International and local human rights organization have produced reports that point to the Zambia police as the main abusers of human rights in Zambia. These are facts the government has deliberately ignored and today the inevitable happened on the watch of the same government which has ignored these reports.

With this clear pattern of police brutality and the surrounding circumstances the responses from government have been all about denying responsibility and making wild accusations. All of a sudden Nkandu Luo today is accusing outside forces or opposition for sponsoring student riots. She even thinks some people sponsored the students black t-shirts. The opposition were also called satanists by Jean Kapata for expressing their grief by wearing black in parliament today as they walked out on parliament. The President can’t even send thoughts and prayers to the family in his initial reaction. The police cannot provide a strong assurance that the reckless police officer or commander will be brought to book. The only response the government has provided is remote to addressing the human right issue of police brutality. Instead the PF has sent out their loud mouthed MPs to start accused UPND of politicizing the issue. They hope their guilt over the death of Vespers will be diffused by this political propaganda. This death has angered people beyond political lines, blaming the people responsible for our security and safety, is the only way we can start to find solutions. Even when an opposition leader incited the riot, that is not the reason why police officers should throw a tear gas canister in the hostels. This main issue of this death, everything else is secondary.

And the blame must be tentatively placed of Nkandu Luo’s feet for banning university unions. The blame should be on Kamyongo’s feet for failing to correct the human rights abuses by the police as reported by Amnesty and Human Righst Commisssion. The blame should be on Inspector General of police for running a police force that is unprofessional and violent. If our leaders are sensitive enough they should begin to start to take responsibility,begin to apologise and begin to conduct credible investigations. Complaining over black t-shirts, student protests, opposition or so called outside forces in not what will create a professional police force.

Richard W

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31