By Sean Tembo Pep President
1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), we are saddened by the recent incident in which a senior Civil Servant was harassed by alleged PF cadres in front of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works and Supply. We have further taken note of the condemnation and arrest of the perpetrators by the Government and Zambia Police Service respectively. We have also noted the denials from the PF party that the perpetrators are not their cadres. Our view on this matter is that for about 10 years now, the PF and its Government has allowed, tolerated and to a large extent facilitated and encouraged its cadres to break the law and harass innocent citizens with impunity and without consequences.
2. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to remind the PF and its Government that it is PF cadres led by their Lusaka Province Youth Chairman that disrupted a panel discussion and harassed participants at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka in full view of armed police officers who did nothing. It is also PF cadres led by its then Lusaka Province Chairman that attacked a PeP procession along Cairo Road and assaulted innocent PeP Members with impunity and again in full view of police officers. The PF and its Government should also be reminded that it is PF cadres that stormed the offices of the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) in Rhodes Park and threatened violence against its then President. The PF and its Government should further be reminded that it is PF cadres led by its Eastern Province Youth Chairman that stormed the Lusaka Central Police Station and assaulted police officers in uniform and got away with only a slap on the wrist by the DPP.
3. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to challenge the PF and its Government to tell the nation what has now changed for them to suddenly start condemning and arresting their cadres when they go on rampage to harass and assault innocent citizens as the case was at the Ministry of Works and Supply. It is important for the PF and its Government to explain to the people of Zambia if they have changed their policy regarding encouraging the lawlessness and impunity of their cadres, because we, the citizens of this nation had gotten used to being harassed and assaulted by PF cadres in full view of the Police.
Most citizens do not even report incidents of lawlessness and violence by PF cadres because there simply is no point in doing so, as no action is ever taken by either the Zambia Police Service or the Government. Therefore, if the PF and its Government have now decided to stop aiding and abetting the lawlessness and impunity of its cadres, then they need to formally inform the Zambia people.
4. As Patriots for Economic Progress, our view is that the PF Government’s policy of using the Zambia Police Service to protect and in some cases facilitate the lawlessness of its cadres in harassing and assaulting innocent citizens is unlikely to have changed.
The actions by the Secretary to Cabinet to condemn the Ministry of Works and Supply incident, as well as the actions by the Zambia Police Service to arrest the perpetrators constitutes mere grandstanding. It is not founded on sincerity and honesty. The only reason why the PF and its Government were compelled to act against the culprits in this particular incident is because they were vividly captured on video and they had no room to deny the occurrence of the incident, as they always do.
5. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to take this opportunity to appeal to President Edgar Lungu, in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, to have a change of heart regarding the use of the Zambia Police Service to facilitate political violence perpetrated by PF cadres against political opponents in the upcoming general elections.
It is a well documented fact that the Police always look the other way when PF cadres are assaulting political opponents, but when the victims defend themselves, the Police quickly arrest them. It must be noted that the facilitation of political violence by a state organ such as the Zambia Police Service constitutes state-sponsored terrorism. It is terrorism against innocent citizens, on the basis of their political affiliation, and is prosecutable as a crime against humanity by the International Criminal Court. The President must take heed now.
Thank You and May God Bless the Good Citizens of the Republic of Zambia and Our Ailing Nation.