Recent abuses by the Zambian police show that they no longer serve the public interest but rather only work as the armed wing for the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), said international lawyer Robert Amsterdam.
Today’s arrest of Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) President Nevers Mumba for the second time in less than a month represents a breach of Zambia’s international commitments to uphold basic civil rights, Amsterdam argued, pointing to an established pattern of abuses, from unlawful enforcement of the Public Order Act to block political meetings to false statements meant to defame innocent citizens.
“The police have a duty to protect and serve all Zambian citizens regardless of political affiliation, but instead they act like PF cadres carrying badges and guns when they arrest MMD leaders, beat up UPND protesters, and harass citizens,” Amsterdam said. “It is a great pity that President Sata’s Christmas message called for ‘reconciliation,’ but instead we are seeing the opposite: a continuation of flagrant police brutality and his commitment to escalating violence.”
Amsterdam also blasted Inspector-General Stella Libongani for making further false statements regarding Henry Banda, the son of former President Rupiah Banda. On 25 December 2012, Libongani was interviewed on national television stating that the police were unaware of his whereabouts.
“The Inspector-General of the Zambian Police has been informed precisely of Mr. Banda’s whereabouts and his willingness to cooperate via a letter which was received, signed, and stamped at 09h20am on March 13, 2012, yet for almost a year they have refused to describe the nature of their allegations,” said Amsterdam. “Libongani displays an alarming memory loss regarding the status of Henry Banda, which stands as further proof that their case is totally bogus.”
Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners LLP is based in London, United Kingdom, and serves as counsel to the former President Rupiah Banda, his son Henry Banda, as well as the Coalition for the Defence of Democratic Rights (CDDR), a legal defence alliance for victims of persecution by the Zambian government. Further information on the pattern of police abuses and politically motivated persecution in Zambia can be read on http://robertamsterdam.com/zambia.