Police are quick in arresting opposition party members, than those of the ruling party, Church says Featured

POLICE have been selectively enforcing the law by quickly arresting those perceived to belong to the opposition while giving a blind eye to those aligned to the governing party irrespective of the crimes they commit, the Council of Churches in Zambia(CCZ) has observed.

The Church says the behaviour has become a danger to national unity and peace, that the country has continuously been praying and fasting for.

In a statement to Mwebantu, CCZ secretary-general, Reverend Canon Emmanuel Chikoya said the church is, therefore, saddened by the conduct of overzealous police officers who were arresting National Democratic Congress leader, Chishimba Kambwili’s wife and daughter, to the point of almost undressing them in the process.

“As observed by the Human Rights Commission and the Non-Governmental Gender Coordinating Committee, 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,” Reverend Chikoya said.

He said Zambia is a democracy where citizens are guaranteed human rights which must be recognised and respected by law enforcement agencies.

The clergyman said failure to respect the rights of suspects regardless of their offence is a violation of the law.

He said the church, therefore, condemns the unprofessional, heavy-handedness and brutality by the Zambia Police on defenceless and unarmed citizens.

‘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,” he said.

Reverend Chikoya has reminded the police that it is both humane and Constitutional for them not to allow family members, relatives and friends to have access to their incarcerated loved ones as denying them access to their incarcerated loved ones is a violation of the law.

He further said failure to run the police professionally is a danger to national peace and security.

Reverend Chikoya further Zambia has been known for peace in a long time, but with the manner, the police have been treating citizens under the current government, the church is getting very concerned about the sustainability of the much-cherished peace.

“We, therefore, urge the Government and the Zambia Police to be professional where the application of law and order is concerned, regardless of who is involved in the offence or 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,” he said

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The Council of Churches in Zambia is an ecumenical umbrella organization of Christian churches that seeks to promote cooperation and fellowship between Christian churches and organizations in the nation. We therefore seek to bring together members and stakeholders for consultation and discussions in an effort to help form an enlightened Christian opinion on all issues affecting the spiritual, social and physical well being of Zambians.

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