By CHARLES MUSONDA
RENOWNED lawyer, Chifumu Banda SC has cautioned the Zambia Police, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) against targeting only opposition political party leaders who are either critical of the UPND administration or threats to their political survival.
Mr Banda said in an interview that a perception had been created that there is an invisible hand behind the arrests, detentions and in many cases the corruption investigations.
Mr. Banda said majority Zambians were equally concerned that of all the investigations, arrests and detentions, none of them had resulted in a conviction because the cases were more of political persecution than the real fight against corruption.
He cited the recent case of Economic Equity Party (EEP) president Chilufya Tayali, who had his house raided and teargassed by the police before he was arrested and taken to Chilanga where he was allegedly tortured.
Mr Banda stated that citizens did not lose their human rights when they were arrested as suspects and asked the UPND administration to respect the rule of law.
He said the conduct of the law enforcement agencies under the new dawn administration was worrying apart from setting a bad precedent that was taking root, stating that the police should realise that a suspect was also protected by the law.
Mr Banda stated that the law enforcement agencies had so far harassed and arrested opposition political party leaders including Patriots for Economic Progress president Sean Tembo, PF central committee member Raphael Nakacinda, and National Democratic Congress president Saboi Imboela.
“We have a police service but unfortunately they are not operating as a service. They are exhibiting force when conducting investigations. The police changed the name to a service to distance itself from the force the police were associated with. Our appeal to the police command is to ensure they instruct criminal investigations officers to adhere to observance of human rights which each and every person enjoys. You can extract information you want even when you treat people with dignity,” Mr. Banda said.
And Mr. Banda said it was worrying that most of the people who have been arrested in the recent past were those that served in the PF administration.
He said when the investigation was targeting a good percentage of people who served in the previous government, then the perception that there was a deliberate act aimed at intimidating or discrediting them could be believed.
He appealed to the investigative wings to sober up in the manner they are carrying out their investigations if they were to yield good results as opposed to hurrying or rushing their investigations.