The Opposition Alliance says it has noted with dismay the decision of the Zambia Police Service not to arrest Patriotic Front members who staged an unlawful protest at Parliament this week , despite the Police acknowledging that the said protestors did not comply with the provisions of the Public Order Act, by giving notice, thereby making the protest itself illegal.
Alliance Chairperson Media and Finance Sean Tembo said the Alliance is aware that not so long ago, a group of civil society activists who staged a lawful protest at Parliament against the $42 million fire tender scandal, were quickly arrested by the Police, and taken to court, where they were subsequently acquitted.
Mr. Tembo says this clearly shows double standards and segregation on the part of the Zambia Police Service in their enforcement of the law, by favoring citizens who belong to and are affiliated to the ruling Patriotic Front, over the rest of the citizens who don’t.
He said by institutionalizing segregation on the basis of political affiliation in its enforcement of the law, the Zambia Police Service has breached the Constitution of Zambia.
He said it must be noted that the Zambia Police Service itself derives its power from the Constitution of Zambia and therefore, the Police cannot wantonly breach one part of the Constitution and then in the same breath, claim to be enforcing another part of the same Constitution.
“The Zambia Police Service must be decided on whether we are all going to abide by the Constitution of this Republic or we are not. We cannot have PF members as first class citizens who are above the law, and the rest as second class citizens who are subject to the law”, he said.
Mr. Tembo says the Zambia Police Service must also decide whether they are a state institution whose salaries are paid by taxpayers’ money, or they are a militia of the ruling Patriotic Front, in which case the PF party must pay their salaries.
HIfe said if the Zambia Police Service insist that they are a state institution whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers of this Republic, then they must henceforth start enforcing the laws of the Republic fairly and equitably across the board, regardless of the political affiliation of the individuals involved.
“It is on the basis of the foregoing that we in the Opposition Alliance demand, as we hereby do, that the Police immediately arrest all the PF members who staged an illegal protest at Parliament yesterday, as they are all well known”, he said.
Mr. Tembo said failure by the Zambia Police Service to arrest the culprits in question will be an indictment on the Police that they are not a state institution, but rather a militia of the ruling PF party who are only willing to do the bidding of the PF, and nothing else.