Wednesday, June 02, 2010
By Chibaula Silwamba
Wed 02 June 2010, 04:01 CAT
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema yesterday challenged President Rupiah Banda to explain to the Zambians why he commanded Inspector General of Police Francis Kabonde and paramilitary police officers to go to Mufumbwe Constituency and brutalise people. And Hichilema said Kabonde has put the police in an awkward position and must resign.
Commenting on Kabonde’s revelations to senior police officers during a meeting last Thursday that President Banda sent him to Mufumbwe ahead of the April 29 parliamentary by-elections, Hichilema said President Banda must explain his actions as Commander-in-Chief in relation to the Mufumbwe violence.
“The President owes the Zambians an answer; he is the Commander-in-Chief, he commanded the paramilitary police and regular police to go and beat citizens in Mufumbwe. He has used that position as Commander-in-Chief to abuse the citizens, so he must answer. He must answer why he did instruct the police to brutalise the citizens. In 2011 Zambians must open their eyes,” Hichilema said.
He said The Post story about Kabonde’s revelation to the senior police officers that he was sent by President Banda confirmed what he Kabonde told a pre-election meeting in Mufumbwe.
“The day before they put me under house arrest on the polling day, there was a meeting which was attended by the Electoral Commission of Zambia ECZ chairperson, of course, some electoral officials, Kabonde was present there, MMD and UPND was represented by Watson Lumba and Jack Mwiimbu our legal chairperson,” Hichilema explained.
“In that meeting, amongst other things, Kabonde indicated that the following day Hakainde should not move out of the house. So Mwiimbu asked, ‘why should he Hichilema not move? And what law are you using?’ Then Kabonde said, ‘it’s not about the law, it’s an instruction from above.’ That is what he said. So when you bring out this information in your article, it is confirming what he Kabonde said in a formal meeting. So when Mwiimbu asked him that, ‘what law are you using? You cannot detain someone without offence.’ Kabonde insisted that, ‘this is not a matter of law, it’s a matter of instructions from above.’ You can get witnesses and confirmation. Mwiimbu and Lumba walked out of that meeting.”
Hichilema explained that the following day voting day, Kabonde led a group of police officers around 06:00 hours and detained him.
“I think he was in front of the violence in Mufumbwe together with the MMD. When Kabonde came to Mufumbwe the violence increased, which means that his mandate obviously was from the President to beat the citizens into submission. I think Kabonde ought to resign. He has put the police service into a very awkward position,” Hichilema said.
“Many Zambians now believe that the police is a department of the MMD. So how will they provide peace and tranquility in our country since the police now under Kabonde are clearly part of the MMD? How will 2011 elections be conducted under Kabonde?”
However, he said the Zambia Police Service still had good police officers but needed good leadership.
“If his own senior officers can question him, it means that there are good policemen and women out there. But for those good policemen and women to be led by Kabonde, I don’t see how the two will work together because Kabonde seems to work on instructions that are partisan even when he knows that the law does not back him to carry out those instructions,” Hichilema said.
He wondered why Kabonde could just be implementing instructions, even unlawful ones.
He said Kabonde did not deserve to be Inspector general of Police because of his bad conduct.
“I put it to the people of Zambia, if Kabonde does not resign on his own, the people must get him out because they are the owners of the police service. It is not owned by Kabonde or Rupiah Banda. There is enough negative stuff on the table for Kabonde to resign,” Hichilema said.
“We can’t have Kabonde as Inspector General of Police into 2011 elections, even into Luena and now unfortunately into Chifubu, may the soul of the departed honourable Bwalya rest in peace. We can’t have Kabonde in charge of the police.”
Hichilema wondered why the police had not arrested known MMD cadres that assaulted UPND spokesperson and parliamentarian Charles Kakoma.
Last week, sources revealed to The Post that police provincial commanding officers, some deputy commissioners and senior assistant commissioners on Thursday grilled Kabonde over the Mufumbwe violence and demanded a postmortem to avoid the repeat of the bloody fracas.
The sources said Kabonde told the police commanders that President Banda had ordered him to travel to Mufumbwe Constituency during the by-elections in April.
The sources also revealed that home affairs minister Mkhondo Lungu had queried Kabonde why he did not appropriately advise President Banda about the implications of his going to police Mufumbwe by-elections.
But police deputy spokesperson Ndandula Siamana, on behalf of Kabonde, said while it was true that the meeting took place on Thursday last week and at the reported time, the meeting generally looked at the operations of combat unit.