FORMER home affairs minister in the MMD administration Peter Machungwa has appealed to President Edgar Lungu and other leaders to stop extra-judicial killings by police.

On Tuesday, police in Lusaka shot dead State Prosecutor Nsama Nsama and UPND member Joseph Kaunda who were unarmed and peaceful.

This happened when UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was due to appear before police at force headquarters for questioning.

Stakeholders locally and internationally have condemned the murder of the two innocent souls in cold blood.

Adding his voice, Dr Machunga, a psychologist, who served under late president Frederick Chiluba, reminded those in power that they would not be there forever.

“Extra-judicial killings are illegal and are a crime. The authorities, I call upon them, from the President, the Minister of Home Affairs and all concerned, including the [Inspector General of police] IG, should be careful. They cannot allow this country to descend to…just like that. Once we start this culture where the police can shoot and get away with it there’ll be no return,” he said. “And when these people who are in power leave power, because they cannot rule forever, they themselves will be receiving the same treatment from those who would have taken over. And yet people in this country, in a democratic country, are supposed to enjoy their peace. And the police are there to ensure that people are enjoying security, not to be killed.”

He warned that PF would not be in power forever.

Dr Machungwa expressed worry that police had developed a tendency of killing people, an act that could dent the country’s democratic credentials.

“Now, that is extremely sad. Zambia has been a democratic State, and has been a beacon of democracy in this region. In some of our neighbouring countries, security forces or police shoot people in the streets; that’s just happening. But that’s not what we’ve seen in Zambia, although this is becoming a tendency,” Dr Machungwa said.

“This is a very sad development, and if it is not stopped, while some people might be laughing on the other side because they’re on the part of the party in power, what they must remember is that they’ll not be the party in power all the time; things change. I was in UNIP, I was in MMD; now there’s PF. And when you begin shooting at people, citizens, you’ll not last in power.”

Dr Machungwa said the nation could not have a security wing that could not protect them, but was killing them instead.

“This is sad; I call upon the Head of State, Minister of Home Affairs and all concerned for internal peace and security to ensure that there’s free democratic space. If people are committing a crime or threatening somebody or the police, then the police should take appropriate action. If the police wanted to disperse those people, they didn’t need to go there armed and just begin shooting at people like that,” he said. “We can’t have a situation where security forces which are meant to protect the people begin shooting at them. Once we lose the peace, we’ll become like other countries in Africa where this thing has been happening. So, I would like to call upon all citizens, particularly those in power to ensure that peace in this country is maintained. You know, I’m always a supporter of the police because I led, as home affairs [minister], the police. But I cannot support the police when they turn against their [fellow] citizens; this has to stop.’’

He said police in Zambia has had a good name over the years.

Dr Machungwa said no one had the right to unlawfully take away another person’s life.

“Zambia Police has had a good name, let’s not become killers. It’s happening in Latin America and in some countries like, one country south of us, and another country north-east of us; we don’t want that. This is a Christian country. Even if some people are not Christians, they should respect the rights of others. And the greatest thing in the world is life, then you take away somebody’s life!” said Dr Machungwa. “The crowd of people who were there were not threatening the peace. So, the police were under no threat of being attacked, of being stoned or anything. But instead, police when they alighted with the intention of dispersing those people, started firing; obviously live ammunition. I don’t know what else they were firing, bullets or whatever. I saw something that looked like teargas, but they were firing live bullets because two people were killed.”

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