Zambia: Human Rights Commission condemns attack on opposition leader

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Lusaka, Zambia (PANA) – The Human Rights Commission has condemned the attack by elements of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) on opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.

PF cadres attacked on Saturday the president of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Hichilema, while appearing on a private radio station in Ndola, northern Copperbelt.

Commission spokesperson Samuel Kasankha, on Monday said such incidents are a big threat to public order and national security and that everything possible must be done to permanently stop them immediately.

He noted that when violence is not contained in good time, it tends to escalate and when it does, criminal elements take advantage and subject the general populace to serious human rights violations such as robberies, looting, rape and murder.

“The changeover from one party to multiparty democracy embraced in 1991 symbolized a new political order which emphasizes the total respect for the rights and freedoms of individuals and other interest groups to not just exist and express themselves and operate freely without interference from anybody, but also to be fully protected by security agents as they do so,” Kasankha said.

“The Constitution guarantees everybody to freely participate in the public affairs and governance of the country, including public criticism of government policies, without being subjected to intimidation and threats by those who may not agree with such criticism.”

He further pointed out that while PF Secretary General Wynter Kabimba should be commended for condemning the attacks in Ndola, the PF should go further by making a stronger statement that undertakes to expel any members identified to have participated in attacks on opposition members or any other individuals for that matter.

Police on Saturday rescued the UPND leader to safety after PF cadres attacked him while he appeared on a radio program.

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