PF MP Walk Out of Parliament to Protest against Police Harassment

… Mundubile says abduction, arrested, and detention of MPs, including denying them police bonds, speaks to the fact that the country is degenerating into lawlessness.

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24 (7-06-2023 – The opposition Patriotic Front (PF) members of parliament walked out of parliament today to protest against the continued harassment of opposition MPs by the police.

The leader of the opposition, Brian Mundubile, told journalists at a media briefing that a matter was brought before parliament seeking a serious ruling, but the speaker reserved that ruling.

He said the manner in which the MPs have been abducted, arrested, and detained, including being denied police bonds, speaks to the fact that the country is degenerating into lawlessness.

The MPs are lawmakers and have privileges which are not enjoyed by ordinary citizens. When they travel abroad, they are respected, but locally, they are abused.

He denied that the PF wants the MPs to be immune to prosecution for doing wrong things. What is wrong is the manner in which the MPs are treated, and the police appear to be the executioners.

The country is slowly drifting into a police state, and the president is not helping by condoning the actions of the police.

The walking out of parliament is to send a message that the PF does not want its MPs to be harassed. They want the police to treat the MPs with respect. They want the police command to undergo special training to enable them to understand how to treat the MPs.

He said MPs have large followings and should not be allowed to be treated in that manner. The MPs will continue to walk out until the police learn how to treat them.

Robert Kalimi wondered how the police can go to arrest an MP without the consent of the speaker. He said that just like the minister cannot be arrested without the consent of the president, so it is with the MPs.

He said the speaker should take responsibility for the manner in which the MPs are being mistreated. He said that the excitement shown by the minister of home affairs should be minimized because he can be fired anytime and become a backbencher.

He said it is an insult to treat the MPs in that manner.

Mandevu MP Christopher Shakafuswa said the continued abuse of the police by the minister of home affairs is a shame.

He said that the minister of home affairs sending the cops to arrest the former first lady is a shame because the former head of state’s residence should be respected.

He said that it is time to stand and defend democracy now, and this is exactly what the PF is trying to do.

He condemned the situation where the police only pick suspects, beat them up, and then lock them up.

He said the PF will take up the challenge to ensure that the police’s actions are challenged in the house.

He accused the minister of home affairs of telling lies that the MPs are refusing to honor the calls out.

He said that the Constitution which protects the executive also respects the MPs and wondered why the minister of home affairs wants to change the constitution to allow the police to treat MPs differently.

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