Dictator Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s pleasure excursion to neighbouring Bostwana seems to have been overshadowed by the arrest of civil right activists Laura Miti and Pilato. Upon arrival for the independence celebrations of Zambia’s South Western neighbour, the Tswana press reportedly flooded main stream and social media with news of Zambian Police violently breaking up a peaceful demonstration at Parliament, of citizens demanding an answer from their political leaders, over allegations of massive embezzlement of public funds.
Earlier in the day Zambia Police spokesperson Esther Mwata Katongo had summoned Miti for an urgent meeting with the Deputy Inspector General of Police at Force Headquarters. She was warned not to go ahead with the demonstration because Police lacked ‘sufficient’ manpower to man the 8 person peaceful demonstration and asked her to reschedule the protest to another day. As expected Laura Miti refused citing the fact that the protest was meant to coincide with the budget presentation of the Minister of Finance that afternoon at Parliament.
Many watchers believe the reason for Police’s strange ‘request’ was to avoid embarrassing Mr Lungu who was visiting Bostwana at the very period.
Shortly after the arrest of Miti and Pilato, the Police spokesperson released a brief statement where she hinted that the activists would be held in Police custody for the entire weekend. It therefore surprised everyone including the Police themselves and the detainees, that a Police Bond was given to the detainees in the dead of the night, a situation that is completely alien in the compromised Zambian law enforcement culture.
Many analysts also believe that Government is uncomfortable and fatigued with dealing with another case that may take high profile dimensions after the boomerang implosion of the arrest and detention of the UPND President Hichilema that mortally wounded Edgar Lungu and his Government surrogates and cronies, especially that the Commonwealth team of the special envoy Gambari, have their microscopic eyes trained on Zambia.
Many Zambians hope the case of Miti and others will see the light of day in a full court trial inorder to challenge the Police’s double standards of the application of a very unpopular colonial piece of legislation called the Public Order Act where PF cadres can demonstrate as they wish and no one else can. Others however strongly believe the case is headed for a clean sweep under the carpet via a Nolle. As late revered soccer commentator Dennis Liwewe would have said, “Let’s wait and see”.