The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has condemned Zambia Police for throwing teargas canisters into students’ hostels at the University of Zambia Great East Campus.
Commission’s spokesperson Samuel Kasankha said that the commission was greatly disappointed with the manner in which police acted to quell disturbances at UNZA after some students blocked the Great East Road pressing for their meals and books allowances.
“The commission is hugely disappointed with the manner in which the police acted to quell disturbances at the University of Zambia (UNZA) where some students had blocked the road as a way of pressing the bursaries committee to release their project (books) and meal allowances.
Mr. Kasankha said that as much as they despised the students conduct to block the road, the commission was highly concerned with the regularity with which the police have become reckless and excited when called upon to maintain law and order.
“Much as we strongly despise those students who were involved for reverting to the much maligned method of inconveniencing innocent road users to make known their grievances, we are concerned with the regularity with which the police become reckless and excited when called upon to maintain or restore law and order,” he said.
He said that facts on the ground suggests that it was a small number of students who were involved in the blocking of the road and there was therefore no need for police to throw teargas canisters into students hostels where the majority students were studying as t hey were preparing for their exams.
Mr. Kasankha said that police must exercise caution at all times and bear in mind that when they are called upon to maintain law and order, they were dealing with human beings whose rights to be presumed innocent till proven guilty must be preserved.
And the commission has also expressed happiness at the transfer of over 600 prisoners from Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison to Mwembeshi, saying the move would help to decongest the prison.
However, some stakeholders have expressed concern in the manner the transfer was done when there were issues surrounding the killing of 8 inmates.
Stakeholders have argued that although the move was well meaning, the failure by both the police and the prisons authority to give satisfactory answers with regards to the death of the 8 inmates was a matter of serious concern.
Inmates from Kabwe were on Saturday under heavy armed police both in air and land transported prisoners to the newly built facility in Mwembeshi which is expected to be officially commissioned today by Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu.