The Police are not helping or indeed enhancing the image of President Sata and the ruling Patriotic Front Government. If anything their selective arrests and prosecutions are going a long way in projecting the image of Zambia as a Police State under a dictatorship.
The image of Andrew Banda being manhandled into a Police vehicle will linger in the minds of many Zambians for many years to come.
More so that the arrest was associated with the alleged defamation of the President Mr. Michael Sata, who had himself earlier in Chipata cast very serious and disparaging aspersions on the parentage of his fellow political leaders Hakainde Hichilema and Fr. Frank Bwalya.
The whole exercise was patently unfair, unjust and totally uncalled for. It carried the hall marks of a rogue police state.
Zambians countrywide saw the heavy handedness of overzealous police who were determined to make a show of their authority and in a way indicating that they were working under instructions to victimize the former Presidents son.
That single event symbolized the selective and perhaps vindictive nature in which the Police are being employed to deal with perceived regime critics.
Chipata Police have failed to arrest and prosecute PF thugs who kidnapped and tortured Chadiza MP Allan Mbewe. They failed to arrest another miscreant who discharged a firearm at a public gathering thereby causing panic and confusion which resulted in a breach of the peace.
And yet the same Police had the capacity to mobilize resources to follow Andrew Banda to Lusaka to affect an arrest, detention and transportation back to Chipata to answer the charge of defaming the President.
Was it necessary to man- handle him into a Police vehicle in full view of the media, only to be taken to the Woodlands Police Station to be held over overnight in order to respond to a bailable offence in Chipata?
Was it really not possible to serve Andrew Banda with a call out notice as he came out of the Magistrate Court, asking him to report to Chipata Police Central at a particular date and time, for an arrest or warn and caution statement to be administered?
In whose interest was the dramatic arrest made in Lusaka?
It is true that President Levy Mwanawasa said Zambians had a short memory, but he was not right. Zambians have long memories. They remember injustice and punish it at the polls, UNIP learnt the lesson the hard way and so did MMD.
Zambians will remember that laws were ignored, injuries pushed under the carpet as selective arrests were affected when it suited some powerful individuals and as the Bembas say “Umulandu taubola”