NGOCC praises HRC over Vespers investigation findings
By Staff Reporter
NON-Governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has commended the Human Rights Commission (HRC) for undertaking an independent investigation into the death of Vespers Shimuzhila.
In a statement, NGOCC board chairperson Mary Mulenga demanded the arrest and prosecution of police officers for causing the death of the 4th year student, Shimuzhila on October 5, 2018.
“As an organization we also support the recommendation that the Shimuzhila family should immediately institute legal proceedings against the State and its agents for the arbitrary loss of Vespers’ constitutionally guaranteed and birth right to life, so that they can be adequately compensated. We look forward to the legal fraternity to step in and assist the Shimuzhila’s family in their quest to seek justice,” she said.
Mulenga stated that it was clear that Vespers died as a result of suffocation caused by the police who were firing teargas canisters and hand-held grenades into student hostels.
“The investigation by the Commission has vindicated the long-held view, by most citizens, that the Zambia police was unprofessional in the handling of the unrest at the University of Zambia. This further brings to the fore the fact that women and girls in many instances are rendered unnecessarily vulnerable and end up facing the brunt of such brutality and indeed violent acts,” she said.
She demanded that the Inspector General of Police, Kakoma Kanganja, in his capacity as the in-charge of the police to take full responsibility of the death of Vespers.
“It is our call on the police command to ensure that this predicament works to change the growing unprofessional tendencies within the Police Service and that immediate pragmatic action is taken to refocus the police to its noble duty of “protecting life and property” and not perpetrators of brutality and human rights violations,” she said.
She further said that NGOCC would monitor and advocate to ensure that recommendations in the report were implemented and the culprits brought to book for justice to prevail.