Garry Nkombo says the inhumane condition that detainees at Lusaka’s Woodlands police station are subjected to is heart breaking.
On Friday evening, Nkombo, who went to the police station to visit incarcerated UPP leader Saviour Chishimba, found that part of his holding cell had been flooded due to a plumbing problem.
He narrated that he and other officials were forced to hire a plumber against the police’s wish to rectify the problem, as other flooded cells were occupied by women and children.
“I was here at 17:30 to see Dr Saviour Chishimba. We found that one of the cells was actually flooded with water; there was a very serious plumbing problem and the whole cell, which I suppose should have been for the females or the juveniles was flooded, so they had to put the females in the veranda of the cells and so in our quest to try and get the detainees to be comfortable, we actually ordered a plumber to come and fix this,” Nkombo, the Mazabuka UPND member of parliament, said.
“And the message really is that the Zambia Police and the party in government require to make these cells habitable for people because where there is a flood, it goes without saying that it is a breeding ground for mosquitos and where there are mosquitoes, it means that you are inviting malaria and malaria is a killer.”
He challenged Inspector General of police Kakoma Kanganja and the PF government to stop wasting money on unnecessary ventures but secure funds to rehabilitate police cells and make them habitable for detainees.
“And so I am challenging the Inspector General that instead of buying teargas, instead of spending money in unnecessary ventures, we know there are people who are in conflict with the law, they will always be there but there is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The moment people are detained, they must be [kept under] habitable conditions. What we found yesterday was actually terrible, it was terrible and we had to just come against the police wish to repair the leakage at the back of the cell and we managed to repair it,” said Nkombo.
Chishimba was arrested on Thursday and detained for allegedly defaming President Edgar Lungu. The opposition leader has been a fearless critic of the PF and President Lungu’s leadership.