(By Chambwa Moonga in Kapiri Mposhi)
DEMOCRATIC Party president Harry Kalaba civil servants are now the PF government’s targets of intolerance and that they should sympathise with each other.
And Kalaba says law and order has collapsed in Zambia such that citizens without PF regalia are not safe.
President Edgar Lungu has fired four senior police officers believed to have ordered the beating of PF cadres in Sesheke last week.
Those fired include decorated Sesheke officer commanding Shaapa Wakunguma and his deputy Fleming Chilongo.
Others are Sesheke Police Station officer-in-charge Boniface Lengwe and constable Fridric Mukela.
“SHQ 53/15/14 of 16/02/19XX be informed that the Police Service Commission, acting in the name of, and on behalf of His Excellency the President, has with immediate directed that the following officers are retired in national interest: 1986 Mr Shaapa Wakunguma S/Supt officer commanding Sesheke District, 2672 Mr Chilongo Fleming second officer commanding Sesheke district, 2865 Mr Lengwe Boniface A/Supt officer-in-charge Sesheke district, 40453 Const Mukela Fridric of Sesheke Police Station,” the police notice read in part.
The notice indicated further that the officers’ letters of retirement had been sent by post.
“Inform the concerned officers accordingly XX…this message may be sent as written,” the signed message by DCP read.
The PF, through secretary general Davies Mwila, bitterly complained after police beat up its cadres who were armed with machetes and other offensive weapons on February 12, the polling date in the Sesheke parliamentary by-election.
According to reports from Sesheke, the ruling party cadres were taunting police officers and ordering them to step aside so that they (cadres) do their work because ‘the officers had allegedly failed to carry out their duties.’
Kalaba, in an interview shortly after attending mass at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Kapiri Mposhi on Sunday, said he knew that the Zambia Police was working “under very difficult circumstances.”
He wondered how police officers would work, going forward, in view of the fact that they were being punished for trying to bring law and order in the country.
“We have seen that they are being fired! Where I come from they say mutuka mfumu tatuka imo iyo. If you insult one chief, you have insulted every other chief. So, it is the same with the police officers; the treatment that they have given your friends will also be given to you if you continue aligning yourselves to partisan politics,” Kalaba said.
“My view is that let us work together with you as the police. Your profession is being lowered because even those that should protect you are not protecting you! Be professional and don’t be discouraged by what has happened to your colleagues. In fact, it should fortify you to ensure that you continue working hard in bringing law and order because the anarchy that the PF is proposing cannot be tolerated.”
Kalaba indicated that if it were cadres from the Democratic Party (DP), UPND or “any from other political party, for that matter,” who were beaten by police officers, concerned officers would not have been retired.
“The police officers have only been fired because it’s the PF who have been exposed. I’m telling the police [that] don’t grow weary; it’s only about 28 months before power changes hands. Keep on doing what is right; we are watching. All of you who have been fired, get it from me; I’m going to be president in 2021 and we are going to reverse what has happened,” Kalaba pledged.
“Every Ngwee that you should have gotten as a result of your being fired is going to be paid to you. This country has to be called to order! We are now even bringing civil servants in politics! Why can’t politicians just face each other squarely as politicians instead of borrowing third parties to help them fight this battle?”
The former foreign affairs minister appealed to “all the civil servants to sympathise with each other because they are now targets.”
“Today it’s police officers who are being harassed and tomorrow it will be you, accountants wherever you are as a civil servant. They want every civil servant to be a cadre – tatwasumine (we’ll not agree). We are not going to allow the Patriotic Front to bulldoze its way. People will choose! If it’s some of us, we are prepared to go to Calvary just to ensure that the people’s liberties are secured,” Kalaba noted.
And Kalaba stressed to police officers to always execute their duties professionally because “when I become President, I don’t want this country to begin witch-hunting.”
“We want to heal the divide; we want to ensure that the people live in tranquility. Zambia is for all of us, whether you are in the opposition or you are in the ruling party. We cannot allow a segment of people to hijack the interests of our country,” he indicated.
“My rights are embedded in the Constitution and nobody can take away that from me. All the police that have been fired today [for political reasons], I can rest assure you that in August 2021 they will be reinstated and even be promoted.”
Kalaba further advised police officers to be firm and fair in the execution of the law.
“This country is collapsing in terms of law and order; if you don’t belong to the ruling party you are not safe. If you don’t wear a PF chitenge then you are not safe! What kind of a people are we? That’s why I’m running for office [of Republican President] to ensure that this anarchy is stopped. We need to bring order in this country and nobody will do it if Zambians out there do not stand with me,” Kalaba noted.
He also reiterated that Zambians were inundated by social struggled.
“Everything in this country is collapsing! The only ones who are doing well in this country are the politicians. They are the only ones whose children and relatives are thriving. We want to bring industrialisation in this country like it was in the 60s, 70s and 80s. This country now is a shell of itself! The only people who can take this country to where it should be are the Democratic Party, together with Harry Kalaba,” Kalaba explained.
Reminded that some of his political opponents believed he was unpopular, Kalaba answered: “Time will tell! It’s not a question of being popular [but] it’s a question of who knows where we should go as a country.”
Kalaba, who was accompanied in Kapiri Mposhi by DP national treasurer Justine Nkonge and the party’s Central Province chairman Christopher Noole, also attended mass at Kawama Catholic Church.