Accusations that Stephen Kampyongo has unlawfully taken over the commanding of police operations are not farfetched.
“Power has gotten to Kampyongo’s head and he is terribly abusing the police. He is directly commanding police operations. He tells the police who to arrest, who deny a permit for a meeting or protest. We know that even in Chinsali it is Kampyongo who was commanding the police to occupy Dr Fred M’membe’s house at Mwika Royal Village to settle his political scores. Public prosecutors are forced by Kampyongo to prosecute cases that don’t make sense at all resulting in embarrassing outcomes. This is not only undermining the credibility of our prosecution system but also unnecessarily clogging the court system. Political opponents are being persecuted by Kampyongo using the police. This is gross abuse of the police and it must be stopped. Kampyongo is not fit to be Minister of Home Affairs. That job requires a mature, sober and reasonably educated person, preferably with some legal knowledge. That ministry is too important to leave to a reckless fellow like Kampyongo,” read the accusations against Kampyongo.
These charges against Kampyongo are not baseless or malicious. They are backed by Kampyongo’s own utterances.
In February last year, Kampyongo bragged that the only job he knew was to arrest those that insult Edgar Lungu.
Kampyongo bragged that he was in charge of the police and that when one sees police acting, they should know that he is behind it. “We don’t have size; even if you say forward [UPND slogan] and go back, revise. Ala ifwe tatwakwata na size. You insult Kateka, twalonga, enchito twaishiba ifwe,” bragged Kampyongo. “When you see Charity Katanga (Copperbelt police commissioner) acting, know that Kampyongo is behind, that is the football we play us. Those foreigners who come and do other things, immigration comes in, then you know it’s me (Kampyongo).”
Where is political neutrality of the police? Is Kampyongo a neutral person to be in charge of directing police arrests? Kampyongo is openly and in the most brazen way admitting interfering with police work. Is it the job of the Minister of Home Affairs to order arrests of anyone whom he thinks has broken the law? Where is the rule of law here? Isn’t the police supposed act independently?
How can a police that is being told who to arrest by a politician be expected to be fair and impartial? Is Kampyongo fair and impartial? The Minister of Home Affairs is not the chief of police – he is not police officer and has no police powers. What we are seeing from Kampyongo is simply an abuse of power, a hijack of police powers.
One needs to be trained as a police officer to be able to carry out police functions. You can’t come from Katondo Street and head the police. Kampyongo is not head of the police to command police officers on who to arrest or whose house they should occupy. That is the job of the Inspector General of Police. Even if Kampyongo had joined the police, he would be nowhere near the police command given his low level of education. Katanga he is talking about is a qualified lawyer. What is Kampyongo?
The police must ensure impartiality and professionalism in their conduct at all times. But how can they be expected to be impartial and professional when they are acting on orders from a charlatan like Kampyongo who knows nothing about policing professionalism?
This political abuse of the police will backfire. Kampyongo is not Zambia’s first Minister of Home Affairs and will certainly not be the last. The same police they are today abusing will be the same police to be used on them when another party comes into power. We urge them to heed Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s 1969 advice on the police:
“Nothing would be more dangerous than to confuse men and women who are responsible for the maintenance of law and order in any country. UNIP members, therefore, apart from the fact that they are humanists, must remember that even for their own good, their fellow workers in the Police Force must be left to deal with the maintenance of law and order in the way they were trained…We will create a very dangerous situation if we should want to control every police unit…otherwise chaos will follow, and I am sure no true UNIP member would like to see this. In other words, remember that while today it is you at the giving end; tomorrow it may be you at the receiving end.”
Dr Kaunda had given similar advice in 1966:
“First and foremost must come the quality of impartial fair play for I do not wish my policemen to be partisans to the many political and tribal feuds that may emerge in our country, as has happened in others. The worst policeman so far as I am concerned is that man who will not admonish or arrest another because he is of the same tribe, race or political sympathy. Equally reprehensible is the policeman who will not do his duty for fear that, because he is of a different tribe, race or political feeling, his deeds will be misunderstood. If you find yourself in a position of compromise against the principles of fair play and impartiality, then be humble enough to seek God’s guidance because neither the present nor the future generation will forgive you for betraying the many people who have died and suffered in the struggle to bring forth this independent land.”
In future if there are any legal actions taken against the Zambian people through the State, those who issue illegal directives and orders must bear the liability. This is how impunity would be controlled. Those in authority must not hide their iniquities they commit against Zambians through their use of State institutions they preside over.