The image of the Zambia Police Service has been shattered by its being turned into a wing of the Patriotic Front and will require an enormous effort to repair.
The police have been rendered impotent when it comes to the unruly and criminal behaviour of Patriotic Front cadres. The ruling party’s supporters break the law with impunity. They get away with what nobody else can get away with. They are untouchable. They threaten police officers with being fired or transferred.
And indeed, those police officers who have tried to take them on and stop their criminal conduct, lawlessness, have paid a high price. We have a classic case of Shapa Wakung’uma who was retired “in public interest” for disarming violent Patriotic Front cadres during the Sesheke parliamentary by-election.
No one in the opposition can get away with what Patriotic Front cadres get away with. If you want to get away with crime, just brand your car ‘ECL 2021’ and put on an Edgar Lungu 2016 election campaign T-shirt. No police officer at any roadblock will stop you even if your car is not registered, has no road tax, insurance or fitness certificate. They say ‘boma ni boma’!
There’s no impartial enforcement of the law.
And Chirundu UPND member of parliament Douglas Syakalima is right when he says the Zambia Police Service must make amends with citizens.
Syakalima says the Zambia Police currently deems itself as an arm for the ruling party.
“We shouldn’t be protecting Zambia Police out of nothing. Zambia Police must be told that their image is a shattered image. The perception of most Zambians is that the Zambia Police have got no image at all to write home about. Once we start telling them that, they must change. It is for the good of the nation and the good of the Zambia Police itself,” Syakalima told members of parliament.
“Zambia Police must make amends with the citizens. Zambia Police should start showing an image of peace; they must start showing an image of a police service which is likable by society. Their thinking now is that they are police for the ruling party, and not police for society. So, immediately you get out of power, which you are likely to do, they will behave the same way to hurt an opponent, because you will be opponents yourselves. So let us build a better society together; let Zambia Police be a community service institution. I pray that God Who is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient, may God leverage to those people who lost their loved ones at the hands of excited police officers who did extrajudicial killings on innocent citizens.”