[By Siabana Kelvin in Kasama]
POLICE in Northern Province has sent over 650 officers to maintain law and order before, during and after the campaign for the Chilubi Island parliamentary by-election slated for February 13, 2020.
Northern Province police commissioner Richard Mweene said the police had tightened the security system on Chilubi Island by preparing early to avoid lawlessness in the area.
Mweene said that out of more than 650 police officers who have been deployed on the Island, above 350 were from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) section and more than 300 uniformed officers from different police divisions of the province.
Mweene said the police in the province would not tolerate any lawlessness from any political cadres regardless of their political affiliation.
He cautioned the cadres both from the Patriotic Front and the opposition to abide by the laws of the land during and after the campaign period on the Island because the peace of the province was bigger than any political party.
He said the police would work in a professional manner as it would not spare any political cadre who would be in conflict with the laws of the country.
Mweene said the police this time does not want the political party cadres to be on each other’s necks by shedding unnecessary blood because of a by-election.
“The life of a human being is important than a by-election because elections come and go but once a human life is lost, it is gone forever and there is no replacement, hence political players should practice their political affairs in a peaceful manner on Chilubi Island,” Mweene said.
He said the police would mount checkpoints in different areas in Chilubi both on the Island and main land in order to monitor movement of the political players.
“Out of every 100 people present in any particular area on the Island, 25 per cent will be plain clothed police officers who will be working undercover in various parts of the Island,” Mweene said.
He said the police would be doing extensive searches for guns and other weapons from private motorists and political players driving in and out of Chilubi Island.
“Any individuals who will be found with a gun or one of the offensive weapons will feel the heavy weight of the police,” Mweene said.
He said he would be on the ground with the police officers doing motorised and foot patrols on the Island day and night during and after the campaign trail.
The Chilubi Island parliamentary seat fell vacant when Rosaria Fundanga of the Patriotic Front died last year in November.
The ruling Patriotic Front has adopted former Kaputa district commissioner Mulenga Fube while the United Party for National Development has fielded in Stanislous Chele who stood as an independent in 2016 and came out second to Fundanga.