The gassing attacks have really exposed the incompetence of this Patriotic Front government.
It’s laughable for the government to fight these attacks with Zambia Army deploying its tanks on the streets and in the compounds. Who are the tanks going to destroy?
Equally, it doesn’t make sense to be flying around Zambia Airforce jets in the fight against gassing attacks. Who are these jets going to bomb?
The militarisation of our cities, towns and compounds is not going to stop the gassing attacks. It is simply going to irritate the population. This is a matter that needs police investigations and not the deployment of heavy military weapons and troops.
Soldiers are not trained to undertake such types of assignments.
Armed-forces personnel are trained to engage and destroy, police officers are trained to protect and to serve. Expecting soldiers to play both roles is expecting too much.
There is a soldiers’ proverb that says “it is better to be judged by 12 than carried by six”.
For combat soldiers, its meaning is clear: when in doubt, shoot first and ask questions later. While civilians may find this violent mindset shocking, it’s important to recognise that we train our soldiers to engage and destroy the enemy in close combat.
The gassing attacks do not require us rethink our traditional reluctance to use the army in policing duties. We should worry about misusing our military for civilian tasks and developing a tendency to rely on the troops to answer every scare.
The use of the army to do police work overawe the public sentiment and acclimate our people to a militarised home front inconsistent with democratic life.
There is no good argument that domestic militarisation is necessary to keep us safe from gassing attacks.
The military is wonderful for destroying enemy troop formations or bombing their positions, but not for finding gassing attackers. Intelligence and old‐fashioned police work are our most potent tools against gassing attacks.
Moreover, using troops to police gassing attacks undermines military readiness. When soldiers are forced into the role of police officers, their war‐fighting skills degrade.
The deployment of soldiers to police gassing attacks makes the public to embrace the notion that civilian institutions are weak and messy, and that when you want the job done, you call in soldiers. That approach will make us no safer — only less free.