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We have heard these nice police assurances before

Deputy Inspector General of Police Charity Katanga says police will not allow a situation where one political party monopolises holding of campaigns ahead of the presidential and general elections.

Katanga says police officers are going to execute their duties without fear or favour.

“To the political leaders out there, a month from now Parliament is going to dissolve. We urge them to maintain peace, Zambia is a beacon of peace. Officers are going to execute their duties without fear or favour irrespective of the class of society where someone belongs. So we expect that those who are going to find themselves in conflict with the law, they will face the wrath of the police. Police will be on the ground and have been urged to ensure that they intensify patrols during this period. Also, as they meet the political leaders, those that are going to start campaigns are expected to engage the officers-in-charge so that they present their schedule of campaigns that they

intend to do. But we will not allow a situation where one political party monopolises holding of political campaigns,” says Katanga.

“Our stance as police high command is that Zambia is a multiparty kind of democracy. So it’s expected that it’s not only the ruling party who are supposed to hold meetings. Even opposition political parties are supposed to. So what is important is to ensure everyone is given space. So, we undertake as police command to ensure that the opposition party leaders and their teams are going to be given space and where they are aggrieved our offices are open. If the commissioner has not decided in the manner which they think is not fair then our office is open, we’ll check that because there are other programmes that are lined up through the support of the UNDP and one of the important issues that they are looking at is the management of these particular meetings.”

This is the way things are supposed to be. But this is not the way things have been. These are very nice words from Katanga. But they are not new; we have heard such nice words before from the police. Nice words without nice deeds are worthless.

Katanga herself, as Copperbelt police commissioner, did not conduct her policing duties to these standards. Therefore, we cannot be sure that things will be in accordance with her words or assurances.

Today, there are many cases of political violence by Patriotic Front cadres being reported to the police but no arrests are being made.

The police command has clearly failed to protect its officers from political harassment by Patriotic Front leaders and cadres.

Is this statement just aimed at ensuring the police’s access to UNDP funds?

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