Copperbelt Police Chief Joyce Kasosa has defied directives from Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili to stop harassing pirate taxis saying that she is duty bound to enforce the law.
Kasosa said her officers will not relent and would instead step up patrols aimed at stopping pirate taxi drivers from operating because they were breaking the law.
“Police officers will continue carrying out patrols aimed at stopping pirate taxi drivers from operating and those who feel harassed are perfectly free to report the harassment to police stations in their respective areas,” she said
She was reacting to a statement by Kambwili on ZNBC TV in which he directed police officers to stop harassing pirate taxi drivers because that was how they made ends meet.
But Kasosa denied that police officers were harassing pirate taxi drivers, but were merely carrying out patrols to minimise the rise in number of pirate taxis on the Copperbelt.
“I don’t remember the minister saying that we should stop carrying out patrols to stop pirate taxi operators, but he said that we should not harass them. In any case, we don’t even harass them, We just carry out our duties of stopping pirate taxi operators by impounding their vehicles and make them pay a fine to have their vehicles released,
“As police officers, we will not stop carrying out patrols to stop pirate taxi operators because it is our duty to enforce the law. If there are people who are being harassed by the police carrying out patrols, they should report the harassment to the various police stations in their areas,” Kasosa said.
Police officers have been carrying out patrols in Kitwe and other parts of Copperbelt with the aim of curbing the rising number of pirate taxis.
The police patrols have reportedly been necessitated by complaints and protests from mini bus operators who claimed that they were losing business to pirate taxis.
But, pirate taxi operators have also been complaining about police patrols in Kitwe city business centre and last week blocked Independence Avenue with burning tyres and logs.