Don’t be partisan, Lungu tells Police

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has warned the Zambia Police against being partisan in the discharge of their duties because should they be seen to be supporting the ruling party, they risked facing the wrath of the opposition.

President Lungu has however directed the Zambia Police to arrest political hooligans in the habit of engaging in criminal activities such as violence under the guise of being political party cadres.

The President said Zambia’s elections had a history of being fairly free and that it was his desire that the 2016 general elections should not be characterized by violence and other electoral malpractices.

President Lungu said the police should never be seen to be biased in the application of the Public Order Act (POA) and should endeavour to engage political parties in the administration of the law.

The Head of State said he was of the strong belief that some opposition political parties were well-meaning despite having bad elements among their cadres and should therefore be protected by the police. The President said this yesterday at State House after swearing in Kakoma Kanganja as the new Inspector General (IG) of police and his deputy in-charge of administration Eugene Sibote.

President Lungu said he was alive to the fact that police officers had often been accused by the opposition political parties of being biased in the application of the POA, adding that he had not heard civil society organisations complain about the law.

“I had taken time to decide on you and I chose you because we are going for elections next year. Zambia’s elections have a history of being relatively fair and I want the general elections next year to be free of vices such as violence. You must engage the political parties on the application of the Public Order Act and you should not be seen to be supporting the Patriotic Front (PF) because you risk facing the wrath of the opposition. I have not however heard civil society organisations that are not politically inclined complain about the POA,” he said. President Lungu said police should not hesitate to deal with political hot heads because he was concerned that the country’s political environment had been contaminated by what he termed bad elements most of who were masquerading as cadres.

He stated that he had often heard that both the PF and UPND cadres were engaging in criminal acts but directed that the police should not be looking at political party affiliation when dealing with violence.

President Lungu said criminally inclined political party cadres often made their political parties unpopular recalling that UNIP, Zambia’s first ruling party was brought down by vigilantes.

“I have often heard about the PF and the UPND cadres getting involved in violence. The UPND has its own breed of cadres who are criminally minded and as the police, you have tolerated criminality under the guise of such people being party cadres. Arrest them or I am going to arrest you,” President Lungu said.

And the President said permanent Secretaries were the fulcrum of ministries and should therefore be at their best in their performance in their course of duties.

The President said this after swearing in Dr Auxilia Bupe Ponga as permanent secretary for monitoring and evaluation at the Ministry of National Planning and Nalishebo Imataa as chief administrator at the judiciary.

He said the success of ministries depended on how permanent secretaries performed their roles in the administration of their daily duties adding that he was always pleased to continue appointing women in decision-making positions.

“Each time I am swearing in appointees, I am mindful of the fact that Zambia is a member of the SADC and a signatory to many of its protocols. We are working towards the fulfillment of the protocols and I believe that if we are going to leave women behind when they are the anchor of the nation, development will continue to elude us,” President Lungu said.