Be firm but fair on POA – Kanganja

INSPECTOR General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has urged police officers to apply the Public Order Act fairly but firmly to all regardless of their party affiliations.

The Police chief has directed all provincial police commissioners to engage politicians and  civil society organizations to explain the provisions of the Public Order Act.

Mr Kanganja said he was directed by President Edgar Lungu to ensure that the Public Order Act was applied fairly but firmly.

Mr Kanganja said this yesterday at the Police headquarters in Lusaka when he addressed officers.

“The Zambia Police has scaled up preparations for policing the forthcoming general elections in 2016,” he said.

Mr Kanganja said the command had noted the numerous concerns raised by the general public about the partisan position taken by some officers during their discharge of their duties.

“To this effect, all officers have been warned to desist from such behaviour and I wish to assure the Government that any officers found wanting will be shown the exit door,” he said.

He reminded police officers that discipline was the cornerstone of the police service and they must ensure that they adhered to the Police code of conduct at all times.

“Complaints of officers being seen to compromise with cadres involved in breaching the law have sometimes taken centre stage in the press. This is a matter of concern to us which is seriously being addressed because it has the potential to ruin the legitimacy and integrity of the police,” Mr Kanganja said.

He directed police officers to be professional and ethical in their performance.

Speaking at the same occasion, Home Affairs Minister Davies Mwila called for professionalism among police officers ahead of the 2016 general elections.

He said if police officers choose to be selective when carrying out their duties then electoral violence would continue.

Mr Mwila said no police officer should receive directives from any politician in the line of duty, adding that Government had allowed the police to operate independently.

But Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) president George Chisanga feels there is need for an urgent consultative meeting of stakeholders and the Police to discuss the way forward on the implementation of the Public Order Act.

Mr Chisanga bemoaned the continuous political violence in the country.

He said an immediate consultative meeting was the way the country could reduce incidents of political violence.

“I think the political violence in the country is getting a little bit serious and it calls for urgent action, because if this is not addressed as soon as possible, we will not be able to enjoy the peace that we have enjoyed as a nation over the years,” Mr Chisanga said.

He reiterated the need to review the Public Order Act as soon as possible, saying that it would bring order and sanity in the country.