Kabwe district police commanding officer Lemekani Chirwa has assured electoral stakeholders that he is not a coward who will apply the law selectively during by elections.
Chirwa said this after the stakeholders challenged police to be impartial in their implementation of the Electoral Act during a meeting held in the council chamber ahead of Thursdays’ Chililalila ward elections in Bwacha constituency today.
One of the polling agents, Bornfrey Moonga, demanded to know why police were reluctant to act on electoral offences committed by Patriotic Front cadres.
“Why is it that when an offence has been committed by someone from the opposition, the police are quick to act? And yet when the same offence is committed by the opposition arrests will be made quickly. I am bringing out issues that we know have happened before,” asked Moonga amidst loud affirmations from others in the room.
UPND district youth chairperson Ahmed Lubinga also questioned police’ commitment to curb electoral violence.
Lubinga disclosed that in 2016, one of their candidates was picked up at his shop in Kamushanga and taken to Mpima area where he was beaten.
He alleged that four perpetrators were arrested but later released on instructions from unknown people.
“Our candidate for Kalonga ward, Humble Mudala, in the 2016 general elections was picked up by four suspected PF cadres who beat him up mercilessly. These perpetrators were arrested by police at Kabwe central police station after they were positively identified. To our surprise when we went to the police station later in the day, we found that they had been released” said Lubinga.
In response, Chirwa assured the stakeholders that there will be no segregation in the manner the law will be applied in the district.
He declined to comment on Mudala’s case on grounds that he was not operating in Kabwe at the time.
Chirwa, however, said if others were cowards who could not apply the law fairly, was is not such a person.
“I may not comment on the matter of Mr Mudala because I was not there at the time. But I can assure you that the law will be implemented without any segregation. If others are cowards, I am not one myself. Police officers should not be perceived as anyone’s enemy. Feel free to approach us for help. As police officers, we are not aligned to any political party. Our role as police is to provide security to all citizens. It is the law which guides us and not individual or political interests” said Chirwa.
The Chililalila seat fell vacant after George Chewe died.
Those vying for the seat are Edward Phiri of the ruling Patriotic Front, Yusuf Kondowe of the UPND and an independent candidate Kelvin Mukule.
The area has 3,200 registered voters.