Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo says he will not spare any criminals regardless of who they are.
And Kampyongo has described Chishimba Kambwili as a drowning man trying to hang on to others for survival.
Police last night combined forces with the Drug Enforcement Commission, Immigration and other security wings to raid Chibolya compound in a continued crack down on illicit drugs in Lusaka.
The officers recovered drums, bags and safes filled with all sorts of narcotic drugs and apprehended the suspects among them, an ex-convict popularly known as Seven Spirits.
Speaking to journalists after he inspected the narcotic drugs which were confiscated today, Kamyongo said his officers would continue raiding areas which were notorious for drug trafficking because narcotic substances are what triggered unrest in the country.
“To us this is an ongoing, its work in progress and you are going to see a little bit of more. It’s like I said in Parliament the other day that we are going to pursue criminals where ever they are and regardless of what they are doing. And this is in the quest to bring this nation to order and ensure that peace prevails because these are the substances that trigger the breakdown of law and order. So am proud of my officers on what they have done and like I said to them, I was with them throughout their operations and I want to make sure that we do everything possible to make sure that their work is made easier,” Kampyongo said.
He said government would continue revising some of the rehabilitation programs for traffickers.
“It’s unfortunate that again this one, Seven Spirits, has been caught up when the drug enforcement had tried to rehabilitate [him]. You know he was convicted, he served and then he was put on rehabilitation program which we thought was going to help him but it wasn’t to be. And so I think we shall continue revising some of these programs but again we also have to look at the source, where is this chamba coming from? You remember sometime back we used to have programs of going through these provinces to sensitize the people that are cultivating these substances so that we deal with the source as well as the market,” Kampyongo said.
The Minister said government would expedite the process of upgrading slums.
“I know that slum upgrade is a program of government and I think that Chibolya has been one of those areas but even when I was at Local government and collectively as government, we want to do the slum upgrade which will be inclusive of everybody without leaving anyone behind. What we have seen of late is commercial interest, people going to buy-off those that are in those areas where they are interested in and they don’t care, pay them off, they don’t care about where they go and end up starting other slams. But we would want slum upgrade that takes care of existing interests. In this case, those that are domicile in those slums must be catered for so that the development is shared,” Kampyongo said.
“I think now looking at what we have discovered; we need to just maintain our presence in this area and many other areas, not only Chibolya and its not only Lusaka, Copperbelt is equally the same. And so we are just going to holistically plan for these areas and ensure that our presence is felt and we don’t leave a gap for these criminal activities to take route and regroup.”
He also said he would tighten security at the border posts to stop the inflow of illicit drugs.
“First of all you must know that Chibolya has been a notorious place and I think this is the second time we have undertaken a joint operation there. And am sure you are able to see for yourself the armed staff that has been recovered during the operation and there is still more in addition to what you have seen and that is a concern to us and it’s a concern to the nation. You can’t have these substances in huge quantities being out there on the market. What is it doing to our children?” Kampyongo said.
“We know that Drug Enforcement Commission for example has had limitations in terms of manpower and their presence in boarder areas. So we have to ensure that we plan the manpower aspect under the Drug Enforcement Commission so that their presence can also be equally felt. And like you have put it, most of these substances are coming from across the borders, so we have to make sure that we are alert at the ports of entry.
He said the three security wings would give a joint statement to give details of how much substance had been confiscated as well as those apprehended.
And Kampyongo described Kambwili as a drowning person trying to hang on to others for survival.
“You know if you have done swimming lessons, they tell you of survival skills when you are swimming. If someone is drowning, you don’t help them when they are still energetic, you let them settle. Mr Kambwili is like a drowning person, you know what it feels to be fired for corruption and so you want to hang-on on anyone you can hang-on [to]. Ask him to show you the proof, that is what I can say, I don’t want to engage in strantums, am beyond that, av got a lot of work to do just as you can see,” said Kampyongo.
The Minister was accompanied by Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga, Drug Enforcement Commissioner Alita Mbahwe, Lusaka province police Commissioner Nelson Phiri and Police Spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo among others.
Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo later issued a statement saying 134 people had been arrested.
“During the operation, 134 persons were apprehended out of which 42 were for drug related offences, 87 were for immigration related offences while four (04) were for general crimes such as possession of property suspected to be stolen.
All the suspects are detained in Police custody. However, the quantity of the seized drugs is yet to be established,” stated Katongo.
Meanwhile, just before the Minister’s arrival for the inspection of the confiscated drugs, one of the suspects kept complaining to journalists that he was arrested despite helping police with their operation.
“Ninebo nachilabalanga ati umu nomu, but banchinkakilako newakayele, abene ba fyamba aba uku (I was just helping the officers to show them where the chamba was but they decided to arrest me an innocent man. The owners of the drugs are here). Nshishibe nga ukusunga dread ekundetelele, katwishi (I don’t know if keeping dreads has caused this),” the suspect complained.