Mazabuka central UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo has observed that there has been a rise in the deportation of religious people since the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs was created.

And Nkombo says there is a lot of political interference going on in the recruitment of officers in the police service, immigration department and the correctional services.

In seconding a policy statement announced by Vice-president Inonge Wina in Parliament on Friday, Nkombo said the immigration department had become political after the creation of the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.

“Mr Chairman, in immigration we are told there is excessive corruption to get people who do not qualify to come here into this country and I am talking about the inflow of human beings in this country. On the outflow, we are also told that there is too much corruption and I want to say this, Mr Chairman, according to the records that we have,” he said.

“There have been much more deportations of religious people ever since the Ministry of National Guidance and religious Affairs was formed and that should tell you a story why its no longer strange to hear that a pastor as been deported because of political interference.”

And Nkombo noted that there could be some invisible hands that were helping to recruit incompetent people based on their relationships in the three departments.

“We are aware that the immigration department has shifted in terms of recruitment, and because immigration and police as well as the correctional services do deal with inland security, it only makes sense that they are in one cluster. Mr Chairman, in supporting this vote, we have some few reservations to make and a few comments. Allow me to say the employment of officers under these three departments must always carry the face of this country in terms of region, tribal affiliation and there is a way in which it should be done. The Constitution actually dictates that recruitment in the civil service should be done in no particular lines,” Nkombo said.

“It is disheartening, Your Honour the Vice-President, to learn that more often than not when recruitment is done in these areas, the people come from the city to provinces to go and be interviewed through their connections… Let’s take Kasama for example, if there is recruitment going on in Kasama there is a habit of people who are in authority to send their relatives to go into those provinces for their relatives to be employed. It is clear that the police service is supposed to be friendly to the community because it becomes easy to engage. Therefore, we suspect that the issue of employing these officers based on the qualifications is not followed because there are a number of specifications of what a police officer should look like. But that is not what we see in this country of ours, Mr Chairman.”

Nkombo further observed that there was a lot of alcohol abuse amongst police officers which paused a big challenge on their delivery of service.

“Mr Chairman the other challenge we face with the police and the people they employ does not only begin at the low rank and file, it all goes up to the top, unfortunately. Why is it so? It is because there is political interference which I already alluded to at recruitment where people are recruited based on kinship, tribe and patronage,” said Nkombo.

The biggest problem we have and I hope the Minister of Home Affairs would agree with me is that the most seen discontentment about the police service today is alcohol abuse, balakolwa sana bakapokola ba chairman (police officers abuse alcohol a lot, Mr Chairman). This means that police officers get inebriated so much for them to be able to perform their functions and today its no longer strange to hear that a police man got drunk and has lost his riffle.”