FDD president Edith Nawakwi says Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja was out of his mind when he tried to make it easier for the Chinese nationals to smuggle mukula.

And former Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika says Kanganja must be fired for exhibiting incompetence and ignorance.

On Tuesday, the Zambia Police Service experienced a serious backlash after Kanganja commissioned eight Chinese nationals and police reservists.

Thousands of citizens took to social media to express their displeasure, with Lusaka lawyer Dixon Jere observing that the appointments were unconstitutional.

Police Spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo labored to support the decision to commission police reservists on the official Zambia Police WhatsApp group for journalists.

“These are police reserves. The Police Reserves are backed by cap 117 of the Laws of Zambia known as the Zambia Police Reserve Act. The reserves are there to assist the Zambia Police in maintaining Law and order. They are also vital in Community Policing. The Law does not segregate on race. Police reserves put on police uniforms. Section 4 of the Police Reserve Act states that ‘the Reserve shall consist of such persons, resident in Zambia who, having attained the age of 18 years, volunteer for Service in the Reserve and are considered to be suitable for enrollment’,” explained Katongo but people could not have it as they argued that the amended constitution barred foreigners from being recruited into security wings.

But in a brief statement yesterday, Katongo announced that Kanganja had rescinded the decision to commission Chinese nationals as reservists due to public outcry.

“The Inspector General of Police, Mr Kakoma Kanganja has rescinded the appointment of Chinese nationals as Police Reserve Officers. The decision was made after making wide consultations following public outcry which came after the engagement of eight Chinese nationals in to the Zambia Police Reserve Wing yesterday,” stated Katongo, insisting that the appointments were in accordance with the law.

“However, members of the public should be aware that the appointments were not done outside the Law but within the provisions of the Zambia Police Reserve Act, Chapter 117 of the Laws of Zambia.”

Commenting on Kanganja’s u-turn in an interview yesterday, Nawakwi observed that the police chief had wanted to make it easier for the Chinese to engage in criminal activities.

“There is no way someone can wake up from a bad dream and say ‘me I am going to employ a Chinese’. It is okay if they are guarding his house but not all of us. He must take them to his house but we must not see them on the streets,” Nawakwi said.

“I am interested to know what motivated this decision. Maybe it is to say that these Chinese are having problems in transporting Mukula and Rhino horns so it is better that when they are escorting a truck, they see these Chinese in uniform and they pass, who is going to interfere with them? We don’t even know where they came from. Maybe in China they were in the prisons. We know that mukula is leaving the country under the full watch of Kanganja and his policemen. We know that if the police and you got very serious, we wouldn’t have these crimes, so, the alternative is to say ‘let me commission the criminals’. This was a camouflage.”

She said she had nothing against Chinese investors but some jobs were best left to locals.

“Let me be very clear on this issue, we welcome the industrialist Chinese wholeheartedly in the economic sphere of our country but certainly, a Chinese who is cooking nshima at Soweto market, a Chinese who is selling chicken legs at Soweto market, a Chinese who is selling chicken heads, that Chinese is not welcome here. This is not xenophobia, this is patriotism. We haven’t become a banana republic yet and Kanganja should not make us a banana republic,” Nawakwi said.

She also said the police chief was making government look incompetent.

“The problem with our country is that everything is salaula. I want to say categorically that if he has failed to police our nation, he must come out categorically and ask for leave. He is just inconveniencing the government and making the government look completely incompetent by this particular move. I don’t know what minister [Stephen] Kampyongo is doing, whether he has authorized this but I suppose the minister would authorize. There is no way Kanganja single handedly can be so high handed as to jump the gun and go and recruit Senegalese, Congolese, Malians, South Africans, and Zimbabweans, to be in our police reserve,” said Nawakwi.

And Dr Sacika urged President Edgar Lungu to fire Kanganja for incompetence.

The law he has used, the Police Reserve Act, is unconstitutional. No law in Zambia can stand if it is not in accordance with the Constitution. Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has demonstrated incompetence as head of our police to the detriment of our country. President Lungu should therefore relieve him of his position especially in view of this decision to appoint these Chinese nationals against our Constitution. He has exhibited a degree of ignorance or lack of respect for our constitution and the law in the way he is carrying out his duties,” said Dr Sacika.

“As chief policeman, he should not operate outside the law. He has taken oath to respect the Constitution and the laws of the land. This is totally unacceptable. We cannot have a chief of the police operating outside the law.”