Police Spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo says it is possible that illegal mukula could have been smuggled out of the country and intercepted at Beitbridge because police officers in Zambia do not open containerised trucks for inspection.
And Katongo says officers that brutalised Copperbelt University Students will be disciplined because they used too much force.
Meanwhile, speaking when she featured on Radio Christian Voice’s Chat Back programme, Monday, Katongo also said PF cadres who intercepted trucks loaded with mukula would soon appear in court for theft.
“You know when you look at the check points, as police, once a container is sealed, we don’t break the seals. When they load something in a container from the point of loading, they seal that. What we will only be asking for at the police is the documentation, what is it that you are carrying? We check the documents then people will be able to say that ‘what we are carrying is this and that and these are the documentations.’ Us we just check the documentation and see if they are legal documents or not, then we let them pass. I wish we had gadgets which could screen or see what is inside. Yes, Chirundu has and that is not our job, there we have ZRA and customs and immigration. But as police, we don’t break the seals to check what is inside but in an instant where the container is not sealed, we are able to check,” Katongo explained.
“Those people (PF) cadres will appear in court maybe this week or next week. The complainant is already there. They complained that some documents and money went missing during that operation.”
Asked if officers who manhandled protesting CBU students had been disciplined, Katongo admitted that the force applied on the students was out of proportion and too harsh.
“Police on the Copperbelt had instituted investigations and after watching that video, there were some officers that were identified from that video and even us as police officers, as much as we believe or accept that we were provoked by those students, the reaction was rather too much, it was out of proportion. When you look force, the transforming from a force to a service does not mean that we can no longer use some force. The law still allows for reasonable force and how do you account for that force? You should measure the force with the proportionate, it should be proportionate with the opposing force that is coming. So if you over apply the force, you will be meant to answer as a police officer. So even in that case, the police commissioner for Copperbelt did indicate to say that they had identified the officers and they are yet to find out what has been taken against those police officers. But yes it was too much, the force was too much,” Katongo admitted.
Meanwhile, Katongo said it was embarrassing that some police officers reported drunk for work.
“It is very true [that some officers report for work drunk] and we have seen this through social media because some of our officers have been exposed through social media and we saw them others were even in trenches. It was so embarrassing and what command did was a message was sent to all provinces so that all those officers that were found wanting were sent back for training, they were sent back to Sondela. That is where they had gone to re-do their training and it was hard training that they underwent. That was a correctional measure. We were calling them correctional courses. We will continue even this year we will continue with the same training. Then we have had other instances, depending on the gravity of an offence that someone has committed, others have had their half pay. Half of their salaries forfeited to the state because we do take them through disciplinary tribunals. There are tribunals there, they are tried, if you are found wanting, then you have to be punished,” said Katongo.