Minister of Home Affairs Steven Kampyongo says the violence which characterised the Sesheke Parliamentary by-election was caused by UPND supporters and failure by the Police to act professionally.
And Kampyongo says government disciplined the four Sesheke police officers for being involved in partisan politics during the by-election.
Meanwhile, Kampyongo has advised members of parliament to notify police when visiting their constituencies for their own safety.
In a ministerial statement to Parliament, Thursday, Kampyongo said investigations were ongoing to fish out all police officers who involve themselves in partisan politics.
“The incidences of violence recorded during the by elections were dominant in Sesheke as they accounted for 83 percent of the total cases recorded. The violence recorded in Sesheke was caused by members of the opposition UPND who were close to the candidate while some supporters of the PF are responsible for the violence in Mukomba ward of Lundazi. In Isoka, Lundazi and Chililabombwe, effective, professional and ethical policing, prevented the isolated cases of violence from getting out of control. In Sesheke, however, neglect of duty by those responsible for protection of lives and property and maintenance of law and order, coupled with polarised political environment and fear, resulted in violent incidences getting out of control. In poor policing in Sesheke was evident by failure by the police to follow up serious criminal incidents including a case of arson in which a house was set on fire, resulting in the loss of property and the house itself. The police failed to follow up any of the criminal cases that were reported to them by taking action,” Kampyongo said.
And Kampyongo said government would not allow police officers to be partisan, hence the firing of the four police officers in Sesheke.
“My government is also committed to ensuring that the Zambia Police Service continues to be professional and ethical at all times, and dedicated to the preservation of public security at all times. Police officers who are politically inclined would therefore not be allowed to remain in the Zambia Police service. In the Sesheke incidence, the Police Service Commission has since disciplined four officers for unprofessional conduct. In this regard, it should be noted that my government has always condemned the involvement of police officers in politics. Accordingly, officers who breach the professional and ethical code cannot remain in the service as allowing politicians in the service could destroy it and undermine the security of the nation,” Kampyongo said.
“The Police Service Commission is still investigating to see if apart from those officers who have already been disciplined, there could be others. And they have assured me that they will do everything possible to ensure that the police perform their duties professionally and above board, and we are not going to tolerate those who are inclined, either to the PF or indeed UPND, or any other party. There will be no room for partisan politics in the Police Service and so we shall continue to make sure that we monitor that. And in the forthcoming Bahat by-election, the police will work closely with the region division there to ensure that everything is done to effectively police the by-elections there.”
And in response to a follow up question by Katombola UPND MP Derick Livune, who wanted to find out if he was not conflicted by being minister of Home Affairs and PF national youth chairperson, Kampyongo said there was no conflict of interest in his duties.
He, however, said he was not happy, as national youth chair, with the way Police beat up PF cadres in Sesheke.
“I want to tell you that even the youths that I lead, understands me very well when it comes to lawlessness and there is no conflict of interest at, because if a youth breaks the law, everybody including us here are subjected to the same laws. Even the youths my youths know that I don’t stand with them when they commit wrong acts and I can share with you that I could have been the first to condemn my youths who were brutalised if indeed they were arrested and charged. But certainly, I felt for them as their leader looking at them with the cuts that they had, just like I would feel for the youths of UPND,” Kampyongo said.
Kampyongo advised members of parliament to notify police when visiting their constituencies for their own safety.
“Mr Speaker allow me also to address the point of order by Honorable Elijah Muchima, MP for Ikelengi on his harassment by security officers during his visit to his constituency. This occurred on the 25th January in Ikelengi constituency and the matter was resolved amicably and I can confirm that the Honourable MP called me on phone and I called the commissioner of the division for Northwestern to intervene in the matter to ensure that the MP was accorded the due respect. I wish to inform this house that MPs are at liberty to visit their constituencies, however, to enhance personal safety, MPs should only notify the Police when touring their constituencies. The notification is for the information of the local police command in case of any eventualities,” said Kampyongo.