Gender Minister Elizabeth Phiri says if the abuse of firearms cannot be contained, the Police command must consider giving guns to selected few law enforcers while the rest of the officers are armed with sticks, so that they don’t endanger the lives of innocent citizens.

Reacting to the shooting rampage by a State House police officer over the Easter long-weekend, Phiri said it was saddening that law enforcement officers were endangering lives instead of protecting.

“Maybe, we need more research on this. Why is it happening like this? What has gone wrong? Where is the law lacking that these people cannot abide by the laws that they are trying to implement? The police are there to provide security and if people cannot be safe in the hands of the law enforcers, those that are supposed to provide security, then we don’t know where we are going. So, I am appealing to the police high command to start implementing the laws of how and who to give firearms, because to me as a Minister of Gender, I am saying maybe if we just arm them with sticks because if the guns can be injurious to the communities, then we don’t know who will protect us. We are supposed to run to the police officers,” she added.

“I am appealing to the police high command to try and think over and maybe try to give these officers extra training on fire arms because it cannot be the police all the time. You know there is police brutality in cells! Last time, we saw the police killing the ZAF man at Woodlands. So, they don’t really provide the security that we are looking for; instead, they are the perpetrators of injury to the people and to the community.”

“We have also discovered that the people that are supposed to be protecting lives are the people that are violating the laws of the land! You know, police officers are given that training on how to handle a gun, but instead of using these firearms positively, they are there using it to endanger other people’s lives. There was another story of a police officer shooting a fellow police officer in Munali because of something that could have been resolved outside court. And what I don’t know is whether that police officer who shot a fellow officer has been arrested. If he has not been arrested, I am appealing to the police that they should pursue the matter even if it involves a fellow police officer,” Phiri said.

“A criminal whether in uniform or (not) is a criminal. And recently, we heard about a police officer who went on a shooting rampage, two dead and others are still nursing serious injuries. This was uncalled for. The reason behind it was very irrelevant.”