Copperbelt Police Commissioner Charity Katanga says those forcing the command to pounce on Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo for the murder of NDC Lusaka province youth chair Obed Kasongo should leave the Police to do their job.
Last week, National Democratic Congress (NDC) leader Chishimba Kambwili accused Lusambo of murdering Kasongo, whom he said succumbed to injuries inflicted on him by the Lusaka Province Minister, during the Roan Parliamentary by-elections.
But Lusambo has dismissed these accusations as baseless, further challenging NDC to produce evidence.
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has also urged the Police to arrest any suspect connection to Kasongo’s murder, further expressing concern that the Police were being resistant in the manner they were handling the case.
But when contacted for a comment, Katanga castigated the Human Rights Commission for accusing the Police of being unwilling to arrest suspects.
“Well, the Human Rights [Commission] are not the Police. We do our job, we know how best to handle our job. It’s not about what people say, for assault and other cases, so they order us on what to do? We have a lot of other cases, is it Human Rights who say ‘go and investigate that murder’? No! The Police do their own investigation. So that’s why I am saying let the Police do their job. Do you even know what it takes for someone to be charged with murder?” Katanga asked in an interview on Friday.
“Murder it’s a postmortem to establish that a person has been killed as a result of the injury, that’s the way we investigate murder. So it was premature [for people] to start saying there is inertia to arrest suspects. If I were a reporter, I would advise you to say why can’t you wait until the postmortem is conducted? For a case of murder, before it’s even presented to the office of the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions), you need to have those things. Now are we going to manufacture them because Human Rights Commission has said the Police are not acting?”
Katanga boasted that she was a seasoned police officer who could never be afraid of arresting anyone as long as there was evidence.
“Me as Charity Katanga and as Commissioner of Police for the Copperbelt, I am seasoned. Look at the people that I have dealt with and the ones that I have arrested. We will not work under pressure because if we work under impulse, we will not investigate well and the person may be acquitted. If the suspect is there then a person cannot be taken to Court without a postmortem saying the person died of injuries, and that person [was still in the] mortuary but people were already talking. So what am I supposed to do? How are we going to charge the person with murder without a postmortem? How am I going to manufacture murder? Because to my knowledge, most of those that calling for the arrest are well informed, so how do they not understand that you require the backing of a postmortem report before arresting someone for murder?” she asked.
Katanga said Police would not allow outsiders to teach officers how to do their work.
“The report over that was made a long time ago, but let the Police do their job. I will not start investigating in the media. Let the Police be allowed to do their job, Police are going to rely on the evidence produced and that is the word I gave even when this matter was reported. We are not going to be pushed to say ‘ba police manje chitani so (Police do this and that)’, how many cases do we handle? It’s better they give the Police enough room to do their work. The deceased gave a statement and we are going to rely on the word of the evidence we have. And you know investigations take a long time. So it’s important to let the police hang themselves, give them enough room to do their job,” Katanga said.
Asked why the Police had still not concluded it’s investigations into Kasongo’s assault case which he reported just after it happened on April 11, Katanga said investigations took long.
“We investigate, if someone is injured, a medical report form is issued. Then a statement is recorded from the victim and then after a statement is recorded, investigations are conducted and witnesses brought about then everything is compiled. Yes the matter was reported a long a long time ago but it’s just three weeks ago, it’s not even a month ago. There are a lot of cases that police handle, that’s not just the only case anyway. Sometimes it’s important that people just wait. Someone is in the mortuary but you are saying the Police are not arresting someone for murder. Why not wait for the postmortem to be conducted and everything is in place? Because even if someone is at the Police station, we will not charge them for murder until the same postmortem report has come,” said Katanga.
Kasongo was put to rest on Saturday and the autopsy report stated that he died from hypertension and severe Malaria, much toe the surprise of the relatives and NDC officials.
Kambwili said the report was a complete fabrication which the NDC and Kasongo’s family were working hard to disprove, insisting that Lusambo was responsible for the NDC official’s death.