President Edgar Lungu says criminal elements will not be allowed to destroy Zambia’s reputation as a peace-loving country regardless of whether or not they wear political or religious attires.

And President Lungu has asked the Zambia police service to ensure that the Katuta by-election is peaceful, saying the ruling party stands to lose more from violence.

Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampypongo has asked President Lungu to continue ignoring detractors who lament without providing any solutions.

Speaking when he commissioned the newly constructed Chibombo Police Housing Units, President Lungu also condemned the gruesome murder of a Chinese couple, urging residents to cooperate with police in bringing the murderers to book.

“We are internationally well known as friendly and peaceful people. Therefore, our security officers and agencies must double their efforts to ensure we maintain our reputation. We should not allow criminal elements whether from amongst us or abroad to destroy our reputation as a beacon on peace and unity. Crime in any form has no place in our country. This brings me to the recent gruesome murder of a business couple in Mumbwa which made extremely saddening news not only in Mumbwa but to the entire country. Our men and women in uniform must work round the clock and being all perpetrators of this heinous crime to book,” President Lungu said.

“Let me take this opportunity on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of Zambia to express our condolences to the families of the two Chinese nationals who lost their lives in Mumbwa at the hands of these criminals. Our sympathy and condolences are also extended to the Chinese community in Zambia and the people of the people’s republic of China. Such gruesome murders are fortunately not so common in Zambia but when we’re hit like this, we must take responsibility and we must not allow this kind of heinous crime to distabilise our peace. It is therefore incumbent upon us as residents where this crime was committed to support the Zambia Police Service to ensure that perpetrators of this heinous crime as brought to book sooner rather than later and we must not leave them any more room to commit more crimes.”

He said PF was committed to ensuring that Zambia remained a peaceful country.

“My government, the PF government remains committed to ensuring that Zambia remains secure and safe for Zambians, foreign investors and indeed to visitors. We will not be intimidated by criminal elements whether these criminals dress up in political attire or religious attire. We are determined to ensure that we have all criminals elements in our communities and prosecute them,” President Lungu said.

“We must rise above the criminal elements and work towards the promotion of peace and harmony in our communities and amongst all the people who work and live in Zambia.”

And President Lungu asked police to maintain peace in Katuta.

“Lastly, there will be elections in Katuba but I hope you have seen that police are arranging to deal with law breakers. The Inspector General of Polixz assured me that the demo was just a sample of what our men can do and also a promise to assure the people of Katuba that they will vote peacefully. I will come for campaigns in Katuba personally…so to my colleagues in the province led by my colleague honorable Remember Mutale and even in the districts, Chibombo and all surrounding areas and indeed Katuba, please show them that we can hold an election peacefully. Remember, we have got a lot of lose as a ruling party in government in the face of violence in any election, our friends have got nothing to lose at all,” he said.

He also reiterated government’s commitment to providing decent housing for police officers.

“The commissioning of 38 housing units here in Chibombo, a largely rural area confirms my government’s resolve to provide decent housing to all our security forces regardless of where they serve the Republic of Zambia. I have said this before but I will keep saying it since some people don’t see what we’re doing,” said President Lungu.

Meanwhile, Kampyongo advised President Lungu to continue ignoring detractors.

“To you sir, we encourage you to continue being what you have been. Not responding to headlines, to detractors who have got no time but to just lament and lament without finding solutions to people’s challenges. The Patriotic Front is focused on improving the well being of the ordinary people and not just a few rich and sophisticated characters,” Kampyongo said.

He also implored officers to properly maintain the newly constructed houses.

“Let also appeal to my officers and the Inspector General that we only demand discipline, loyalty and commitment to duty. We are doing our part but know also your duty. And when we say loyal, we are not requesting you to be partisan. We know where we recruit members for Patriotic Front so we wouldn’t want anyone to be partisan in the Zambia Police Service. Let me also appeal to our members from Nkwazi, you are the ones who feel the pinch of living in dilapidated homes and therefore, Kanganja and your team, I’d like you to come up with an inspectorate team to see how your Nkwazi women will be looking after these houses. Make sure that there’s green environment all the time and maintain the houses and not wait for government to come and maintain the houses after spending so much in constructing them,” said Kampyongo.