THE Japanese Embassy says it has not made any bicycle donations to the Government of the Republic of Zambia or to the Zambia Police.
The Embassy told News Diggers that the Ministry of Home Affairs might have made a mistake to allege that the bicycle donation came from Japan, saying “maybe it was another country”.
Following a trending social media image of an officer posing on a police branded bicycle, citizens demanded to know how the bicycles would be used and the cost for procuring them.
It was alleged that the bicycles were procured at a cost of US$700, 000, a claim which both the Ministry and the Zambia Police dismissed.
Responding to the allegation, Ministry of Home Affairs public relations officer, Nephas Chifita said the 1,000 bicycles in question were donated by the government of Japan through the Embassy in Lusaka.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs wishes to refute media speculations that government has bought one thousand bicycles at a cost of US$ 700,000 breaking the cost of one bicycle to US$700,00 which is equivalent to K700.00, as fictions, malicious and meant to mislead by Zambians. The accurate information is that these bicycles were a donation by the Government of Japan to the Zambia Police Service to facilitate policing in places that cannot be accessed using motor vehicles. The Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja after the donation directed that the bicycles be distributed to all provinces under the community services directorate to enable Victim Support Unit officers and other specialised units to carry out sensitisation programs,” stated Chifuta.
“We wish to warn individuals and cliques with the habit of posting false and malicious articles on social media to desist from the practice as the act amounts to criminality. Furthermore, we wish to advise members of the public to disregard the information with the contempt it deserves.”
The following day, Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja issued a statement to the effect that some of the bicycles were bought, while the rest were donated to the service and meant for use by officers under the Victim Support Unit (VSU) and the Community Services Division (CSD).
“This will enable the officers to respond to complaints in areas that are difficult to access by use of motor vehicles. Additionally, we have received donations of bicycles from various stakeholders which are meant for effective policing. I therefore urge members of the public to support the work that the Government is doing for the men and women in uniform and avoid dragging the Zambia Police Service into politics,” said Kanganja.
But the Japanese Embassy distanced itself from the donation.
Responding to a press query, the Embassy clarified that at no point did they ever donate bicycles to the government of Zambia.
“It seems like the press release from the Ministry of Home Affairs is mistaken. The Government of Japan has not rendered any bicycle to the government of Zambia. It could be some other country, but kindly refer to the Ministry of Home Affairs for details.” stated the Embassy.
News Diggers reverted to Ministry of Home Affairs Spokesperson to ascertain if there was a mix up on fact on the donation from the Embassy, but Chifita insisted that the bicycles were a donation from the Japanese Government.
“The 100 bicycles were donated and nine have been distributed to each province. Don’t believe what you see on social media that is the work of the opposition and their propagandist teams. That information is stale we don’t repeat the same things. Things that were there last week, we don’t repeat them this week. People will be laughing at you. Why should you be repeating things that are already in public domain? That is not news anymore,” Chifita said.
Asked if there was a handover ceremony where the Japanese Embassy made the donation, Chifita responded in the affirmative, adding that the donation was made directly to the Zambia Police.
“The donation was made to Police service not to the ministry. I don’t fall under the police service I fall under the Ministry of Home Affairs. And of course you see, whenever there is a donation, how does it get over to an institution if there is no handover ceremony? It is a must it was there, obviously the handover ceremony was there. How does the police get hold of the bicycles without a handover ceremony from the Japanese government? The handover was done between the police service and the donating institution. You need to understand that other institutions like you, there are some that wish to be publicise when they are donating, and others want to do it silently. But I am not saying that, that is how it was, no.” said Chifita.
Asked to state the date that the donation was made, Chifita said he could not recall, but insisted that the handover ceremony took place where the Embassy made the donation.
Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said he was not available for a comment as he was at State House at the time.