FORMER State House Chief Policy Analyst Jack Kalala says it will be difficult for the opposition to campaign in 2021 because the ruling party is determined to use the Zambia Police Service to prolong its stay in power.

Kalala has, however, urged the police to be professional at all times, reminding them of their Constitutional mandate of protecting the nation and the people without fear or favour.

In an interview, Kalala called on the police to reflect on their performance from the time PF came into power, explaining that the police service had a mandate to serve all citizens of Zambia regardless of their political affliction.

“These people (PF) are determined to remain in power and they are going to make it very difficult for the opposition to campaign in 2021 just like they did in Chilubi Island. They will use the police. But my appeal to the police is that they should sit down and review their performance up to now because they don’t exist to serve a political party, they are there to serve the people of Zambia. The police are there to protect Zambians, to give protection to each and every citizen. But if they are given orders to say ‘go and beat up that one because he has spoken, go and arrest that one’, they should refuse,” Kalala said.

“They should follow the law, they should not just arrest people because they have been given instructions, no! They have a Constitution to follow. Otherwise, if they continue to do that…you are aware in fact that even the IG said they are working very well with PF government, that the PF has bought that and that. It’s not the PF that has bought the equipment for the police, it’s the people of Zambia. It is the people of Zambia who paid tax to buy that equipment for the police. Now that equipment is not intended to be used against the people of Zambia. They are supposed to protect the people of Zambia, not PF. PF is just a political party.”

He reminded the police officers that there was life before the PF came into power and that it would continue even after the party was voted out of office.

“Life does not start and end with PF; we have had other political parties in power before in this country, they have come and gone. But the police service remains the same. For example, IG Kanganja, when did he join the police service? He was not employed by the PF government. Most of these senior officers were employed a long time ago…Kanganja was employed during the time of UNIP and the others were employed during the time of MMD. So this shows you that regardless of which party is put in government, the officers should remain neutral. The police should not protect the PF constitution which says that PF should be in power forever. Who told them that it should be in power forever? It’s Zambians who have the mandate to put a political party in power for period of five years. Then after five years, they review the performance of this party and then make a decision. If they decide that this party has not performed well or that this President has not performed well, then they [vote] him out and put in another person and it continues like that. That’s what democracy is all about,” said Kalala.

“So Zambia is a democratic state and the police should defend democracy because that’s what is in the Constitution. There is nothing in the [Republican] Constitution that says PF should be defended, no! What is there is that democracy should be protected: the rights of this country should be protected, the freedoms of speech should be protected along with all the other freedoms of the people and that’s the mandate that the police have and any other person in uniform working in government.”