HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says government is procuring security equipment to safeguard the peace of the nation from reckless individuals who want to put the country on fire.

And Kampyongo says the issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs) is not a political undertaking, but a legal requirement for Zambians to register as new voters.

Speaking when he commissioned police housing units in Mpulungu, Sunday, Kampyongo said government had procured different equipment to safeguard peace in the country.

“I want to state here that I heard the honorable minister responsible for Northern Province talking about equipping our police officers so that they can execute their mandate effectively. Just this morning, you were explaining to me how you witnessed a fleet of different assorted equipment that are meant for our security institutions under the Ministry of Home Affairs. And we have heard complaints from armchair critics saying ‘President Lungu and Home Affairs you are bringing equipment to punish the people.’ Security and peace of the nation are valuable commodities and you cannot place value on these very important commodities,” Kampyongo said.

“Here in Mpulungu, you have been receiving people running away from places called home as refugees, as Minister of Home Affairs who looks after these people, I know how Mpulungu has been accommodating these people running away from their countries where peace has been lost. And we don’t want to see people running away from this country as a result of reckless individuals who will want to put this country on fire. So all the law abiding citizens have no reason to fear. The only ones who should be worried are criminals and wrong doers.”

Kampyongo said the government was resolving the challenges of accommodation for police officers with aggressiveness.

“In total, government has envisioned to construct 12,000 housing units for all the security wings under the Ministry of Home Affairs with the first phase marked to contain 2,350 housing units. Out of these, the Zambia Police Service got 1,500 housing units and so far over 1,300 housing units have been completed, commissioned and handed over to the Zambia Police Service. The remaining few units are at 98 percent completion and will be commissioned and handed over before the end of the first phase. Government is resolving the challenges of accommodation for our officers with aggressiveness, however, it may not be possible that all officers will be provided with decent accommodation at the same time. My appeal to the officers who are yet to be accommodated is to exercise patience for your government,” he said.

And speaking during a press briefing, Friday, Kampyongo said the issuance of NRCs was not a political undertaking, but a legal requirement for Zambians to register as new voters.

“I wish to inform you and the nation that I will be providing an update on how the exercise is progressing, including the statistics on Mondays. I am aware that some members of the public are going round registration centres claiming to be monitoring the exercise. The Ministry of Home Affairs has already provided guidance on the matter, but I would like to clarify further that it is important for citizens to note that the issuance of National Registration Cards is not a political undertaking, but a legal requirement, according to the National Registration Act cap 126 of the laws of Zambia that mandates the Ministry of Home Affairs, through the Department of the National Registration, Passports and Citizenship, to register and issue NRCs to all eligible citizens aged 16 years and above,” Kampyongo said.

“The Ministry is not working in isolation during this exercise, but is collaborating with district and provincial administrations in the five provinces. In this regard, the government structures are in place to monitor the operations. I wish to emphasise that as much as citizens have every right to ensure accountability in the delivery of services, including the issuance of National Registration Cards, the law does not allow disruption of government services. Stakeholders are advised to join government in creating awareness on the importance of acquiring National Registration Cards and to observe the proceedings without disrupting the smooth operations as doing so will be committing an offence. All matters that require clarification in the exercise should be addressed to the district supervisors, provincial coordinators and permanent secretaries in the respective provinces. May I implore all the police officers on the ground to ensure law and order is maintained at all times.”

He cautioned that government was not going to allow disruption of the NRC registration process.

“No person, regardless of political affiliation, should be allowed to disrupt the registration process. What we are not going to tolerate is anyone to go and sit where officers are doing their work! If that is the monitoring they are referring to, that is not permissible. We have officers from the government, immigration officers are there to ensure that no one, who is a foreign national…if the officers that are doing the work identify that there is a foreign national, that is why we have attached immigration officers to deal with such circumstances. Those that want to dare us on that score will have themselves to blame. That will be amounting to interference of government work,” he warned.

Kampyongo announced that officers, who conducted the mobile registration exercise in 2015 to 2016, had been paid.

“May I use this opportunity to announce that the arrears for some officers, who worked during the 2015/2016 mobile registration exercise, have already been paid. The said delay in payment of 207 officers on the Copperbelt was due to wrong bank details that needed to be corrected in the system,” said Kampyongo.

On Thursday, PF secretary general Davies Mwila had insisted when he met party officials in Nchelenge District of Luapula Province that getting NRCs was a party programme.

“The NRCs exercise, let us take it as the party programme. Let us all get involved. Nali chita discuss naba (I discussed with the) party chairman, we are working on a budget to see if we can release some few resources so that abantu besu bali munshila bale enda bale ongola abana mukuya lembesha ama reg (our people should mobilise people to get NRCs) because we need the numbers. Mobilization ya party that is the reason we are there,” said Mwila.