DEPUTY Inspector General of Police in charge of operations Bonny Kapeso says he would rather fear God than a human being in executing his duties.
Meanwhile, Kapeso says police officers should act professionally when giving out permits to political parties which want to hold events.
Speaking when he featured on United Voice Radio’s Add Your Voice programme, Wednesday, Kapeso also said it would be illogical for everyone to agree with what he says.
He was responding to a caller who told him that he feared for Kapeso’s job because he stood for the truth.
“Uku landa ati (saying that) people fear for my job, chawamishapo na tina Lesa uwampela inchito iyi ampela (I would rather fear God. He is the one who gave me this job). I think the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. In any organization, you cannot please everybody. It will actually be meaningless and illogical for everyone to agree with what I am saying. No it’s not possible, other people will have different views. But I have listened to the President every time he has spoken on TV he expects the police to do their job, to be professional,” Kapeso said.
And Kapeso also explained why the police command had embarked on dialogue meetings with all political parties on the need to stop violence.
He said halting political violence must must be an agenda for the top leadership of political parties.
“The motive was initiated by the Inspector General of Police who is Mr Kakoma Kanganja, the initial discussions were started by the Lusaka [PF] provincial Executive committee that rang us that they wanted to meet us on one or two things which they were led by the provincial secretary Mr Kennedy Kamba and when they came, [to] the Headquarters, we sat down and looked at the importance of collaboration between Zambia Police service and the political party. We discussed quite a number of things. And when we found out that the engagement made a lot of sense to us, the IG further discussed that ‘I think it will be incomplete for us, if we don’t invite the other political parties.’ And therefore, he wrote a letter to request that the UPND should also consider our request to come and have a meeting with them. Fortunately enough, they also agreed they came on board and out of these two engagements, we found that when we engage people in dialogue, we can make progress. If a leader decides what to do, the others will follow. And we want to be trendsetters that before we go into 2021, I think the ground is leveled, we minimize hostilities, we minimize enmity between political parties and Zambia Police Service,” he said.
“We need to speak the same language. The language is against violence. It is an advantage that the presidents have got their own secretary generals, provincial secretaries, they have district leadership, they have branch leadership, they have ward leadership. If all those people in all these leadership categories come forward and say ‘we don’t want this’ and the police service says ‘we don’t want this’ together when we have dialogue, we can flash out all these difficulties and differences. And I am sure we can prepare the road to 2021. Dialogue is meaningful when you really mean what you are saying, when you face the facts and call a spade a spade. Obviously we may not be angels as police officers, we may have erred in one way just like political party leadership; they are also not angels. But once we realize that we have made a mistake, we must come at a round table.”
Meanwhile, Kapeso urged police officers to act professionally when giving out permits to political parties.
“It is common knowledge that everybody talks about the Public Order Act. But again, within the description of the POA, certain systems are already established by which somebody should follow in order to ensure that the POA should be followed to the letter. And if all police officers that are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that they receive notifications from political parties, should be truthful to them and sit them down to tell them ‘here we can do, here we can’t do’ and where we can’t do, they must give reasons why they can’t do that. Because people expect the police officers to guide them and that is why the POA is there. It clearly establishes the kind of procedures that we have to adopt in order for you to have a meeting. The selective application of the POA is a general perception. It is entirely up to the regulating officer if it is in Kabanana where a meeting is supposed to take place, the officer-in-charge of Kabanana must make a decision. Mr Kakoma Kanganja (Inspector General of Police) will not direct what that person must do because he is the regulating officer. And we are only expecting that police officers be professional. I think that is the broader way that I can use. They must know when it is good and when it is bad,” Kapeso said.
When asked by a caller if he was professional when he manhandled a PF cadre at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court last month, Kapeso said responded in the affirmative.
“And as in the course of our investigations, the apprehensions of suspects, Zambia Police Act tells us that ‘any person who resists and shows signs of resistance or shows signs of disregard to the police officers, reasonable force shall be used.’ How reasonable? That should be determined by the people on the ground, and that is exactly what happened. A person who drives, ignoring the presence of the police officers without stopping and using their own property, using a police beacon and he doesn’t want to stop at a particular checkpoint for him to identify who he is, in fact, he risks being shot at because we would think he is a terrorist. But we used reasonable force to find who exactly he was. So that was a professional way of handling such people who misbehave,” said Kapeso.