ZAMBIA Police Deputy Inspector General Bonny Kapeso says the service is well prepared for 2021 and is ready for any eventualities because government has acquired the necessary equipment.

And Kapeso says if traffic police are corrupt, then Zambians are also corrupt because it takes two to tangle.

Speaking when he featured on ZNBC Sunday Interview, Kapeso welcomed the purchase of water cannons for the police to use to disperse crowds as opposed to using live ammunition.

“It’s naturally unfortunate when you talk about somebody losing a life because of a stray bullet, its not something that we should be proud about. We regret all those incidences [people dying] but sometimes, we can’t control what exactly is happening other than using the equipment, the logistics that we are given, and firearms are the equipment that we are given. We have short buttons, we have long buttons, I am glad that you have talked about that [water canon] because now government has secured this for us. Water cannons, I am saying thank you government, you have given us the logistics that we’ve been crying for and these will prepare us for 2021. For those that will not listen, I am sure, for those that will not listen to us, for those that will go outside the dialogue we are taking in this initiative, ah, the equipment is in now! We will first use the water cannons to disperse the people, if we had the rubber bullets, we would use those to disperse them but at the moment, a police officer is only given a gun and tear canisters,” Kapeso said.

“If a police officer’s life is in danger, honestly, why wouldn’t you use what you are equipped to use? In terms of crowd management, crowd control, we have to determine because there is a commander…People must have respect for the Zambia police, they shouldn’t fear us. You have already said it, in the minds of the people, they have no confidence in us, and now we are saying because you have no confidence in us, can we come back so that you have confidence in our operations because you can’t do without us and we can’t do without the public and 2021 will be a defining moment and it will just not be business as usual. Certain things might happen but we want to say, before certain things happen, that we did not expect to happen, can we come together as brothers and sisters of Zambia. We are already prepared for any eventuality that happens because that is our mandate.”

He said Police would be impartial in handling the 2021 elections.

“We are promising sanity, and we have the confidence in ourselves and we want to have the confidence from you that together, we can police 2021 without violence. Impartiality is part of the promise, impartiality comes with responsibility and if impartiality is not exercised, how are we going to police the elections and how would we talking the way I am talking here if we don’t want to ensure that impartiality prevails?” Kapeso asked.

Meanwhile, Kapeso said President Edgar Lungu’s programmes would always precede any opposition activities.

“We are allowing them [political parties] to meet. We have been given circulars from Ministry of Health, giving us guidelines as to how people must observe this COVID-19 situation…Come on, we must be serious with some of these things. It’s a general election, tripartite general election is for everybody, all the political parties must campaign, they must go out free and campaign…all the parties take their programmes to the police, they are indicated and the police officer knows, yes, this is what we will [do] but you know, despite the fact that we are also given the programmes, but if the Head of State, who is the Republican President decides that ‘I am going to hold a meeting’, are we going to stop the Head of State? That ‘no, the Head of State can’t come here because this particular party is going to have a meeting on this particular venue’, that can’t happen. The Head of State takes precedence over everything, when he comes in, everything is suspended because we have to channel all our resources and efforts towards the security of the Head of State,” he said.

And when asked whether he is aware that the traffic police were known to be the most corrupt, Kapeso replied in the affirmative.

“Yes, because they are the most frequent people that you meet on the roads, when you go out you find the traffic officer on the roads. But what does corruption mean, can you define corruption for me? Is it just that a police officer who receives money who is corrupt and the person who gave him money is not corrupt? No, I have always been saying, if you describe Zambia police officers to be corrupt, then Zambians are corrupt. Who initiates this wrong doing? Both of them must be arrested, the person who gives the money and the person who receives the money. Like they say, it takes two to tangle,” Kapeso said.

He argued that the ACC ratings were merely a theory which he did believe because they lacked details.

“It is a theory and don’t believe in it because it lacks details, it’s a general perception. It’s just like you were saying ‘people have no confidence in you’, it’s a perception and we are trying to say ‘yes, remove that perception, we want to give you confidence that we are able to meet your expectations. So bring evidence when you hear of a corrupt police’,” he said.

Kapeso also wondered why people described his “breaking legs” statement as a threat when he was just interpreting a lawful act of disabling a threat in vernacular.

“Don’t be scared, the law says that I can disable you, right, that’s what the law says, I can disable you if you resist arrest. Now, if I tell you to say interpret disabling in Bemba, what are you going to say? You will be saying ‘ukufumya umuntu amolu’, that’s disabling. Is that scaring [people]?” asked Kapeso.