HOME Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo has failed to disclose how much government used to procure security equipment, saying technocrats are still preparing the report.
Speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Red Hot Breakfast Show, Tuesday, Kampyongo said procurement of equipment was done by technocrats.
When asked the cost of the security equipment, he said members of the public were going to be given the information soon.
“Procurement of public equipment in government systems is done by technocrats who understand the regulations and the Public Procurement Act and the regulations that goes with that. When you say riot kits, policing is not just about riot kits, we, in this country, should avoid hypocrisy! You, the people, have been saying, ‘we went to report to the police, there was no transport, the police couldn’t respond to a distress call’. ‘No, a citizen was killed by a live bullet by the police.’ Now, what you don’t realise is that when you are making those complaints, it’s ticking to exactly the limitation of capacity for our law enforcement agencies. And the critical one has been lack of equipment so when the officers use the limited equipment they have, the loaded AK 47 with live bullets, it becomes a challenge and we understand, we acknowledged. So, when we resolved that we needed to capacitate our law enforcement agencies, what you are seeing today was not planned for yesterday, this was planned for as way back as 2012,” Kampyongo said.
Asked if there was anything sinister in the procurement of the equipment Kampyongo replied in the negative.
“There is nothing sinister at all. The members of the public will be given the information; these are matters of public [interest] and the technocrats will compile a comprehensive report when they inform us that, now, they have finished. Mind you, we are not only catering for the Zambia Police Service, we are providing modern equipment for the correctional facilities so that they can get into full production. You saw me going there handing over farming equipment so that they go into production. The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) who also have a key role to ensure that illicit drugs, financial crimes are equally being equipped [and] Immigration Department so this has never happened in a long time. Criminals are becoming sophisticated every day and so if you want to keep your law enforcement agencies inferior, you will be running in this country. Let us not play around with these things,” he said.
Asked to state the cost, Kampyongo said; “We are not buying these things for our farms and so when our technocrat staff are done, we shall go to the public and say, ‘for all this equipment you have seen, this is the cost.’ And we know that at the end of the day, there is a need for accountability.”
When asked how urgent the procurement of the equipment was, Kampyongo stressed that national security remained an urgent matter.
“How urgent are you serious? Which investor worth his salt would want to bring investment that should boost the economy of the nation in the absence of security where they are not guaranteed protection of their investment? Because we are all looking for investors to come and invest so that we can create jobs. Because that is what everybody wants to look at is how secure the investment is going to be. Not long ago, you saw how our people were tormented; we had gassing activities from undesirable criminals and then we ended up with riots and we had people dying,” replied Kampyongo.
“We send our police officers in war-torn countries to go and help restore order. They have to go with equipment as required by the United Nations. If you have had any attack by criminals, you will understand better why the police should be capacitated to move and protect you as and when you need protection. Beyond that, there is no economy that can thrive where there is no security, that is the urgency. You are talking about the (2021) election as well; we are not going to manage the elections with bare hands, how? The only ones who should be worried are criminals. The security of the nation should be an urgent matter.”