PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has asked the police service to be fair in the execution of their duties as the country goes to the polls next year.
Speaking when he toured the newly constructed Kanyama police station and police camp, President Lungu said he would continue to support the police with necessary equipment which they needed to maintain law and order, no matter what his opposers said.
“I am yet to find a police force or a police service elsewhere, anywhere in the world where they go to plead with rioters to say ‘please ta papata (we beg you), please’. Policemen are supposed to be equipped…so they are entitled to a conducive environment where they work, in order to make their job easier and to apply the necessary force to bring the disorderly conduct to an end. And I will continue supporting them, no matter what they will say, those guys who are always talking against me, they have never said anything good about me since I became President, so I have decided not to listen to them, occasionally when they coincide with patriotism, I will listen to them,” he said.
“So I will support the police and as we go into this period of contestation for political power, the police should be encouraged to be fair, to allow us exercise our democratic rights and freedoms to choose our leaders but not with impunity to hinder others from exercising their rights and freedoms. So this is what is typical of the political players, they want to bring chaos so bakapokola, mwabombeni (policemen, you’re doing a good job).”
President Lungu wondered why people were quick to vandalise police infrastructure when officers were there to protect their lives and property.
He said this when he inspected a house which was vandalised during gassing-related riots which erupted in the area earlier this year.
“You bring property for them, they are the beneficiary. The presence of police in the community is meant to protect them, but then they want to be against the police to bring out chaos, so I don’t know the benefit of chaos, I don’t know. The police are part of our society, police are defenders of property and life but then because of a small misunderstanding, they want to go to [destroy] the police? It’s very unZambian and it’s on the increase but then two three days later they will be looking, where are the police,” said President Lungu who also promised police officers that the new office block would be a Christmas present to the people of Kanyama.
And Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo thanked President Lungu for the equipment acquired to help police in public order management.
“Your Excellency, we are very grateful to you as our Commander-in-Chief for the equipment that you have acquired for these men and women in uniform because to quell public order disturbances has been a mammoth task for them but the equipment you have facilitated in acquiring, it will be easy to quench the disorderly conduct before we start recording damage like this but again like you have said, it’s important that our police get to interact with the community from time to time in order to avoid these serious confrontations between the members of public and our officers,” said Kampyongo.
Kampyongo said he would engage AVIC to see if a variation could be done in the contract to allow for the construction of a mess in the police camp after President Lungu emphasised the need for officers to have recreation facilities in the camp.
Meanwhile, area member of parliament Elizabeth Phiri thanked the business community in her constituency for the support towards the project and urged other MPs to emulate the initiative and do community led interventions to get work done in their communities.