IKELENG’I UPND member of parliament Elijah Muchima says Inspector General of police Kakoma Kanganja is being used by his superiors to fight the opposition.

On Monday, Kanganja commanded all police commissioners across the country should deploy officers in strategic areas to monitor activities of UPND members planning to stage unlawful gatherings when their leader Hakainde Hichilema appears at the police headquarters today.

But in an interview, Muchima condemned Kanganja’s instruction to his subordinates, saying the police service was not a tool to persecute the opposition.

“It is not a service, but a police force, it has become a wing of PF! The police is supposed to be universal, but then these ones have become a police against opposition, particularly UPND. I will give you an example of myself. I am never allowed to go and interact with my members of the community in my constituency, but people like Mbaya, a cadre is camped in Kalumbila. He doesn’t even get permission from anybody, he has meetings everywhere. As long as you are PF, you can do whatever you want, but when you are UPND, for a small thing, you are arrested, restricted we are under siege, actually. It is no longer a democratic country. Police are working in fear because they will lose their jobs. Kanganja even if he has issued that statement, he is not himself; it’s people above him who give him orders, if he doesn’t, he will lose his job. They should not be targeting UPND, they should be targeting people who break the law. To give moral support is not breaking the law,” Muchima said.

“Look at what happens in developed countries. Unfortunately, 54 years after independence, Zambia is still wallowing in poor thinking, this is a style of management that is dull! You don’t segregate your own people in administration, you have to treat them equally. But in Zambia at the moment, PF is more superior, more intelligent, very rich and very arrogant. They don’t respect any person other than themselves. They don’t even respect the laws. They have become the owners of the nation and they have forgotten about the rest of the people. They are aiming at frustrating UPND, they are wasting their time. One day, it will be for others.”

And he bemoaned the country’s economic crisis, but wondered why public funds were being spent to mobilise police officers on innocent Zambians.

“This is not the way it was in MMD and UNIP. In the first place where are they getting the resources? This government is broke, it is failing to meet its obligations, but they are spending money uselessly in mobilising the police on innocent Zambians. Peaceful demonstrations are an expression of a free citizenry. And this is why they lose most cases in courts because the courts are managed by learned people not kaponyas on the streets! They don’t fear in whatever they do, they will not be in these offices forever. These will be remembered for atrocities and bad behaviour,” said Muchima.

In a statement, Monday, police spokesperson Esther Katongo announced that Kanganja directed police officers to decisively deal with all those that would want to cause public disorder ahead of Hichilema’s impending appearance at Service Headquarters, Wednesday.

“The Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has directed all police commissioners across the country to deploy police officers in strategic areas to monitor activities of members of the opposition United Party for National Development, who are reported to be planning to stage unlawful public gatherings at the time their party president, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, will appear at Police Service Headquarters where he has been summoned. The Inspector General has further directed all police officers to decisively deal with all those that would want to cause public disorder during the said period,” stated Katongo.