FORMER Home Affairs deputy minister Colonel Panji Kaunda has condemned President Edgar Lungu’s decision to deploy the army to police elections saying the military is trained to kill, not to search for pangas or catapults.
In an interview, Col Kaunda, who is First Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s eldest son, said the army was not a tool to play around with.
“Let me answer this question from the perspective of a trained soldier. All trained soldiers are trained in the art of warfare. There are different types of warfare, there is a condition where you are attacked by outsiders. In that system you are trained to attack, to counter-attack, you are trained to defend. When things are difficult you are trained to withdraw. We are trained as soldiers to defend the nation from outside attacks and to keep the Zambian people at peace. There is another warfare which we call counter-resurgence. We are never trained to police the country, that is the job of the police,” Col Kaunda said.
“Lungu deploying the army, he is saying the police have failed. The army is not a tool to play around with. The army is a serious institution which is supposed to be 100 percent neutral. So, depending on the army today is wrong! It should be condemned by everybody. This is why we say ba Lungu has no vision, you are bringing the army into political circles. The army is not trained to check for pangas, knives and catapults, the army is trained to kill in defence of the nation. So, this action should be condemned by all of us, more so that it is near an election. It is pure and simple just to intimidate Zambians during the elections.”
He said it was unfortunate that the police had become part and parcel of the PF and were biased in their administration of duties.
“The role of the police is to keep the peace [but] what has happened in this country is that the police have become part and parcel of the previous government. You hear comments from the command, you hear comments from various centres that we are going to do this to UPND or any other opposition. We hear when the police arrest somebody, for example, this murderous scene I saw on social media a few days ago was terrible. But the police should not say that this is a PF man who has killed somebody, they should say we have arrested a criminal,” Col Kaunda said.
“They shouldn’t attach criminality to a political party. They say ‘we have arrested two suspected UPND people’ that is wrong! Arrest somebody not because he is PF or he is UPND, arrest somebody and treat him as a criminal, pure and simple. The moment you start putting labels on criminals you are now politicizing criminality in the country and you become biased to the ruling party, which has already happened to our police, unfortunately.”
Meanwhile, Col Kaunda said the PF government should be removed from government before they cause more damage to the country.
“So, my advice to all Zambians, forget about these people, our men and women who have been forced to do what they are not supposed to be doing. The army, unfortunately, the commander can not disobey an order, that is treason. The worst he can do is to resign if he feels he is uncomfortable, but soldiers are not trained to disobey orders. So don’t blame the army, you should blame the Commander-in-Chief who has put them in harm’s way. They are doing jobs which they are not trained to do. All Zambians must condemn this. One way of condemning this decisively is to vote this government out of power before they cause more damage to our beautiful country,” said Col Kaunda.