State House says President Edgar Lungu is extremely puzzled as to why there is so much police inaction against crimes committed by PF cadres. According to Mr Amos Chanda, who speaks for the President, Mr Lungu is greatly disappointed that unruly actions are being taken in the name of the ruling party, while police watch idly as if PF cadres are above the law.
“The President is extremely puzzled as to why there is so much police inaction when these crimes are being committed. It has been established that the radio stations were stormed, individuals are quoted, why is the police not acting on clear breaches of the law? Who is preventing police action and why would the police not take charge of the situation?” asked Mr Chanda.
“We do not what to appear to be issuing instructions from here on a daily basis, but police are expected to exercise good judgement and ensure that they act on any breeches regardless of their origin. The two incidents that have occurred in the past week regarding suspected PF cadres storming Power FM in Kabwe and Radio Maria in Chipata are totally unacceptable! State House finds the behaviour very abhorrent.”
We are surprised that President Lungu is surprised with the unsurprising conduct of police officers towards PF thugs. Maybe the Police Command must arrange a personal meeting between President Lungu and Senior Superintendent Shaapa Wakunguma and his three other colleagues whom the Head of State fired for doing the exact same thing that he is asking officers to do to PF cadres. We are sure Mr Wakunguma would appreciate an opportunity to discuss this matter with the Commander-In-Chief of all armed cadres!
In case President Lungu has forgotten, the four Sesheke police officers, who were fired in his name, are now languishing on the streets because the Secretary General of the Patriotic Front Mr Davies Mwila directed the Inspector General of Police to sort out officers who were brutal to unruly PF cadres during that by-election. Mr Mwila accused the police of beating PF cadres like common criminals, which in his view was unprofessional.
But In April 2017, a recorded phone conversation was exposed in which the same bearer of the President’s surprise at State House was giving direct orders to the police IG Mr Kakoma Kanganja to use force in their operations.
“That’s the difference we want to make IG because the lady who was there (Stella Libongani) was very sympathetic to these people and she made the police look like you can dare them…Forget that change of the thing, which says you are a service, you are a force! That’s what the police is, when you lose the element of force then you have killed the police,” ordered the State House Press Aide.
But ironically, the same regime is firing police officers who are merely accused of using the element of force on PF cadres. What that implies is that the State House directive was strictly targeted at non-PF cadres. It means police are only expected to sort out UPND, NDC and other opposition cadres, but must never touch PF cadres. So, why is the President surprised that police don’t act against PF cadres who break the law?
When Mr Lungu, acting through the Police Service Commission, fired Senior Superintendent Wakunguma, second Officer Commanding Fleming, Assistant Superintendent Lengwe Borniface, and Constable Mukela Fridric, the entire Police Command was frozen with fear! Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo made a statement on radio that explicitly explains why we may never see police officers arrest or manhandle PF cadres, regardless of what law they break.
“No one would want to see a police officer being fired, because what happens to my fellow officer today, may happen to me tomorrow. So, we live as a family, and when one goes like that, we really feel bad. And speaking in my personal capacity as Esther Katongo, two of the four officers who were retired, are my personal friends whom I have worked with closely and I feel bad! I will talk about Shaapa Wakunguma, I will talk about Chilongo, those are officers that we have been interacting with very well and to see that they have been retired is not something that has made us happy, even as a service we are not happy that our friends have been retired like that,” said Katongo.
True to that fear which the police explained, the PF cadres who stormed Radio Maria in Chipata and issued death threats on its editor were arrested for public appeasement, only to be freed hours later, as demanded by the Secretary General of PF who, apparently, has powers to fire daring officers.
So, frankly, it is annoying to hear State House mock citizens with a silly charade that suggests that President Lungu is concerned with the breakdown of rule of law when the ongoing thuggery is sponsored by his office and funded by his party. Don’t take citizens for fools just because you are in power!