PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has sacrificed Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations Bonny Kapeso, his counterpart who was in charge of administration Eugene Sibote and Lusaka Province Police Commissioner Nelson Phiri, in a bid to boost public confidence over the recent police shooting which resulted in the death of two citizens.
To add to his “decisiveness”, the President has also promoted brutal cope Charity Katanga to take over from Kapeso. With the looming elections and what we know about Madam Katanga’s methods, we shudder to think about how this solution will truly boost the public confidence. No offence to the Copperbelt Police Commissioner who now moves to force headquarters, but if the President was trying to end hooliganism and police brutality, then all we can say is; what a solution.
It comes as a shock to us that the President would decide to keep the Inspector General of Police and elect to dismiss his deputies over the shooting of Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda, while on the other hand, he says the report on the incident is not conclusive. The question to ask is: what has informed his decision? What makes him think Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja is innocent and his two deputies are guilty?
To us, it appears that the Head of State was desirous of being seen to have taken action, regardless of the relevance of the said action. It seems the President wanted to send a strong message to the public that he has no sacred cows in the Zambia Police and that he is on top of things. But unfortunately, the message he has sent goes to show that, in fact, he is a spineless Commander In Chief, who cannot apply the right solutions to a problem.
We have sad news for the President: in case he has never heard this before, we are here to tell him that you cannot heal diarrhea by stitching the anus. By this, we mean firing Kapeso is not the solution to the problem that exists in the police service and neither is promoting Katanga.
In fact, those who understand what we are talking about, those who have followed the trend of promotions in the police service, will agree with us that promoting madam Katanga is rather escalating the situation than calming it down. We know madam Katanga to be what they call a no nonsense officer, and we also know that she has always been deployed to provinces where there are traces of political uprising. This is why we are worried about this solution that Mr Lungu has come up with, given that elections are less than 10 months away. We wish madam Katanga well and we will wait for her to prove us wrong.
Our concern is that President Lungu has continued to sacrifice his innocent appointees in a bid to build his image, but without solving the problem that dented his reputation in the first place. Too often, people try to solve the wrong problem, and this is what we see President Lungu doing.
Our President is confident that he knows what needs to be done to fix governance problems, and he spends all his time and resources on finding a solution that never changes the status quo. President Lungu needs to ask himself some questions before he takes useless decisive actions. The President must ask himself: Who is affected by this problem? Who are the stakeholders? Who are in need of a solution to this problem? Why do they care? Who should be involved in finding a solution? What’s important to them? What is the root cause of the problem at hand?
When the President finds answers to these questions, he will stop treating the symptoms. Bwana Lungu, as long as you keep the police under political influence from State House; as long as police officers are fired or retired if they discipline members of the ruling party; as long as the police service is infiltrated by cadres of the party in power, the shootings and killings will never end. You can fire and hire all the Commissioners you want, but this will not be the last incident of bloodshed.
Stop stitching the anus, treat the problem from the root cause!