WHEN the President gave a directive to the Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja that he should receive a report on the shooting incident by Monday, December 28, 2020, we asked what made him think he would get the report on the shooting incident when, up to now, he has no report on the gassing incident. We asked because we knew there was no way a report could be prepared by the culprits of the incident.

True to our expectation, State House issued a statement to the effect that the President had still not received a “conclusive” report. This is a text book format of how high-profile murder cases are killed. To even drive public attention from the matter, the President makes some weird reshuffles in the Police Command so that people can have something else to talk about rather that the gruesome murder of Joseph Kaunda and prosecutor Nsama Nsama.

As if that is not enough, the Commander-In-Chief extends the contract for the Police Inspector General for six months, without a timeline in which he expects the conclusive report to be submitted. Just like that, the case has died a natural death. What a country, what a leadership, what a people we are!

Many a time, we Africans complain that the Western world always thinks negatively about us. Our government leaders bitterly lament that Western media enjoys portraying Africa in bad light, ignoring the governance success stories. That is true, but the other truth is that, it is all in the type of news that we feed them. This story about the police shooting innocent citizens is a very heartbreaking story that should embarrass all of us as a people.

How should the world look at us, as Zambians, as Africans, when we tolerate such happenings in our society? What development can the Western media report on when they are seeing bloodshed even when the elections are still far away? This is the image that we have built for ourselves. We can no longer claim to be a peaceful nation, we can no longer claim to be a beacon of democracy in Africa.

Terrorizing people in a democracy with gunfire like that is quite despicable and it says so much about the leadership that we have in place. Like we have said in our previous editorial comments, if the police were serious about finding the killers of Nsama Nsama and Joseph Kaunda, they would have done so in a matter of hours. But they don’t want the truth to come out. They are the killers and killers cannot investigate themselves.

It is shameful that the President has taken a very casual approach towards putting an end to bloodshed in this country. If Mr Edgar Lungu was a Commander-In-Chief worth his salt, he would have put his foot down and made sure that the shooters were singled out and brought to justice. But a weak President will fold his hands and look the other side, while the people, who elected him in office, are being shot in the head by State police.

Like we have stated above, it is our fault, as Africans, that we choose to portray ourselves in bad light to the world out there. Those scenes at Force Headquarters could have been avoided if law enforcers confined themselves to the precincts of the law. Sadly, in Zambia, as long as you are wearing police uniform, you can shoot someone in the head and get the full protection from the State.

The police are the ones who teach that “never point a gun at anyone whom you don’t intend to kill”. But they do that all the time when dispersing crowds, yet when someone is shot, they blame the heaven for sending ‘stray bullets’. Surely, if police can use that kind of gunfire to maintain order during a small activity, what should Zambians expect in the months leading to the August general election? What will the security wings use to disperse unruly opposition supporters? This is not the Zambia we want.

Bwana Edgar Lungu, this is happening under your watch. Please, stop it. Those articles you are seeing in foreign media have a huge negative impact on your leadership. If you are not concerned about chasing away Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with such kind of policing methods, at least worry about the lives of innocent citizens. Think about Nsama’s family, think about Kaunda’s family. You should also worry about your life after you leave office.

Those African presidents, who have gone to the Hague for crimes against humanity did not personally cut off the heads of their opposition rivals, the crimes were committed by State operatives, such as the trigger-happy police under Mr Kanganja. It is you, Mr President, who will be answerable to all these lives that are being lost under your reign.