Malicious incompetence

Last week Southern Province Commissioner of Police Charity Katanga used heavily armed officers to abduct a Member of Parliament Garry Nkhombo who was recuperating in a Hospital bed on the pretext of summoning him for a meeting with her.
The meeting was a ruse; she instead consigned him directly to remand prison.
All this was happening in the dead of night close to midnight.
There is everything wrong with what transpired, as it represents the worst possible abuse of authority which has sent very wrong signals about the rule of law in this country.
It is our hope that Government will respond to the subterfuge in an appropriate manner to distance itself from the impression that the Police have now become politically partisan and are operating above the law.
Firstly it is not correct for a senior police officer to lie and remove a patient from Hospital under false pretences. Such events mimic events in troubled Uganda where Police under Idi Amin became a law unto themselves and as history has recorded abductions and disappearances became the order of the day.
This should not happen to our country.
We are building a democracy in which Police are expected to serve as a central pillar in enforcing the rule of law and must not therefore pander to the interests and wishes of leaders in power at any particular time, as these will change from time to time.
That is why if Police are to intervene or limit the liberties of citizens, this should be done for very cogent reasons because they, like other public institutions are accountable to the Public or indeed the electorate.
The Police, it has been said, operate on a very delicate balance. They can serve the best interest of democracy if they abide by the rule of law but can be oppressive if they choose to support dictatorial tendencies.
That is why Police activities which show bias and unprofessionalism attract public disapproval. For example there are questions from the Mufumbwe by-elections which have not been answered by the Police.
Who  were the heavily armed men in red T-shirts driving in open trucks during the Mpongwe by elections. Those men could not have served a neutral purpose.
Other examples abound, closer at home, here in Lusaka police made it impossible for the opposition to hold political rallies under one pretext or another.
In Livingstone the situation has deteriorated even further. The Commissioner of Police herself stood in court to prosecute UPND President Hakainde Hichilema on the charge of inciting violence because of a statement he made on radio.
Only yesterday the same commissioner who ordered the abduction of an opposition Member of Parliament from a hospital bed, was prepared to state in public that a murder suspect was not a member of  the ruling party but of the opposition.
Firstly a senior police officer has no business determining to which party a murder suspect belongs and secondly the etiquette of public service demands that she distances herself from partisan politics.
This is not the case.
This then raises the obvious questions; is this the reason why the Police failed to arrest Obvious Mwaliteta who assaulted his colleague Garry Nkhombo in their full view at Livingstone Central Police Station?
The unprecedented number of nolle Prosequi preferred against political detainees testifies to the fact that the current Police Force has been highly politicized.We are  made to believe that one Commissioner of Police has been dedicated to political activities. His task being to follow and harass perceived political enemies.
This would be  a very sad development but one which is not too difficult to believe considering that until now all the opposition political leaders were before courts of law, for some terribly ridiculous and bizarre charges which in most cases defied logic.
It is also our hope that our country will not descend further in the road to anarchy.

Categorized | Editorial

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