THE newly appointed Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja should heed the directive of President Edgar Lungu to avoid being partisan in the application of the Public Order Act (POA), the United Party for National Development (UPND) has said.
UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said while President Lungu could have meant well in his directive that the police should protect opposition political parties, the situation on the ground was different as the law enforcement officers had continued to act in a biased manner.
Mr Kakoma said President Lungu had correctly observed that the POA was being abused by politicians in power and should move to ensure that the law was fairly applied.
He told the Daily Nation that the UPND had been a victim of the abuse of the POA and was now waiting for Mr Kanganja to implement President Lungu’s directive that the opposition political parties should equally be protected because they had the right to assemble. He said the UPND was going to wait how Mr Kanganja was going to administer the law which he said had been a nuisance to opposition political parties.
Mr Kakoma said Mr Kanganja should start by releasing the UPND caders who are in police custody for various political offences if he was going to protect opposition political parties.
Mr Kakoma stated that there was need for the Zambia Police to exhibit professionalism in the discharge of their duties to avoid being accused of having become a political branch of the Patriotic Front (PF). He observed that often times, the police had exhibited inertia when it came to dealing with violent cadres from the ruling party but that President Lungu’s directive was apt considering that the police had on countless times failed the test of being impartial in their duties.
“President Lungu has directed the police not to be biased. We have heard him state that the police should not show too much of the PF but what is happening on the ground is directly opposite of what the Head of State has directed. We will have to wait for the new Inspector General of Police, Mr Kakoma Kanganja to see how he is going to implement the President’s directive. The Public Order Act is being abused by politicians in power and the opposition political party leaders are only victims. We hope Mr Kanganja is going to turn the police service into a professional law enforcement agency,” Mr Kakoma said.
President Lungu has directed the police to avoid being partisan in the implementation of the Public Order Act warning that if they would be seen to be supporting the ruling party, they risked facing the wrath of the opposition political parties.
And Mr Kanganja said he would soon be calling for a meeting with all political parties to discuss how best the POA should be administered.
He said as the country was going towards the general elections next year, he would ensure that vices such as political violence were dealt with so that the elections could be held in a peaceful atmosphere.
“We will be fair but firm in the implementation of the POA. I will be calling for a roundtable meeting with all the political parties to dialogue on how best the law should be administered,” Mr Kanganja said.