ZAMBIA Police must randomly be searching vehicles and any groups of people to ensure that nobody carries offensive items which can be used in political violence, says Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia executive director Pukuta Mwanza.
He said it was very important for the police to increase their presence among the people because of heated political campaigns and the recent reports of violence in the compounds.
“It is important that police do random checks to ensure that nobody carries weapons or anything resembling something that can be used to cause harm.
“Police must carry out random checks of motor vehicles and of people gathered or standing in groups just to ensure there are no offensive weapons, stones or guns in public,” he said.
He was commenting on Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja’s statement warning members of the public against carrying any offensive weapons as they risk being arrested.
Reverend Mwanza said it was a good move especially with the recent political fracas involving dangerous weapons and bloodshed related to political confrontations.
Mr Kanganja said Police officers would not hesitate to arrest anyone found armed in public in a manner that suggested would cause public terror even if the person was a licensed fire arm holder.
He issued the warning yesterday in the light of political violence recently experienced in the country ahead of the August 11 general elections.
Mr Kanganja said police had noticed a proliferation of dangerous weapons used to cause public fear and insecurity.
“We would like to warn the general public that Section 84 of the Penal Code states clearly that any person who goes armed in public, without lawful occasion in such a manner as to cause terror to any person commits an offence and his weapon may be forfeited.
“From the foregoing, with regards to the political violence we have experienced, the police will not hesitate to arrest anyone found armed in public in a manner that causes public terror,” he said.
Mr Kanganja directed all police officers to ensure that those found with guns, pangas and other weapons in public and especially causing terror regardless of their political affiliation must be arrested and prosecuted without any due delay.
He said police do not expect anyone to be armed in public to cause fear and terror to the general public.
Mr Kanganja affirmed police’s non-partisan stance on violence or anything seemingly leading to public unrest and has called on the officers to remain professional and fair in their work.
“People with such thoughts must not be entertained at all. The police have been non-partisan in their execution of their duties. We shall, therefore, remain non-partisan,” he said.