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Aspire for top: Chibombe’s call to women in uniform

DORIS Chibombe, Zambia Police Service (ZPS) Deputy Inspector General in charge of administration, is enthusiastic about seeing women in uniform aspire to positions of leadership.
She holds the view that ascendency to positions of authority will only be possible as the women in uniform consider furthering their education and personal development.
She regrets the fact that, in addition to herself, only one other woman in the police service has a law degree, and claims that this is why female ZPS officers favour less demanding jobs like traffic or communications as opposed to their male counterparts, who prefer harder jobs like forensics or investigations.
Ms Chibombe believes this is why men are readily promoted, adding that women should aspire to be picked or elevated not just because of their gender, but because they have the ability to deliver.
Therefore, in order to improve this situation and many others in the police service, Ms Chibombe, as DIG, is not merely sitting pretty in her illustrious office.
She is poised to alter this situation, as well as many others in the police service, with her hands on the ball.
For example, she has revived the ZP women’s network, where officers are encouraged to aim higher in their careers and freely talk about their challenges and accomplishments, including general life experiences in order to motivate one another.
“Women encounter various challenges such as suicidal thoughts, marital problems, depression, and conflicts among themselves, and yet lack of trust pulls them back from revealing their challenges.
“Even in my position, I would like to talk to someone with whom I can share things, but because of my leadership role, people are afraid to approach me, and yet I am human and have concerns I would like to communicate with someone,” she explained.
In this vein, the network will hold monthly meetings at which speakers from inside the ranks of female officers as well as from outside will address the uniformed women on a variety of day-to-day matters that are of concern to them.
Ms Chibombe is of the opinion that the network will help build relationships and also bring relief from mental stress among the female officers.
In this spirit, Ms Chibombe has advocated for the Elsie project within the police service, which is presently training female police officers to participate in United Nations (UN) tasks.
She joined the team that oversaw the Elsie initiative, which sought to expand meaningful engagement of women in UN peace operations in police and armed units when she assumed her job as deputy IG in 2021.
The initiative will also construct a day-care facility at the Police Training Centre to allow women to get training without interruptions such as the need to care for their babies while the officers are at school.
Furthermore, ZP conducted a study to determine why few female officers participated in UN tasks, and it was revealed that monthly cycles, childbearing, and cultural concerns were to blame.
The findings have assisted Ms Chibombe in developing plans to have more women receive training for UN roles.
However, one significant issue she is working hard at is to improve public perception of police officers, particularly female cops, who are frequently regarded as being too tough for public good.
She believes that cops are so misunderstood to the extent that when someone is about to marry an officer, the family cringes.
As a result, Ms Chibombe will strengthen community/ police relations by allowing members of the public to openly interact with officers, and for cops to explain their role in society to the public.
The public will also be free to voice their concerns, and the two groups will discuss how they can best move forward in a cordial relationship.
And to demonstrate the humane side of female officers, Ms Chibombe has established a school to help children in the community acquire decent education.
This was after the death of her daughter in an inferno who wrote a poem with the words, ‘Mummy, daddy, take me to school for a better tomorrow.’
Those words have stayed with Ms Chibombe, who has promised to help children in society get an education for a better tomorrow in memory of her child.
Following her abrupt retirement in 2016 on the grounds of national interest, Ms Chibombe was reappointed to her current position by President Hakainde Hichilema in 2021.
Her retirement was prompted by a request she made not to be sent to Eastern Province for work due to previous traumatic experiences.
She described how her house caught fire in 2011, killing her four-year-old daughter, and how she lost another child in 2014 due to sickness.
According to her, the transfer came during this period when she was attempting to heal from the agony of her loss.
“I was still suffering the loss of my two daughters, and transferring me would have meant leaving my other children in Lusaka behind, which I couldn’t do. I wanted to be where I could watch over them,” Ms Chibombe explained.
Despite her plea, her words fell on deaf ears, and because the retirement letter came from the Government, she couldn’t contest it.
She had to accept her fate, hoping for a better turn of events in the future.
Nonetheless, when the United Party for National Development took office in 2021, Ms Chibombe was pleasantly delighted to be appointed as deputy IG of Police in charge of administration, contributing to a slight increase in the number of women in decision-making positions in security wings.
In her capacity as DIG, she is tasked with leading the Zambia Police Service (ZPS) when the police chief is absent.
She is in charge of administering, directing, and organising the ZPS’s human resource and administrative support tasks, which include handling medical services, training procurement, and firearms, among other responsibilities.
Ms Chibombe, a 14-year barrister with advanced legal experience who graduated from the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (ZIALE), possesses a rare blend of legal and law enforcement expertise from both the public and private sectors.
She also has 27 years of law enforcement experience within the Government, specifically ZPS.
The aforementioned are only a few of the numerous professional experiences she has, but they demonstrate what she brings to the police service.