Don’t dare the police

POLITICIANS are not above the law. Like every other citizen, they are expected to conduct themselves in conformity with of the law.
In the same vein, it is expected that politicians will respect law enforcement agencies as they carry out their obligations to maintain law and order.
It is however of great concern that some politicians and cadres in particular have no respect for the law and those who enforce it.
There are incidents of some politicians daring men in uniform as though they are fellow politicians or their children.
There are many instances when politicians have put themselves in harm’s way by staging illegal protests against the advice of the police.
We’ve also had politicians challenging police officers over lawful detentions to the extent of getting physical.
In other instances police officers have been assaulted by arrogant politicians who deem themselves to be above the law.
In many instances, police officers have been pushed to the limits by some politicians.
For some politicians, it seems that this is the best way they know how to get public attention and sympathy.
After daring the police officers who then deal with them accordingly, they turn round to cry foul as though they are the victims. This is not only hypocrisy but utter disregard of the law.
It is for this reason that we re-echo the sentiments by Foundation for Democratic Process executive director George Chimembe that politicians should desist from this retrogressive and acrimonious tendency of daring the police. For the sake of law and order in the country, politicians must be exemplary in their conduct – both in private and in public.
Mr Chimembe’s concerns are those of many other law-abiding citizens when he says: “I do not really know why some politicians are doing things to dare the police. I do not know whether they are doing so to get publicity or to be seen as victims.”
He is right in also stating that: “While we need the police to be professional when executing duties, politicians should not dare the police. Breaking the law always comes with consequences.”
Certainly one cannot break the law and hide behind the shield of political rights. Anyone who breaks the law is liable to punishment. After all, it is the politicians who make the laws, with the expectations that every citizen will abide by them.
The police are mandated to enforce law and order; they must therefore be accorded the respect they deserve.
We expect politicians as people who claim to have an interest to serve the country to conduct themselves in an exemplary manner.
They, more than ordinary citizens, must lead by example by upholding the rule of law.
If those in political leadership do not respect the law, how then can we expect them to hold their followers accountable to the laws of the land? Surely this is a recipe for lawlessness.
We expect our politicians to make the work of police officers easier by simply abiding by the laws.
While there are so many political parties in the country, we know that the most problematic are the two biggest parties – the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND).
Cadres from these two parties are the major perpetrators of political violence and have shown less or no regard for men and women in uniform.
As a country we cannot allow this to continue. But again like we have always said, the buck stops at the leaders. The leaders must be seen to act against violence or any deviant behaviour to curtail the trend.
Political leaders should put their houses in order and uphold the rule of law.
If political parties fail to tame their members, then they should not cry victim if they find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
The police must resist intimidation but enforce the law without fear or favour. However, they need to uphold professionalism as they enforce the law.
The police are there to serve the country, not a special group of people. It is therefore expected that all citizens will be treated fairly according to the law.
As we head towards the 2021 general elections, we expect political parties to put their houses in order to abate violence. We also expect the police to uphold professionalism to avoid people taking the law into their own hands.
All in all, there is need for politicians and all citizens to work with law enforcers to ensure that the peace we enjoy now is sustained beyond 2021.