KABANDA CHULU, Mongu
THE Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission has heard that people in Mongu and surrounding villages are reluctant to report cases to the police because officers allegedly demand money for fuel or taxi before investigations are instituted.
And an 88-year-old man of Mongu submitted before the commission that the Litunga is a good man but that he is surrounded by some bad indunas who allegedly detain people at will and subject them to unjust trials at traditional courts.
Making submissions before the 18-man commission chaired by Justice Frederick Chomba on Monday, Rachel Mubita said people in the area are wondering why police officers at Mongu Central demand money from clients before they commence investigations.
â€œWhy should we pay them to go and arrest suspects? Does it mean Government doesnâ€™t fund their operations? If they ask for money and you donâ€™t have, they say â€˜this case is not our babyâ€™.
â€œRecently, I reported an assault case but they demanded transport money to look for the suspect. They are not ashamed to ask for money from clients,â€ Ms Mubita said.
She further submitted that police officers allegedly donâ€™t sympathise with complainants.
â€œImmediately you approach the Inquiries desk â€˜they will say mwabwelela chaniâ€™ (meaning what have you come to do here), this is intimidation, hence people are reluctant to report cases,â€ she said.
Another petitioner, Namakando Muwana, said police in Kalabo arrested and detained him for eight days without charging him.
â€œIn detention, they beat us day and night and the only crime we committed was to be found in an area where we were not known.
After detention, the police took us to our homes and conducted a search and the only thing they found in my house was money, about K7,000 belonging to my auntie. To date, the police have refused to return that money,â€ Mr Muwana said.
The Commission is in Western Province to collect views and are expected to submit practical recommendations that can contribute to the transformation and modernisation of the legal and justice sector in Zambia.
KABANDA CHULU, Mongu