Editor's Comment

Rebrand Police, UNZA relationship

INSPECTOR General of Police Kakoma Kanganja with University of Zambia deputy vice-chancellor Professor Enala Mwase-Tembo (third left), Dean of students Laston Zgambo (fourth left) and a member of the academic staff, Dr Masauso Chirwa, at the Great East Road campus in Lusaka on Thursday. PICTURE: MACKSON WASAMUNU

INSPECTOR General of Police Kakoma Kanganja says the Zambia Police Service desires to build a harmonious partnership with the University of Zambia (UNZA) rather than have the disreputable “cat and mouse” policing of incidences of unruly or riotous students.This is certainly the way to go, especially that the police has transitioned from being a force to a service. The police should therefore be seen to have a human face.
It is a known fact that for a long time now the relationship between the police and Zambia’s highest learning Institution was like that of a cat and a mouse.
Every time there was heavy presence of police at UNZA, it was certain there was a riot.
Not too long ago, there was a clash between the police and students, who ran amok due to a 10-minute power cut.
The students were incensed by the power cut because it came at a time they were preparing for examinations and as they ran out in protest, they were met by the force of men in uniform.
In other similar incidents in the past, the clashes between the police and students have been characterised by brute force, property damage and verbal abuse.
Unfortunately, such are the interactions that have negatively branded the relationship between the two institutions.
Needless to say, this has over the years created a wall of enmity between the police and the institution, students in particular.
As rightly noted by the Inspector General himself, UNZA students and the Zambia Police Service should not only interact during rowdy incidents such as riots.
Certainly, there are better and more constructive ways the two institutions can interact as partners in development.
It is therefore commendable that the two institutions recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for technical co-operation.
The MoU provides for collaboration in the provision and development of police training programmes ranging from diplomas to master’s degrees.
As noted by Mr Kanganja, the MoU is indeed a milestone in the promotion of technical co-operation between the Zambia Police Service and UNZA, particularly the Department of Social Work and Sociology under the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
It is also good that the agreement provides for co-operation in a range of areas of mutual interest as well as research partnerships between the two institutions.
This will certainly help in finding solutions and new ways of policing in view of the vexing crimes the country is grappling with such as gangs, among many other vices.
The MoU is also a good opportunity to enhance the image of the police service through capacity building of officers and affiliation of police training institutions to UNZA.
The training of police officers will no doubt enhance professionalism and efficiency of the service. This is good not only for the police service but the country as a whole.
It is indisputable that providing security has become more complex in this era of cybercrimes. The need for the police service to up skills as well as be informed by research cannot be overemphasised.
It is commendable that the police command is cognisant of this fact hence repositioning the service to make it more responsive to the security needs of the time, and the MoU signed with UNZA is certainly a step in that direction.
It is also hoped that with such collaboration between the two institutions, the wall that was unconsciously erected will be demolished and replaced with a door for easy and more cordial interactions.

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