FRANK CHING’AMBU, Ndola
“I AM assertive; I would rather die pursuing the course of justice. As long as justice prevails, I’m happy, I don’t need to be liked but believe in doing what is right. Even in the midst of opposition, I will still stick to my principles, I would rather be like that,” says Charity Masambo Katanga, the Copperbelt Police Commissioner.Ms Katanga describes herself as a friendly but tough person who doesn’t tolerate people to take her for granted especially those with wrong intentions.
“When the situation dictates, I pursuit it. Maybe you can call me a chameleon who suits the situation. And at no time should a person take me for granted,” Ms Katanga said in a firm voice.
Her desire to pursue the course of justice for the Zambian people dates back to 1992 when she was a cadet officer at Linda Secondary School in Livingstone.
Her first appointment in the Zambia Police Service was that of constable. Ms Katanga was posted to Chifubu Police Station in Ndola where she worked for nine years as a detective officer.
She believes resolving issues through teamwork, discipline and being upbeat are ways through which set objectives can be achieved because the police service requires such.
Ms Katanga does not only believe in administrative duties but wears another cap that will get her to the ground and ensure stern supervision is given and also act as an operations officer. This she enjoys.
“Where I see things are not moving right, I descend to the ground just to ensure officers are doing what is expected of them. In such situations, steps need to be doubled because sitting in the office and assuming everything is fine cannot always help. Sometimes officers want to see an active administrator who is able to demonstrate that they are able to carry out the tasks and provide guidance,” the regional police commander says.
The tough-spoken Katanga believes in supervision and having an eagle’s eye besides waiting for feedback on whatever assignment is given to her officers.
She says police work is not something that can be done in a vacuum but needs strong linkages with the community and other law enforcing agencies for a common goal of having a peaceful and non-chaotic nation.
Ms Katanga aspires to leave a legacy where the police profession in the province will be able to instil confidence in junior officers and that of the general public.
“I would like to see after me, a professional and reliable police officer who is able to respond to dynamics of crime in the current scenario, who would carry on the good works that I have done, officers who are fearless.
“This is so because our work is challenging and comes with issues such that at times, it requires a fearless officer who can stand up for their rights even though others want to paint it black when in fact, it is supposed to be white, “Ms Katanga added.
She remains upbeat that though it is sometimes a difficult thing to stand on principles as a result of opposing motives, it is possible and imperative for police officers to be steadfast.
She visualises a gangster-free Copperbelt Province and anchored on respect for the rule of law and respect for one another.
“I want to see peace and tranquility on the Copperbelt and I’m looking forward to a time when security measures at the infamous Black Mountain in Kitwe will be enhanced. Above all, gangsterism must be nipped in the bud,” she says.
Known by many as a tough officer, Ms Katanga started her primary school at Broadway Primary School in Kabwe in 1983 and was there until her seventh grade. She proceeded to Caritas Convent Secondary School in Kabwe for her junior and part of senior secondary from 1990 to 1992.
She later went to Linda Secondary in Livingstone where she completed her senior secondary in 1994 and tried to join the Zambia Army the same year, but was not selected, despite successfully passing the physical training tests.
Two years later in 1996, she went to Lilayi Police College where she was recruited as constable and was posted to Chifubu Police Station in Ndola as her first appointment under the detective unit.
Her determination to serve the people diligently compelled her to enrol at the University of Zambia to study law. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Law in 2005.
Later, she enrolled at the Zambia Institute of advanced Legal Education (ZIALE) and obtained her law practising license which blends well with demands of the profession.
She also obtained a Diploma in Legislative Drafting from ZIALE. Against all odds, Ms Katanga is in the process of completing her Masters in Law at UNZA once she concludes her research.
With all the pressure at ZIALE, she was able to carry out her duties and the door opened for her rise to the position of assistant superintend and was transferred to Lusaka Division still under the detective section as a criminal investigator.
Because of her hard work and passion for the job, Ms Katanga remarkably worked in various police sections one of them being that of deputy division prosecutions officer (DPO) and in operations under late Wasakaza Ng’uni’s charge.
This led her way to Police Service headquarters where she carried out a lot of criminal investigations before switching to the legal section as legal officer. She was then attached to the Attorney General’s office, serving under Judge Mumba Malila and later moved to the Director of Public Prosecutions Office during Justice Chalwe Muchenga’s reign.
Ms Katanga continued on the path of promotion through ranks this time as senior legal officer and later as professional standards officer in charge of prosecutions in the Zambia Police.
“I was later upgraded to superintendent and senior superintendent. In 2010, I was again promoted to assistant Commissioner during the Rupiah Banda reign,” she recounts.
Sooner after her promotion, she was again elevated to the position of Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of prosecutions in the country.
In 2011, Ms Katanga was again promoted as Lusaka Province police commissioner by then President Michael Sata who wanted to see more women in key decision-making positions.
By August 2012, she was moved to Southern Province in the same capacity and later was transferred to Northern Province until 2015 when she went back to Lusaka. In January of 2016, she was moved to the Copperbelt Province.
Ms Katanga was born to Ubano Mwamba Masambo and Veronica Katongo in 1977 in Mporokoso as the fourth child in a family of five. She is married to Chola Katanga, the Police Commissioner for Muchinga Province. She says she will always remain indebted to her husband for his support in her career path.
FRANK CHING’AMBU, Ndola