Editor's Comment

Police stakeholder engagements important

ARTICLE 193(2) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 states that “the Zambia Police Service shall – (a) protect life and property; (b) preserve peace and maintain law and order; (c) ensure the security of the people; (d) detect and prevent crime; (e) uphold the Bill of Rights; (f) foster and promote good relationships with the defence force, other national security services and members of society; and (g) perform other functions as prescribed.”
There have, however, been cases where the police have conducted themselves in a manner that appears to go against these principles.
Therefore, the goodwill mission by Zambia Police Service through Deputy Inspector General for operations Bonnie Kapeso is commendable.
Police are on a mission to pacify the political environment through engagements with various political players.
Mr Kapeso’s first engagement was with the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) where he advised them about respecting State security during public functions.
Mr Kapeso cautioned PF cadres from engaging in activities that could endanger the security of the President.
Yesterday, Mr Kapeso counselled the United Party for National Development on the need to trust and respect the police.
The quest to respect the police and trust their role must be complemented by clear actions to ensure that the police would perform their role as provided for in the law.
There is need for Mr Kapeso as the second highest ranked officer and the leadership of the police service to put in place and implement measures to ensure that Police officers do not abuse their positions, but that they will perform the role they are constitutionally mandated to perform.
Once that is done, it will become easy for various stakeholders, including political parties, to respect and trust the police.
The police command is aware that the lack of trust between the police and political parties is a recipe for the violence the country has witnessed, especially during elections.
The lack of trust has to be resolved now as the country prepares for the 2021 tripartite elections.
And now, police are irrevocably bound to win back the trust and confidence and need a paradigm shift that will address the real issues without fear or favour.
It will take a new set of discipline to replace this less-desired one for one reason; the public’s trust in them has badly waned. That is why the current stakeholder engagement embarked on by Mr Kapeso is the way to go and deserves support.
Stakeholder engagement is an established practice in policing anywhere in the world as the success of police work depends largely on the cooperation of stakeholders.
For the engagement with political parties, the Police must also include stakeholder concerns.
The task police have is enormous but definitely not insurmountable. They have set a firm foundation and tone for the public.
Political party cadres, on their part, should ensure they follow the law. That will make the work of police easier.



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