By Merlyn Mwanza
Political thugs attacking radio stations under the guise of politics is criminal and should come to an end forthwith, warns Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja.
Last week, unruly PF thugs attempted to attack Mafken radio in Mufulira on the Copperbelt for hosting opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
However, the attack was repelled by alert Mufulira residents in conjunction with UPND supporters.
During the same week, PF thugs stormed magistrate court premises in total disregard to Covid-19 health guidelines, when corrupt accused minister of health Chitalu Chilufya appeared before the court on several corruption charges.
It is from this context that Kanganja warns PF thugs against the habit of storming radio stations whenever opposition leaders are featured.
“It has been observed that there is a growing tendency of political party cadres storming police stations with impunity as has been the case in the recent incidences recorded in Lusaka and the Copperbelt provinces where some cadres were seen protesting or causing confusion at police stations. Invasion of radio stations by political cadres whenever a political figure is being hosted has continued with the recent one being in Mufulira district of the Copperbelt province. Another area of concern is the unending provocation, clashes and attacks happening at grave sites by these same political cadres. I want to remind everyone that Zambia is a democratic country which has laws in place and any person who may feel aggrieved by the conduct of another should follow the due process of the law in lodging their complaints as opposed to abrogating provisions of the law. I want to warn all those who think they are above the law that being a law enforcement agency, the Zambia police shall not sit and watch the unruly conduct of political party cadres take its toll. The tolerance which my police officers have been exercising should not be taken for weakness,” Kanganja warned in a statement yesterday.
He stated that police stations were not playing grounds for cadres, warning those disrespecting the premises that they would be met by the full force of the law.
“We shall not at any point tolerate any misconduct or thuggery behaviour by anyone irrespective of their political affiliation and I am calling on all police officers to ensure that such criminal conduct comes to an end,” he added. “I also want to remind political players that police stations are not play grounds for them hence any disrespectful conduct towards the police by any individual will be met with the full wrath of the law. Provisions of the police Act, criminalises any discreditable conduct at a police station and as such, any action by the police in this regard should not be taken as intimidation. Our role as the police is to ensure that law and order prevails hence anything to the contrary will not be entertained.”
On PF cadres who misbehaved at the magistrate court compelling the court to adjourn the case against corrupt accused Chilufya, Kanganja further warned the cadres to stay away from the courts. “In the same vein, I want to advise that individuals without cases at courts of law should stay away especially this time when we are faced with the Covid-19 pandemic. Police will ensure that only those with cases in court access court premises. Any resistance to this directive shall attract equal reaction from the police so as to ensure compliance,” stated Kanganja. “There is need for all political players to sober up and adopt civil politics unlike the growing intolerance and thuggery witnessed in the recent past. Political leaders at different levels should play their role in sensitising their cadres on the need to tolerate each other as they conduct their political activities. It is possible for all political parties to carry out their activities peacefully and this calls for personal and collective discipline and responsibility. We should always remember that attainment of a peaceful environment is a shared responsibility. I want to emphasise that it will not be business as usual as I have directed my officers to be firm on the ground and apply the law accordingly.” -Daily Revelation