Opinion

TIMELY WARNING

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  • We hope that Mr Kanganja’s warning will not be construed as bullying especially by the opposition. From our understanding, the warning applies to all across the political divide.

INSPECTOR-GENERAL of Police Kakoma Kanganja’s warning against those plotting to cause mayhem and civil strife after the 2021 presidential and general elections is timely.
Much as we realise that the political atmosphere will be hot as the various political parties jostle for the country’s presidency and parliamentary seats, focus must not be lost that peace must prevail at the end.
Obviously, Mr Kanganja, as head of the Police Service cannot just be issuing empty threats that are not based on evidence.
He is privy to intelligence information and quite clearly, there are some political elements in the country who could be plotting mischief should the election results not go their way.
We hope that Mr Kanganja’s warning will not be construed as bullying especially by the opposition. From our understanding, the warning applies to all across the political divide.
Zambians want the country to be at peace before and after the 2021 elections. The country has had peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections since independence and people want that tradition to be maintained.
The assurance by Mr Kanganja therefore that the Police Service was more than ready to deal with those who intend to deliberately break the law before, during and after the 2021 general elections is welcome.
Mr Kanganja said the Zambia Police Service would not fail to deal with lawbreakers because tools and means were available.
Yes, it is not just the tools and means that is at the disposal of the police, but the goodwill of the Zambian people.
As Mr Kanganja noted, the increasing levels of violence, abuse of social media, and propaganda in the country were of much concern to his command.
The sporadic violence that has broken out during some of the by-elections held this year should be condemned, and must not be accepted as the norm.
To this end, we urge all political parties to commit themselves to ensuring that peace prevails as they crisscross the country to try and woo the electorate.
It is important that even as the country inches closer to the 2021 elections, political parties avoid rhetoric that may infuriate opponents but articulate their points in a civil manner.
We agree with Mr Kanganja that all political players must conduct issue-based campaigns and desist from any form of violence.
Thus all political parties must also commit themselves to work with the police. Parties must not regard the Police Service as their enemy as it enforces the Public Order Act, which after all is their mandate.
One of the best ways in which the parties they show their commitment to peace is by dissolving their so-called security wings or militias comprising young cadres in “military fatigues.”
These in most cases are responsible for the widespread violence during campaigns.
Although the Police Service has over the years often been accused of favouring the ruling parties in its enforcement, we note that President Edgar Lungu has recently advised the police to allow the opposition “breathing room” to operate.
It did not need the President to say so. Mr Kanganja and his officers should thus realise that they have the President’s backing as long as they are applying the law equally.

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