Has Zambia police been commercialised?

Dear Editor,

I am writing this letter to you due to rampant corruption, unaccountability, and irresponsiveness exhibited within the public service. Nothing seems to be done based on professionalism and tenets of public service in a democratic dispensation in our country, which makes one to wonder as to whether public officers do receive any training at all of if they do, the relevance of type of training they receive to public service.

I am filled with sadness that the government has done very little to curb corruption in all its forms in the public service except for verbal utterances which do not translate into proactive action. Corruption must be nipped while still in its bud rather than arrest perpetrators only, as resources need for developmental endeavours are going in individual pockets.

On such department besides others such as the passport office, DEC, Immigration, the Judiciary etc. is the Zambia Police service which has gone commercial in its public service delivery. An individual has to pay for literally everything from a call-out, medical report form, police report, affidavit, even application for disposal form the bereaved. Without money exchanging hands, no serious attention is given to a complaint.

A fortnight ago, I took my two guns to Ndola Central police station in order to have the licences endorsed for renewal. To my dismay the officer who I found there who called himself as Chief Inspector Chisenga and appeared to have been nursing a hangover told me that he could not have my licences endorsed except he cleaned my guns. I refused to have them cleaned as they were clean, but he insisted saying they were fouled. Thinking it was a service performed to the public I gave him the go ahead, but surprisingly he demanded that I pay K50.00 apiece just for smearing oil to them. This shocked me as I had not budgeted for this expense, which I reluctantly gave to him as I had been, kept waiting for a long time and without a receipt. I wonder how many individuals he has treated like that.

Last Friday April 4th, 2014, as if by coincidence, while at Ndola central police station in the afternoon, I met a couple of men who were complaining that the same officer had refused to let them withdraw a gun they had deposited sometime last year, claiming that the gun was fouled. They wondered how an unused firearm could be fouled and needed cleaning. They equally did not have the money to pay and were compelled to go and look for the K50.00 fee.

Can the Zambia Police top brass explain to us the citizens that they have gone commercial so that we may know what to expect? Questions that need answers are: Why is the money received not receipted? Why are there no standard fees country-wide? In the case of Chief Inspector Chisenga, who does he give the money to? And why does he compel gun owners to service their guns? This is day-light robbery by the men in uniform, may the powers that be help us as we are tired of these thieves.

This leaves much to be desired and it can be inferred from these individuals and those senior officers appearing before courts that the whole Zambia Police service requires a system overhaul in order to salvage it from a corrupt culture.

Concerned Citizen, (Hide my ID)

Ndola.

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