The intention by President Michael Sata’s nephew Martin Malama to go on TV and announce a witch-hunt list is very unfortunate.
Malama is the Inspector General of police. He is the custodian of our internal security.
Whereas the move will provide Malama a chance to show his brutal face on TV, to the people affected it will be horrendous.
There is clear and urgent need to deal with people who have plundered our resources. No one should ever go scot-free after stealing from our joint account as Zambians.
It does not matter when they stole or what position they held in society or government.
If they stole, the must pay back and be jailed.
But this need should not be used to harangue and persecute others. There are or should be processes and proper ways to go about such matters.
People must only be punished when they have been found guilty by a competent and impartial court of law.
The police have a very critical and very important role to play in these matters.
There job is to investigate and take the suspects to court. The police are not the final authorities on deciding who is guilty. It is the courts of law.
It is therefore immoral and abuse of authority for the police chief to try to publicise a list of people he thinks are guilty.
In the eyes of the public, that announcement will mean that those people are criminals.
Martin Malama should realise that he is not running an advertising agency for criminals. He is running a police force which is supposed to protect us from criminals.
It is this kind of attitude that makes the Zambia police so barbaric and unprofessional.
One can easily walk into any police station and accuse his neighbour of some crime and the police, without investigating, will lock up the accused person.
Malama, as head of the police is supposed to be exemplary in his duty.
Even if he is part of the family runningZambia, he can at least show some professionalism by resisting politicising the police service.
Why does he want to publicise the list of political suspects when he never told us the people who were stealing copper on the Copperbelt?
It is clear that such a move is driven by political forces who just want to score points at the expense of other people’s reputations.
Malama has the financial means and manpower to investigate acts of theft and corruption in the past government. There is no need to start dancing around and show that he is working. Let him arrest the suspects and take them to court. The courts will tell us who is guilty and who is not.
It is not the job of Malama to find people guilty, for that is what he will be doing if he publishes the dirty list.
But the idea of naming and shaming is a good one if properly done. It will be a good idea to publish a list of all the people who have stolen from our resources so that these criminals are known.
But such should only be done when the courts of law have decalred such people guilty.
Yes, in a country likeZambia, even courts can not be trusted. Those with money are innocent, those who can’t afford ‘court user fees’ are sent to jail.
This is the reality inZambia.