By Eros Ilunga
It is with sadness that I write to comment on what we have just watched on ZNBC 1900 TV main news.
First of all it is important to put it on record that violence of whatever form is unacceptable. It is therefore sad to see civilians “taking the law into their own hands” against law enforcement officers. Having said this, I wish to bring out what I feel could be reasons for this fight between civilians and law enforcement officers right at their officers.
By nature police officers are symbols of state authority. Thus citizens ordinarily respect the police and have no problems obeying their instruction. Secondly the police are supposed to be seen as neutral parties in times of conflicts. Accordingly, under normal circumstances parties in a conflict would feel safe and comfortable to let the police arbitrate in a conflict. To put it in another way, police command public trust and respect when they are seen to act in an impartial, neutral, fair and humane way.
What therefore makes the police lose public trust, confidence and respect is lack of professionalism. Today’s kerfuffle at Woodlands Police Station is a sign of this loss of public trust. Since the PF came into power we have seen the worst form of state abuse of the police. The opposition have been denied permits to hold rally while their counterparts in the PF hold various processions without permits.
And what is more the police are busy charging political leaders on flimsy and trumped up charges. Since some of these matters are subjudice, I shall not go in detail. It is like police are just hell-bent on fishing for “offences”. Little wonder they even had the audacity to attempt to arrest a person in court! It is a shame that police can preoccupy themselves with ‘fixing’ opposition leaders when there are so many issues requiring their attention. The Mailoni brothers have been on the loose for years now, where are the police? The nation has also seen a spate of murders; this is what the police should concentrate their efforts on.
The UPND (and the opposition in general) are aggrieved and do not trust or respect the police because of being used as PF lapdogs hence the cadres behaviour. This unprofessional conduct is unhealthy for the nation and may lead to serious chaos if left unchecked. The onus is therefore on the police command to own up, refuse to be used by politicians and carry out their functions professionally.