Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) Executive Director Lee Habasonda has implored Zambians to reject Zambia Police’s (ZP) wish to engage foreign police to assist during the forthcoming elections.
Below is what Habasonda said:
Press statement – 16th August 2011
The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) is concerned with the reports that the Zambia police force would like to partner with the Zimbabwean Republican Police in combating possible election violence in Zambia during the 2011 tripartite elections. We are particularly concerned that with all the police officers and security officers in this country, the Zambian police force can opt to work with the Zimbabwean police in policing Zambian elections.
The whole world is fully aware of the brutality of the Zimbabwe Republican Police. There are hundreds of Zimbabweans who have either been tortured or killed by the police in Zimbabwe for expressing political opinions and we wonder why the Zambia police fin it suitable to want to bring such a brutal police force to come and police Zambian elections.
SACCORD demands that the police makes their position very clear to the nation on what kind of cooperation they want to engage with with the Zimbabwe Republican Police which is best known in the world for torture, human rights violations and lack or regards for the rule of law. What does Zambia want to learn from the Zimbabwe police who do not have any good record as far as promoting and protecting human rights as well as policing elections?
We also want to know from the Inspector General of Police Mr. Francis Kabonde if at all it is an admission that the Zambian police do not have the capacity to police this year’s elections despite the billions of kwacha that have been spent by government as well as donors to retrain the police in election police. Is Mr. Kabonde trying to imply that he has no confidence in his own officers who are serving under him? What does the Zambia police want to engage in during this year’s elections against the people of Zambia which can only be done by Zimbabwean police officers who in the first place have no loyalty to the people of this country?
SACCORD believes that the responsibility of providing security to the citizens of this country solely lies in the hands of the Zambia police force and not some foreign police force. Any cooperation with a foreign police force will only serve to undermine Zambia’s own national security. We are left to wonder the motives behind wanting to work with the police from Zimbabwe whose record is extremely poor in as far as respecting human rights.
While the police in Zambia have the responsibility to properly plan on how best to police elections, we believe that the country should not be subjected to the kind of policing which the people of Zimbabwe have been going through during elections in that country.
We also believe that the people of Zambia can only be best protected by Zambian police officers who apart from being employed by Zambians have the loyalty to the people of this country. There is no need to subject the people of this country to the danger that has befallen Zimbabweans during elections.
We also appeal to Zambians to reject and condemn the Zambian police’s attempt to engage foreign police entities to police our country’s elections.