By Given Mutinta
This piece is not by any stretch of imagination a pronouncement on the veritableness or spuriousness of the knowledge in the public domain about the Inspector General (IG) of Zambia Police (ZP) Dr. Martin Malama’s sexual relationship with the Police Spokesperson (PS) Elizabeth Kanjela. The increasing ‘mouthing’ and deepening ‘ink’ by the public for the two officers to resign or be given ‘sacks’ cannot be ignored by any judicious person.
The IG and PS saga has caught many people’s attention because it involves the ‘headmaster’ and the ‘mouth piece’ of the Zambia Police Service who are the epitomes of the Zambia Police, the embodiments of all respect, the custodians of integrity and symbols of authority caught up in a ‘Black Friday Deal’ of the police service. Could this be the first case to show to be false the wisdom that ‘there is no smoke without fire’? I do not think so because the IG and PS have not denied the bustling story on their sexual relationship.
The office of the IG like other public service positions goes with integrity both in one’s public and private life. That is the ‘nature’ of public service positions. The IG and PS must prove their innocence because the public has the right to know what is happening in the lives of their leaders, the custodians of their lives. If the revelation is veritable they should immediately resign. They have stepped beyond the norm or moral code of the police service and have also defiled the IG’s matrimonial bond. As a leader you cannot be committed to one and not to the other. Commitment to one’s private and public life are two faces of the same coin and both demand integrity.
Until the IG and PS exculpate themselves, the information in the public realm about their sexual relationship will be taken as an indubitable fact. If this is the case, then the two officers have corrupted each other. It is lack of integrity for a junior officer to offer sexual favours to a senior officer in soliciting for a promotion and it is in the same way lack of integrity for a senior officer to solicit for sex from a junior officer in exchange of a promotion.
Are we not supposed to rise
through the ranks on merit; the knowledge and experience we have? Are we not supposed to be rewarded for our distinguished service with ‘true honour’ not with sexual favours? Without integrity how will police officers serve and retire with dignity?
It is unfortunate that the IG is snarled in a sexual relationship with a junior officer. This will undeniably damage the reputation of his stanchness to the police service. Is he not the same leader whose ascension to his position raised voices of dissent from different quarters of our society? Will his alleged sexual relationship with the PS vindicate those who argued that it was arduous to imagine any justification why President Michael Sata left all police officers with enormous experience and appoint Malama with somewhat police experience to such a crucial position?
Could it be true that the IG was appointed because he is Sata’s nephew, and did not have the ‘salt’ it takes to be the IG? If he was appointed on merit and the story on his sexual escapade is true does it mean that Sata did not consult extensively to unearth these bones? What was the ‘measuring rod’ used to determine Malama’s integrity?
What has happened to the IG a man I admired, the only Copperbelt Police Commanding Officer I know whose charisma could make a woman go berserk in her ‘groin’ and then without losing it put her back in her right place? What has happened to Malama a man with an outward appearance that could make a hardcore criminal plead guilty before thinking ‘twice’?
The IG’s saga reminds me of the South Africa’s former National Police Chief, Jack Selebi an apartheid struggle icon who is convicted of corruption and my most admired National Commissioner of the South African Police Service ‘General Bheki Cele’ a charismatic leader in all ways one can think of suspended over lease saga. What goes on in the minds of distinguished service men and women that they throw their integrity to the wind? Is it because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? Or power does not corrupt but corrupt people seek power?
If the IG and PS saga is true they must resign for the ignominy they have caused to the government, police service, their offices, to the IG’s marriage and family. Could it be true that of all the qualities Sata saw in the Malama one he does not have is integrity which regrettably is the most important of all especially for the IG position, the custodian to the ‘holy vault’.
Why should a person be a custodian of more than 13 million lives when he cannot be a responsible caretaker of both his private and public life? The position of the IG requires a man or woman with integrity. A person with a staunch adherence to a code of police morals and artistic values ‘incorruptibility’ which is unimpaired condition ‘soundness’ and quality of being undivided in one’s private and public activities. Malama’s saga suggests that he lacks integrity of character and professional integrity required of the ‘headman’ of the police service.
It is sad that in spite of occupying the highest position in the Zambia Police Service it seems Malama did not circumspectly reflect on what his job calls for in terms of integrity. In public office, once a person has been found to be shot of integrity he or she should be demoted or fired. The position of the IG is a ‘sensitive’ one. The IG is not only expected to deliver but to do so with integrity.
The IG and PS saga is a ‘knick-knack’ to all those appointed to public offices to act with integrity at all times. This is critical, subordinates and people in general are constantly watching the leader figures. The IG supposed to be a role model to inspire police officers they command and the people they serve to be good citizens. This is how credible leaders model people’s lives. If the IG and PS saga cannot be proved wrong then these two officers lack integrity and should be removed from their jobs.
Surely, the Police Service should remain to be a place where distinguished men and women serve their nation with real ‘integrity’ and retire distinguished and not ‘extinguished’ of moral fibre. We need officers who will work with ‘integrity’ and see gratia in their work and marriages. The IG has failed the nation for not maintaining the highest standards of character and integrity in his service. The alleged sexual relationship with the PS is a clear indicator that he is devoid of integrity and does not deserve to be the chief custodian of the people of Zambia.Without integrity the head of police will not be able to garner respect and confidence of officers and people.
If the alleged sexual relationship exists then the IG also lacks virtue. I mean nothing but the ‘courage’ a person with a higher public position should have as part of his integrity. I am talking about ‘bravely’ and the ‘endurance’ required to stand up against anything deemed wrong that may be created by the conditions at one’s workplace. Having a sexual relationship with a junior officer, fathering a child with her and helping her rise in ranks as alleged goes too far to hurt the integrity of the police service. It is corruption at the highest level.
The position of the IG like many other higher public positions means little because they are always pressures placed upon them. Regrettably, Malama yielded to the crude human pressure and compromised his integrity. In all honesty, why will he not also yield to pressure that may come from the commander in chief, government agencies, political figures or social groups and civilians?
Succumbing to instigations such that one has a sexual relationship with a junior officer suggests that the IG is susceptible to taking ‘shortcuts’ to accomplish goals both for himself and others. This is not integrity but corruption that should be condemned in strongest terms possible. Is loyalty and trust by superiors and subordinates not cardinal in the police service? Is it not corruption to take ‘shortcuts’ to get or give sexual favours or rather use the ‘bottom power stratagem’ in soliciting and facilitating promotional opportunities?
An IG should be a ‘straight shooter’, if corrupt in his private and public life he or she should be demoted immediately. It is inescapable that people under his or her command may start lying as well and this is not a culture we want to promote in the Zambia Police Service and other public offices.
Malama’s yielding to pressure may be an indicator that the police service is laden with people without integrity. Or could this be just one of the isolated cases? The IG should have known better that lying infects the honour system that exists in the police service. We cannot afford to promote deceit, dishonesty and insincerity in the police service.
Malama’s saga is a clarion call to all those especially in higher ranking public offices that the consequences of corruption, nepotism, and cronyism in one’s private and public life are not only deep, but also far reaching. Abusing public service positions and subordinates in trying to satisfy one’s rapacious, voracious and predatory appetites will eventually backfire ‘tenfold’.
On the other hand, if the IG and PS saga is not true then there is no need for the IG to have white nights. Those who bed with the truth do not get perturbed by ‘tittle-tattles’ because they know exactly where they stand and the truth will exonerate them. If otherwise, then the IG has ‘shot down’ his honour and integrity.
This also should serve as one of the several admonitions to Sata to consult extensively when making appointments to public offices. This is one sure way of avoiding appointing leaders who can ‘pull wool’ over the organizations they are supposed serve so as to make shady and corrupt deals. This may make people lose confidence in the public service.
Never should we promote a culture of ‘nimwamene ilili pa Zed’ this is business as usual. Yes, it is business as usual but this business is abusing public service leadership. The IG and PS should both go otherwise the moral fabric of the police service will be damaged. The police service should remain ‘salt’ to our society without losing its taste.
As incessantly accentuated in this piece, if the IG saga is true, failure for him to keep his marriage and work together reflects terribly upon his integrity. If he cannot get a grip on the conditions, which he lives, how can he handle the conditions, which he must perform and work in? Never at any given time should we allow the image of the police service, the noblest profession in the world to come to its lowest ebb.
Let us promote a culture of hard work so that on merit we can ascend to higher ranks. Is it not true that our integrity and dignity are worth more than higher ranks we get through surreptitious and craft methods?
Why is it that when we are appointed to higher ranking public offices we fail to learn from service personnel who have worked and retired with ‘integrity’ and are surviving on it? We long to see men and women who are willing to go to ‘hell’ for being resolute to tenaciously hold on to their integrity.
I mean men and women who do not carry animalistic instinct of ‘survival of the fittest’ to the full, men and women who are not willing to sell their hearts and integrity to the devil because they know that these two count in influencing an illustrious police service.
Let us demand for a clean police service as it was in the days of old. It is not too late to recoup the integrity and grandeur of the most excellent police service in our country.
We need to ‘roll up our sleeves’ and build a quality police service, and this requires quality leadership. Without integrity, leadership cannot thrive and our mission will suffer horrendously.
Here and now, let us demand from those in public offices standards to be exhibited in all their activities; both private and public lives. Anything less is unacceptable.