The Zambian social media was last week dominated by the storm brewing in the United Party for National Development (UPND) involving the suspension of the party’s Vice President for Administration Dr. Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba.
There was so much speculation as to what would have caused the problems and what Mwamba should do. One of the commentators suggested that Mwamba should just forget about the UPND because the party was beyond redemption. “UPND will never change. All they want is power to serve their personal and foreign interests, not national unity,” the commentator said.
But just as all WhatApp groups were warming up to the hot political debate, the nation was jolted into shock by the brutal and cold blooded serial murders committed by a police officer.
Constable Jackson Mwanza went wild after suspecting that his girlfriend of the last three years was in a relationship with another man. On Friday 19 April, which was Good Friday, Constable Mwanza stabbed his girlfriend’s suspected boyfriend in the head and shoulder using a military knife in the presence of other police officers at Benny Mwiinga Police Station in PHI Residential area.
The following day, constable Mwanza continued with his rage and went and shot a student at Chainama Health College in the leg and then moved to Mtendere compound where he killed two mechanics he found chatting with his girlfriend. One of the two mechanics died on the spot while the second one died at Levy Mwanawasa hospital.
Then the constable went into hiding until Sunday 21 April when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the tummy with an AK47 Service Rifle near the Chainama Golf Club.
There is no doubt that the Zambia Police Service acted very unprofessionally. Stabbing a person with a military knife is a very serious offence and the wild constable Mwanza was supposed to be arrested at that moment and charged with criminal assault and should have been appearing in Court on Tuesday morning.
The whole incident has annoyed many Zambians and people are wondering whether our police force has the capacity to protect Zambians. I completely agreed with the many angry comments that people made about the Zambia Police Service in the aftermath of the senseless killing of innocent people using a police service weapon.
This incident has really redefined our police service as a worthless, leaderless institution and one may ask if what people are saying is the true reflection of what the ‘force’ has become.
Is it true that our police service is just composed of the children of retired and serving senior police officers who just wear uniform so that they can get a salary at the end of the month?
Is it true that be police ‘bana siya kumanga bantu, manje bamanga manyumba’ (police officers have no time to arrest people because they are busy building houses)?
Is it true that the Zambia Police Service is full of cadres who were favored with jobs and are just using their uniforms to amass wealth at the expense of our security?
Is true that the police officers own half of the minibuses that contravene traffic rules loading passengers along Freedom Way?
It is true that party cadres are more powerful than police officers?
These questions are all based on the comments that people have made on the Zambia Police Service in the last seventy two hours.
The Police Service Command must explain to the nation how constable Mwanza got the AK47. Was he on duty or was he entitled to carry the weapon to his house?
The Command must explain why Mwanza was not arrested on Friday after he stabbed his girlfriend’s suspected lover. Was he in hiding? Was his Commanding Officer informed? If not why was he not reported to his superiors on Friday? Were the officers protecting their friend?
And then from the time he injured the student in the Chainama hostels, why didn’t the police follow and apprehend him before he went into Mtendere. There is a good distance between Chainama College and Mtendere and police should have intercepted Mwanza before he shot the two mechanics.
What has gone wrong with our Police Service? Shall we ever get back to the good old days of the likes of Inspector Mwale? The old man mounted road blocks that were for the good safety of road users and he filled police car parks with defective vehicles.
Today, officers mount road blocks three times a day and we have so many defective vehicles moving freely on our roads. Incompetent drivers drive Public Service Vehicles and we continue losing hundreds of lives almost every week. What then is the purpose of the numerous road blocks?
The Police Command must act swiftly to stamp its authority on the officers and ensure that proper controls are put in place. They must redefine what Zambia Police Service means to the people of Zambia.
All the officers who neglected their duty in line with the police service code of conduct must be disciplined so that such a callous act does not take place again in the peaceful nation of Zambia.
As for the government, I do hope that they are spending sleepless nights over the decaying level of service among our police officers. I am sorry to say this; but I cannot shy away from saying that time has come for change at the top of the Police Service.
Firm command should be the norm of our Police Service, not favoritism!
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