I am a no no-sense person but I respect human rights – Charity Katanga

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I AM a no no-sense person when it comes to ensuring that law and order is observed, newly-appointed deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of operations Charity Katanga has said.

President Lungu swore-in Katanga on Thursday, replacing Bonny Kapeso whom he fired, along with Eugene Sibote and Nelson Phiri who served as Deputy Inspector General of Police- administration and Lusaka Province Police Commissioner respectively.

Richard Mweene was also sworn in to replace Sibote.

Speaking in an interview after being sworn in, Katanga said she was a friendly but firm officer who would not allow anyone to take her for granted or for a ride.

On the widespread insinuations that she was a brutal officer, Katanga said she was a lawyer who respected human rights and other people’s views.

“I am a disciplinarian and action-oriented, I want things done. As a lawyer, I respect human rights and other people’s views but I don’t allow to be taken for granted, for a ride. I am a no no-sense person when it comes to ensuring that law and order is observed whilst recognising the observance of human rights,” Katanga said.

She said the record of how she had dealt with public disorder in past was there for all to see and that those who accused her of brutality were just unhappy that they had found themselves in conflict with the law.

“You know, when some people are arrested who never thought they would be arrested, then they will not speak good about me,” she said.

Katanga insisted that the duty of the police was to ensure law and order but noted that not everyone would appreciate their role.

She complained that some people had insulted her even when she had performed her duties diligently as a police officer.

“I have personally been insulted for doing my job and as a woman, I can mention that it is a very difficult job because even when you put in your best, they will start insulting you. But if you look at men, they are sometimes treated with kid gloves, they are not rebuked as much as I am rebuked sometimes,” she observed.

Katanga promised that she would ensure fairness and impartiality in the application of the law but warned that she would not “allow people to just wake up and take the law into their own hands”.

In restoring what President Lungu has termed “eroding public confidence in the Zambia Police Service”, Katanga said she would contribute her expertise and experience in ensuring the service won public trust.

“For any system to work well, there should be unity of purpose, we don’t work in isolation,” she said.

Katanga said she would work closely with Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja and her counterpart, Mweene in reviewing some of the things that had gone wrong in the Zambia Police Service and quickly rectify them to inspire public confidence.

On enforcing the Public Order Act, Katanga said she would ensure that all political parties enjoyed their freedom of assembly and association within the confines of the law.

She said in the past, some people had dared the police concerning the issue of public assembly.

“There are some people who have dared the police and have gone to the media saying with or without Police allowing us, we will go ahead and conduct a meeting, now that is lawlessness itself. How can we ensure law and order if someone just wakes up and say with or without police…,” she wondered.

Katanga noted that public order was the cornerstone of the Zambia Police Service.

President Lungu has effected changes to the Zambia Police top leadership that has also seen the dismissal of Nelson Phiri as Lusaka Province Police Commissioner following the death of two people who police say were shot   in “unclear circumstances” over a week ago.

National Prosecutions Authority prosecutor Nsama Nsama and UPND supporter Joseph Kaunda were shot dead as UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema arrived for questioning at Police Force Headquarters in Lusaka on December 23.

The Head of State has also placed Kanganja on a six-month probation with the task of winning public trust in Zambia Police.

President Lungu has said the latest changes in the police were the beginning of a “cleansing” process.

Kalemba January 2, 2021

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