INSPECTOR General of Police Graphel Musamba says the newly-commissioned Forensic DNA Laboratory at Levy Medical University (LMMU) in Lusaka has already dealt with five paternity cases.
The police chief made the revelation during the launch of the country’s first ever Forensic DNA Laboratory.
Before the launch of the K11 million Laboratory, Zambia used to send DNA samples to South Africa for examinations.
But the Laboratory set in the country, Musamba said DNA evidence had revolutionised the way Zambia Police Service approached investigations by providing evidence that links suspects to crimes and exonerates the innocent.
Musamba said lack of DNA facility in the country led to alarming increase in sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases.
He pointed out that in 2022, 33,536 GBV cases were reported as compared to 29,540 in 2021 representing a 73.3 per cent increase.
“Since the establishment of the cases submitted for analysis. Eight of these sexual offenses, 22 were murder cases, five were paternity cases, three were robberies and four were human identity inquiry cases, Musamba revealed.
And Minister of Home affairs and Internal Security, Jack Mwiimbu thanked the United States of America, United Nations, Ireland and Sweden for the rendered support towards the Lab’s establishment.
“My ministry is disheartened by the increasing number of sexual crimes and the high number of unresolved cases due the unavailability of DNA evidence, it is therefore a relief to government to know that such a huge problem can now be locally resolved for our people and by our own people,” said Mwiimbu.
This development will help Inspector General of Police Graphel Musamba and his men to stray away from asking the who, what, where, how and when questions for a long time in order to solve a criminal case, as he confirmed that the lack of a local DNA facility in the country is what led to the alarming increase in sexual and GBV cases.
Meanwhile, United Nations Resident Coordinator, Beatrice Mutali said DNA evidence provided crucial support to survivors’ testimony or witness statement in court.
To make this a success, the United States procured lab equipment costing a whooping US$600,000 (K11 million) while the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) financed the partitioning of the lab and procured the first DNA reagents.
By Buumba Mwitumwa
Kalemba May 17, 2023