PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has fired several senior police officers on the Copperbelt, accusing them of supporting the opposition UPND.
According to highly placed sources in the service, the officers have been dismissed under the guise of retiring them in national interest.
Top of the list is Peacewell Mweemba, the deputy commissioner of police in-charge of the School of Public Order Maintenance, Kamfinsa Mobile Unit in Kitwe.
Others include senior superintendent in-charge of operations at Kamfinsa only identified as Ms Mwiimbu, and Pethias Siandenge, who was in-charge of traffic in Ndola district, among others.
“It has come as a shock even to the police command at the highest level that these senior and strategic police officers have been fired. If you look at the manner in which their letters have been framed, they have just stated that they have been retired in national interest. There are 14 of them from Copperbelt alone and we know where this is coming from,” said a senior police officer who sought anonymity.
“…of late police officers have been interrogated on the happenings on the Copperbelt with the latest being the visit by [UPND leader] Hakainde Hichilema. It seems that sent most of these politicians in PF panicking because of the current volatility in the province where people are losing jobs in the mines. The Head of State was extremely annoyed that HH was allowed entry into the province, that’s why his exit from Luanshya was quite dramatic. Police officers forced him out of Luanshya with an escort of about 17 pick-up vans full of riot police up to Mpongwe turn off. The instructions were clear, to flush him [Hichilema] out of the province.”
The source further explained that the current political situation in perceived PF strongholds had seriously threatened the ruling party’s continued existence, which had resulted in witch-hunt in the civil service, including the police.
“In fact, for the police service it’s worse because instructions are even coming from very junior PF provincial officials, some of them in the youth wing. It’s very painful as a professional or career policeman to receive instructions from a PF youth official. Look at how these professionals have lost their hard-earned careers simply because of politics, for simply refusing to act outside the requirements of the rule of law,” said the source.
When contacted, Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani could neither confirm nor deny but said: “Get the details from the spokesperson of the Zambia Police Service.”
But police spokesperson Charity Munganga Chanda’s mobile phone was not reachable by press time.