Stella Libongani was the first female Inspector General of Police in Zambia. Unfortunately her tenure was marred with total disregard to the rule of law and was such a disgrace to Zambians in general and the women folk in particular. Stella presided over a brutal and most ferocious Police Force in the history of this country. This assertion pre-dates the colonial Police Force. It was under Stella that we witnessed unprecedented constriction of democratic space for opposition parties. It was under Stella that Police teargased and mercilessly beat up innocent people for simply wanting to express their democratic rights. It was under Stella that the Public Order Act was indiscriminately abused by the Police to deny permits to opposition Parties.
To put it plainly, Stella and her colleagues at the Police Service sold off to the politicians. The allowed themselves to dance to the songs of their appointing authority. They did not care whether instructions they received from their masters were legal or not. When asked to jump, Stella and her cohorts asked, “how high?”. They traded their professionalism at the alter of expedience. Never let a politician grant you a favour, they will always want to control you for ever said a legendary musician. Stella is no longer useful to powers that be and they have decided to shunt her into the Foreign Service, a place the PF uses to dump failed functionaries.
Stella’s lesson is very important. It is a timely warning to all those senior public servants that chose to obey their masters instead of following laid down procedure. Take for instance the conduct of the Zambia National Broadcasting Cooperation? What is happening there is absurd to say the least. Stella is a young woman and we hope her time in Canada, a developed democracy will teach her a thing or two. She will learn that a Police Service can be professional, apolitical and impartial. She will hopefully also learn that businesses thrive where people feel secure and protected by the police. A professional Police Service can be a catalyst to development, job creation and economic emancipation. The reverse is also true, as we have seen in the last 4 years of PF rule with its repressive and brutal Police Force. Every person deserves a second chance and we wish this appointment to Canada will help reform Stella.
Finally, may I take this opportunity to congratulate the new Inspector General of Police, Mr.Kakoma Kangaja. We look forward to working with you and as always, I want to reaffirm our unflinching commitment to working within the prescribed Laws of the Republic of Zambia. My humble advice to you is that you are the Inspector General of the Zambia Police Service and not the PF Party and as such the public will expect nothing less but professionalism in the execution of you duties. I wish you well.
Chair- UPND Media