Major changes to the Police command have been made with some Policemen and officers in Southern Province being redeployed following the Bweengwa violence which is blamed on inept and incompetence on the security wing.
But Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja has said the police command has made changes in the police service in preparation for the August 11 general elections.
Mr Kanganja said in an interview yesterday that in preparing to effectively police the August 11 general elections, he had made some changes in the police command from the position of deputy commissioner to ranks below.
He said some police officers from Southern Province had been swapped with those from Eastern Province while others have been taken to force headquarters in Lusaka.
He also said it was not true that the police command had deployed a battalion of police officers to Bwengwa in Monze to harass citizens following the violence that erupted in the area in which Government officers and a ZANIS crew were waylaid, ambushed and abducted.
Mr Kanganja said the changes in the police command were meant to enhance efficiency and that he was going to mobilise police officers across the country to make sure that the general elections were conducted in a violence-free atmosphere.
He said police had the mandate to maintain peace at all times and that he was going to ensure that law and order was maintained before, during and after the general elections.
“In trying to prepare for the general elections, as the police command, we have decided to make changes from deputy commissioner to ranks below. This has seen officers moving from one Province to another and we have moved some officers from Southern Province to Eastern Province while others have come to Police headquarters. This is being done to enhance efficiency so that we should effectively police the general elections,” Mr Kanganja said.
And Mr Kanganja has said the Public Order Act (POA) is not a tool for harassing citizens including political parties but that the law was necessary to protect the rule of law and avoid the breakdown of peace in the country.
He said the Public Order Act was strictly meant to help maintain the rule of law and that the country could easily be thrown into chaos without the law.He said although the Pubic Order Act had been criticised by a cross-section of society, the police command was aware of its provisions and was therefore not going to abuse the law for political expediency.
Mr Kanganja however warned that political parties and individuals who would attempt to defy the law with impunity, they should be ready to face the consequences of their action.
He said where minimum force would be required in the application of the POA, the police would be ready to act to protect citizens and property.
“Political parties should not dare us over the POA because we understand the provisions of the law. We are not by any means going to abuse the POA and infringe on people’s freedoms of assembly and association. If we are dared, we will be able to apply minimum force because we have the mandate to maintain law and order. I swore to protect the Constitution and I live to it,” Mr Kanganja said.