Saturday, July 20, 2024

Of cops and robbers!


By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Political/Social Analyst

In 2005 or thereabout, I went to a bank in Kitwe to withdraw cash for salaries. After concluding the transactions, I deposited the money into the car and walked to the nearby Post Office for some errands.

As I walked back to the car, I noticed there was something amiss……a newspaper where I had wrapped the money lay on the side of the door which was ajar. My heartbeat exploded instantly, sending a cold chill down my spine! I furiously flipped the glove compartment open and rummaged through it…….it was gone…..everything…….the entire payroll!

I confronted the newspaper vendors and asked whether they had seen anyone fidgeting with the car. Of course, they pleaded ignorance. I was wasting my time. I jumped into the vehicle and cruised to the Central Police at a rate that would have made Lewis Hamilton proud. I dexterously navigated around the road which is always clogged with the notorious cabs and minibuses and found myself at the station in record time!

I was referred to the department of Anti-Street Crime. The officers took my statement casually without showing much interest in my plight. When I suggested that they should perhaps quickly obtain a court order and demand to view the CCTV in and around the bank, one of them exploded, “Who the hell do you think you are to dictate to us how to conduct our investigations!?” He seemed to be nursing a terrible hangover……..he looked tired and appeared as though he hadn’t had contact with water that morning.

“I am sorry bwana,” I said, sheepishly. “I just thought you could easily trace and nab them before they misuse the money.”

I was asked to leave money for transport and report the next day. As I found my way back, mixed emotions raced through my mind like tornadoes. Would the money be recovered? How would I explain the predicament to the staff? At that particular moment, I hoped mother earth could just open up and swallow me!

By 08:00 hours the day, I was already at the station. “Any latest, officers?” I spluttered and shuddered as beads of perspiration registered on my brow. “Did you make a follow-up at the bank?”

The reception was lukewarm as usual. They avoided eye contact and looked withdrawn. The one with scars on his face and scary eyes, the officer who had sternly rebuked me the last time didn’t even bother paying me particular attention.

“Our investigations are on course, Sir” I could tell the officer was struggling to sound professional. “Just be patient and allow us to do our work professionally. We’ll also need something for airtime…..”

Something for airtime! Now that was akin to asking a drowning man for a glass of water…..Who does that!

Anyway, before going back to the police, I had shared my predicament with one of my contacts at the defunct The Post Newspaper. The journalist complained that he equally had his expensive Apple laptop nicked from his vehicle around the same area, and he knew of a prominent business lady who had a substantial amount of money stolen from her boot!

Following this tip-off, I suggested to the officers they should consider laying a trap for the suspected robbers at Kaunda Square, the epicenter of banks in Kitwe. The modus operandi was simple…..someone would possibly walk into a bank to withdraw loads of cash and leave it in a car as the police lurked in the shadows…….pretending to be cameramen, street vendors, or taxi drivers. And as the criminals attempted to swallow the bait, the cops would swing into action and pounce on them.

Little did I realise I would strike a raw nerve! The officers were now all on their toes, literally competing to scream the loudest! “We know what the heck we’re doing? Ndiwe ndani iwe to come and lecture us? We aren’t here to play around in case that’s what you think…..” As the noise rose to a crescendo, I couldn’t stomach it anymore. I stood up to leave!

As I walked to the car, one of the officers from the adjacent office, an old acquaintance of mine, accosted me. He explained to me I was wasting my precious time and resources dealing with the concerned officers.

“Those officers connive with the criminals……,” he whispered, conspiratorially. “When money is reported missing on the streets, they’d call the thieves and warn them they are aware of the missing cash in the city.”

These cops and robbers would then congregate at a secluded place to share the loot. Meanwhile, they would keep pretending that they are still carrying out the investigations. Could this be the reason why the effort to recover the loot from our previous corrupt leaders isn’t fast paying the dividends? Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Jack Mwimbu and Inspector General of police Mr. Lemmy Kajoba open your eyes!


  1. I do think our anti robbery unit (the so called flying squad) is trigger happy. And there is no investigation with those guys, they get called in and all they do is open fire.
    That’s the part of the police whose job is not to protect people and property but rather to kill. Didn’t the recently shoot an innocent couple who was driving away from them?
    And the corruption of asking for fuel, airtime and what not is as old as time itself. That’s basically lunch money.

    And the corruption of asking for fuel, airtime and what not is as old as time itself. That’s basically lunch money. THIS IS SO SO TRUE

  3. Most police officers are criminals but they’re not alone. In short Zambia has lost its moral fiber. People are not ashamed. Everything we revered like oaths have lost meaning. People cheat on oath. It’s difficult to connect to the current Zambia as much as it is imagine what the future holds for the next generation

  4. kkkkk well articuleted bwana and i like it.Surly it is happening in our country were cops are conaiving with thieves.

  5. So you just thought of writing this sichupiti article just to have a go at the past regime? Your are a big time waster, you should have commited suicide the moment you lost your cash.

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