Thursday, June 20, 2024

Case of Pamela Chisumpa – buy chitumbuwa & get 12 mbasela


By Chimwemwe Mwanza

If ever you were in doubt about how inept our police service is, you need not read beyond Pamela Chisumpa and the sequel leading to her abduction and eventual rescue. For once, can the police admit without scapegoating that the Chisumpa debacle has not only exposed their incompetence but caught them napping too.

Say what you may, events of this week are making it harder to escape the conclusion that the police service whose function is to secure our confines has become complicity, if not a willing participant, in the lawlessness afflicting the country. It can’t be that their only record of success so far is their habitual incarceration of the likes of Chilufya Tayali and a coterie of usual political jail birds, Sean Tembo and Raphael Nakachinda among other hapless individuals.

Truth is the police has deeply intwined itself in partisan warfare to the extent that it’s been reduced to a pitbull whose job is to snap at the heels of opposition politicians. And the ramification of this status quo is telling in their priorities. Do they allocate sufficient resources in protecting vulnerable communities and law-abiding citizens or focus their attention on barking and chasing after those they perceive to be enemies of the state – while leaving criminals such as abduction kingpins James Bwalya and Matthews Sikaonga to roam our streets with gay abandon?

As Lusaka lawyer – that prolific writer Sakwiba Sikota tacitly put it in his tribute to the superheroes that rescued Chisumpa and her fellow 12 captives, the Zambian girl child is now at her most vulnerable – left on her own to protect herself from possible human traffickers, pedophiles and rapists prowling our communities for their next victims. Difficult as it is to comprehend this reality, fact is that this country has not only become a transit point but is a haven for human trafficking syndicates keen to exploit our porous borders and a politically compromised policing system.

Forget the fact that this kidnaping episode and the subsequent rescue of the 13 girls from the now infamous Chalala house has thrust Zambia onto the international limelight – albeit for the wrong reasons, question is do we have a crime intelligence network that is capable of combating or detect human trafficking and other sophisticated crimes? If we do, how did we then find ourselves in this extraordinary circumstance in which our men in uniform failed to crack an embarrassing and child-like drama unfolding right under our noses?

And the audacity of lies – ati iyayi, we were one day away from raiding that house but were beaten to our plans by the bravery and heroic acts of the community. Apa peve mwami ba Lemmy Kajoba mwayitaya. Mwenze muna gona pa nchito – not for one day but an entire six months. If anything the major lesson from this episode is that civil society has to mobilise to ensure that the police is eventually detached from the clutches of this government and its politics.

Why Chisumpa is a person of interest in her own kidnapping

While important to empathise with Chisumpa and her fellow abductees, we should not shy from asking the most difficult questions in our quest to crack this bizarre case – after all facts don’t care about feelings. Already, there is a hair-tearing oddity to this case – the familiarity of the abductors to the alleged victims.

Is it possible that Chisumpa assisted by James Bwalya could have faked her own kidnapping so she could deprive her employers off their cashing from the Airtel money transaction business she was tasked with managing? How many of the 13 victims were managing similar Airtel money transaction businesses? Other than Chisumpa, did the rest of the victims know their abductors, particularly Bwalya?

Most important, could this entire kidnapping sequel pass off as one of those poker games that went horribly wrong? For many a speculator, Bwalya’s familiarity and proximity to his victims presage the assumption that nearly all the kidnap victims were in this game for the long haul. Think of it this way, how is it possible that all these women could have been held captive in such a tiny house for half a year and against their will? Honestly, the assumption that all the women in the house were genuine kidnap victims, beggars belief.

However hard it is proving to extract the truth of this situation, law enforcement officers should not relent. Sympathy aside, police have an easy route to redemption. How so? Land a few hot claps on Chisumpa’s malnourished cheeks, and she will sing like a cannery. It can’t be that the entire citizenry had been combing the country for a missing individual only to stumble upon 12 other women – whom bizarrely were never reported anywhere as missing persons.

This hardly makes any sence. Chimo chine nokushita ichitumbuwa chimo elyo bakubikilapo imbasela 12.

About the Author: Mwanza enjoys reading Political History and Philosophy. For feedback, email [email protected]


  1. ZP is an utter disgrace, I am surprised a commission of Inquiry has not been instituted by the President…if 13 girls can be kidnapped and kept in a residential area spare a thought for the villagers in rural Zambia where ritualistic vampires prey on children for body parts.

  2. If our police force was comptent, they would have arrested those who are breaking into our properties to steal our valuables… and recovered these valuables. All one needs is to go to mega markets like Chisokone in Kitwe where used items are being sold.. ask the source of these items etc.
    One friend identified his booster pump and went to the police to inform them that he had seen what he suspected to be his pump. He’s told to report the following day and that the police would make a follow up. Not only didn’t the police do anything about his complaint, but the vendor had also disappeared from the stand.

  3. Bally has work on his hands. The Police Post(thats if theliz one) in that area/Chalala is definately detached from the community its supposed to serve and protect. Because even the Hero knows the fellas involved, “ati they used to come and buy lots of condoms and pads all the time”. Local crimes, local police.

  4. We need to create a National Bureau of Investigations, one that can take over the investigation of crimes that are of national interest and leave the police to deal with petty and local crimes. The Director of such an institution must be answerable, not to the President, but to Parliament. Such an one must be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission from a short list submitted by the Executive and sworn in by the Chief Justice. So, all three arms of government will have an input. He will only be removed from office by a three quarter majority vote in parliament.

    • @ THE SAINT
      The FBI Director appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the Senate for a term not to exceed 10 years. The FBI itself reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence who in turn report to the US President.
      They must be answerable, to the President. Its standard practice everywhere.

  5. Is not ironic that this time round people are mentioning the police incompetence without mentioning the head of state Hakainde Hichilema, is he not the one who appoints the Head of police? During Lungu’s time everything back stopped at Lungu. Are we an hypocritical nation? What has Hakainde fixed if he was meant to fix things?

    • We lie with a straight face…no shame. Today the police say there’s no instructions from the president… tomorrow when HH is no longer president, the same police will say we were only following instructions from above.
      I long for a day when a serving police commissioner will tell off the appointing authority.

  6. The Zambia Police has always been partisan, the degree only differs with the levels of interference from those in the Executive. There’s now increased interference. We have gone back to the dark ages. When Kapwepwe resigned as VP, he lost his seat in Parley as well. But because his voice in that House was too big, one chap from Mufulira resigned his seat so that Kapwepwe could contest the by-election. This didn’t sit well with KK so he unleashed ZP who barred Kapwepwe from entering Mufulira. On election day Kapwepwe won by a landslide and became the 1st Zambian to win an election without any campaign. Everything the ZP are doing is in the names of HH, Jack Mwiimbu & Remmy Kajpba. But it’ll come to pass, just like the Mufulira election of Kapwepwe

  7. I was getting impressed by the article until the author makes me realize he is bloodthirsty. He must be a seeker of gender violence.
    His primitive suggestion of a few slaps on Pamela is straight from the savage policing we are trying to rescue ZP from!
    Civilised police and journalists know how to obtain required information without resorting to violence. In a civilised Court the judge will never accept evidence obtained via torture. It’s tragic that a journalist is advocating violence when his profession is the biggest victim of the crime. No!
    Violence especially on women should never be encouraged.

  8. Any crime happening in zambia you are better off dealing with it yourself than relying on police. Bring back FX Musonda.

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