More than 30 senior police officers are now languishing after they were dismissed from service and immediately removed from the payroll without being paid their benefits on suspicion that they were associating themselves with the opposition Patriotic Front (PF), Stephen Kampyongo has said.
Mr Kampyongo says anxieties and uncertainties have gripped the Zambia Police Service as the UPND government has continued with its removal career police officers from the civil service which has seen several police officers either dismissed or retired in national interest.
The dismissed police officers have family commitments which they are now failing to meet as they have been totally dependent on their career earnings.
Mr Kampyongo, the former Home Affairs Minister says it is saddening that the UPND administration has decided to fire several police officers, some of whom had served for more than 26 years on mere suspicion that they were aligned to the PF
Mr Kampyongo said the continued purge in the police service, like in many other government ministries and public institutions is primarily meant to create space for cadres for the governing party.
But Police Service Commission chairperson Peter Mwachungwa when contacted over the dismissals refused to comment on the matter because the case was in court.
“I cannot comment on that issue. The affected officers have taken the matter to court,” Dr Machungwa said.
But Mr Kampyongo said most of the police officers who have been dismissed were recruited long before the PF or UPND was formed and had spent all their lives serving the government of the day.
Mr Kampyongo, the Chief Whip for the PF in Parliament said he was aware that so far, about 30 police officers, including senior officers have been dismissed and immediately removed from the payroll without being paid their benefits, which he said was in breach of the Constitution and the rule of law.
“I have been saddened that such a huge number of police officers, some of whom have served our country with diligence for almost 30 years have been dismissed on baseless grounds. Now the dismissed officers have gone to court and when you see matters such as these being settled by the courts of law, it means someone is not doing the right thing. It is disheartening to see citizens who have served the Police Service with merit being hounded out as if they had committed crimes against the state,” Mr Kampyongo said.
He stated that the dismissals of the police officers was being orchestrated by the powers that be under the guise of cleansing the service of cadres yet it was clear that the UPND was working at creating space for its cadres to be recruited in the police service.
“Soon after Mr Hakainde Hichilema was sworn in as Zambia’s seventh President, he gave hope and assurance to Zambians that no citizens was going to be fired or retired in national interest. But the Police Service has for the first time experienced the highest turnover in dismissals and retirements in national interest than in any other government,” Mr Kampyongo said.
He said government was not respecting the rule of law in dismissing and firing of civil servants and that all the police officers who had been purged had not been given chance to be heard and that all did not know what crime they had committed to be separated from the service.
Mr Kampyongo explained that he was aware that the powers that be from both the police command to the Stately were allegedly behind the dismissals because they were on a crusade to avenge against people who did not transgressed against them.
The dismissed police officers have since sued the state in the High Court, challenging the legality of their dismissals.
When the list of the officers first leaked to the media, Mr Akafumba branded the list fake while Dr Machungwa claimed he did not know anything about the dismissals.