By Isaac Mwanza
The removal of Lemmy Kajoba as Inspector General of Police should be supported by all Zambians. Well done President Hakainde Hichilema!
The actions by Zambia Police under the Kajoba regime diluted most of the good pronouncements President Hichilema made immediately he took over power. For instance, he was categorical on no arrests before investigations are completed and the need to issue police bonds immediately one is arrested.
Those pronouncements won him great commendation among the international community. But following those good presidential pronouncements, the Zambia Police under Kajoba made it difficult for Zambians to enjoy the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.
In my interactions with some members of the international community and you can sense discontent and discomfort among them on what is happening in Zambia, tested against those presidential pronouncements.
Things are running contrary to what President Hichilema had wanted for Zambia or thought would happen under the new dawn administration.
But replacing Lemmy Kajoba with that old man just signals that President Hichilema is not ready to embrace new ways of doing things, he wants same old tactics to continue being used in policing.
That new old IG, like Kajoba, learnt police work from an old school when the police was still a Force and Service, and human rights issues were nowhere near police work.
But in case President Hichilema has forgotten, his 2021 victory should have been seen to herald a new beginning for Zambia but it is not. The President appears to be stuck in using old folks to do the work and expecting them to achieve something new.
No, that won’t happen at the rate President Hichilema is appointing these old folks (just look at how Mtolonomics has messed agriculture sector).
The Zambia Police has many youthful police officers who can do better with policing, if given a little more space and modern training that focuses on respect for human rights.
The questions is, why is President Hichilema in love with unceasing appointment of old folks when there is a pool of young minds in their mid-40s who can do better and contribute to his vision, same way that the Ministry of Justice is today one of the institutions shining as effective? Has President Hichilema resigned himself from a vision of a new beginning now that he has fixated his mind at only looking at old and retired folks to lead these institutions?
I still have faith though that President Hichilema will realise that his appointments, targeting at those who should be in retirement, is not helping the country and not helping institutions themselves to adopt new methods and tactics of doing things. It is actually demoralising to many young ones who aspire to lead and make a contribution to these institutions.
Zambia Police does not deserve a leader who is tired to even move his legs. It needs a leader who will motivate the Service, who won’t be sleeping in his office and waiting for pay day.
Zambia Police needs a leader who will be everywhere providing solutions to the many challenges his officers face on the ground. A man with ability to enforce compliance to human rights in police work.
Kajoba was not the right man and the new old man is certainly not the right man. Anyway, next time you fire this Inspector General, give me a chance, even for 6 months only, to be Inspector General and show you how the image of the Zambia Police Service can change.
[First published by the Zambia Daily Nation, 2023]