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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Better Policing (Transport)

Poland based economist Richard Mbewe recently recollected a grave tale of his recent foray into Zambia alongside his research colleague, when their valuables (laptops, etc) were stolen whilst staying at Fairview Hotel (please avoid at all costs). Never mind that he had been away for some time and was happy to be back whilst conducting important research that would contribute to the nation's body of knowledge. As shocking as the theft was, it was his observation of his dealings with the police that grabbed my attention. Repeatedly, the police came across as chaotic and under-resource, most typified by the curious problem of "having no transport" at critical moments - relying on the "victims" to offer transport. Richard's experience came to mind as I read two stories that demonstrates the on-going transport problems among the police which has made them subservient to the public (and thereby breeding corruption).

...from Nyimba:
Accompanied by former Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda and former Kanyama member of parliament Gerry Chanda, Sata went around the area and discovered a body which was partially buried under bags of lime. Upon discovering the body, Sata and his team immediately rushed to Nyimba Police Station to alert the police of what they had found at the accident scene. At the police station, Sata was informed that the police had no fuel to get to the scene, forcing him to offer to buy the fuel and blankets to cover the body. At that point, Sata was joined by former Chipata Central MP Lameck Mangani and PF Eastern Province chairperson Lucas Phiri. After the police vehicle was refueled, Sata and his team, which included the police, drove back to collect the body.
...from Chongwe :
In an interview yesterday, Masebo said the damage to her property was politically motivated.“My home was attacked last night. I had gone out with my son around 19:30 hours for dinner and when I came back around 22:00 hours, I found my electric gate was broken,” said Masebo, the immediate past member of parliament for Chongwe Constituency. “The gate was pushed off the rail, was damaged and left half open but nothing had been taken away from the house. And shortly after I arrived home, I received a call and a man came on the phone and he said ‘hold on’. Then there was a lady’s voice and I was being threatened that I should not go into Chongwe, otherwise I would be beaten and killed. When I tried to inquire who was calling, the lady cut the line. I tried to phone back but they had switched off the phone. I know it’s political.” Masebo said she immediately phoned the police but they said they didn’t have transport and that after about 40 minutes, the police arrived at her residence in a taxi. She gave a statement to them and was given protection throughout the night.
We have previously touched on these issues on Reforming Police Services (Monthly Essay).


  1. where is RB on this matter, a couple of days ago he was seen dressed in military attire and showering praises to the military and yet we have major tarnsport issues with our dedicated police service considering their handicap.
    We see RB commissioning schools and hospital but how will the police protect these institutions if they do not sufficient transport.RB is the boss so let him deal with this issue!

  2. Where I live, Road Traffic has lots of transport and so does Victims support unit. There is always transport for supplying the police club, buying mealie meal, and funerals. The hardest working police in my area and the most effective, are the ones who deal with Stock Theft. They have no transport.
    Priorities. Theirs differ from ours and we have no voice.

  3. The case of making a giant out of a gnat.

  4. Although ideally 27,000 officers are needed in Zambia, the country only has 13,000 officers. Justice is also hampered by the absence of effective communication and the lack of investigative capacity.


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