15 January 2013

Zambia: Minister Orders Crack Down On Killers

GOVERNMENT has directed the police to crack down on violent crimes which have seen a rise in the number of people being brutally murdered.

Home Affairs Minister Edgar Lungu said Government was appalled by the increase in brutal murders being experienced in Lusaka, Kabwe and other areas and that all perpetrators must immediately be arrested.

Mr Lungu directed Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani to come up with effective strategies to crack down escalating killings.

"It is disheartening to lose human life in such dreadful ways and this entails that some people have departed from the norms and values of our society.

"I, therefore, direct the Inspector General of Police to ensure that perpetrators of such violent crimes are brought before justice," he said.

He said this in Lusaka yesterday during the opening of Zambia Police Commanders' conference provincial commissioners, senior directors, and senior officials from Home Affairs Ministry.

Mr Lungu said the Government was also concerned with the increased Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases and directed the commanders to implement the GBV Act Number 1 of 2011 to reduce the scourge.

He said officers should incorporate the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto and other public policy documents so that they could move in tandem with the Government.

Mr Lungu said Government had realised that crime had become more sophisticated due to technological advancement while police had lagged behind in embracing new technology.

He said criminals had advanced in using new technology and that to address the vice, Government had allocated KR30 million (K30 billion) in this year's national Budget for modernisation of police operations.

"I have taken keen interest in this issue that police officers use equipment that is not only defective but also unacceptable. Very soon you will be receiving the new equipment after exhausting the tender process," he said.

Mr Lungu said Government would embark on an ambitious infrastructure development programme that would see the construction of about 12,000 houses countrywide.

He said from the housing units, the police service would benefit more adding that the houses would be built in all districts.

Government was also constructing Muchinga Division headquarters in Chinsali and police stations in Serenje, Muyombe, Mwandi and Mafinga including construction of the Southern Division headquarters in Choma.

On harmonisation of salaries and conditions of service for police officers, Mr Lungu said his ministry would ensure a holistic approach.

He implored the police service to finalise the strategic plan, review the Zambia Police Act and Standing Orders in order to operationalise the changes made by President Michael Sata.

He urged police to remain professional in the forthcoming Livingstone and Mpongwe by-elections.

On hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in Livingstone, Mr Lungu urged the Inspector General to prepare adequately to provide maximum security to guests.

Earlier, Ms Libongani said in 2012, 18, 533 major cases were recorded out of which murder and defilements stood at 547 and 708 respectively compared to 21, 301 major cases in 2011 out of which murder and defilement were 667 and 1, 939 respectively.

During the same period, police recorded 7, 886 arrests compared to 8, 927 arrests in 2011 and she warned that those found in violent crimes

such as piracy, cyber crime and other sophisticated activities would be dealt with.

She said, a total of 2,255 persons were killed in 2012 in road traffic accidents compared to 1, 670 in 2011 representing an increase of 35 per cent.

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