COPS DEFY MINISTER

By BENNIE MUNDANDO

POLICE officers from various traffic departments in Lusaka have gone on rampage and continued mounting road blocks thereby defying Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo’s warning against such. 

On Saturday, Mr. Kampyongo warned that “heads will roll in the police traffic command” if undesignated and unnecessary road blocks persist.

He said the mounting of road blocks in the middle of residential areas should be discouraged as it was inconveniencing the public and that if that continued, he would be forced to change the entire police traffic command.

“I agree that the setting up of road blocks in the middle of residential areas should be discouraged. I spoke about this matter in Parliament and expect officers to follow the instructions and if not, I will be forced to change the whole police traffic command,” Mr. Kampyongo warned.

But a check on various roads by the Sunday Nation yesterday found that nothing had changed as traffic officers had continued with roadblocks even in non-designated areas such as residential areas and certain roads barely 24 hours after the minister sounded the warning against doing so.

A check in Garden compound found police officers had mounted a roadblock as early as 08:00 hours while it was the same situation in most residential areas across the city with more roadblocks on all major roads such as Great East Road, Lumumba and feeder roads around the Central Business District such as Cha Cha Cha.

Traffic almost came to a standstill in Garden near the police station as officers caused traffic congestion by ordering those who were found with various traffic offences to park by the roadside.

One of the traffic officers who mounted a roadblock in around Apollo Park near Matero’s heavy industrial area expressed ignorance when confronted and told that the minister had banned unnecessary roadblocks and refused to provide her identity.

“Which minister banned roadblocks and when? I cannot give you my name or my service number,” a female officer retorted when asked for her identity.

Meanwhile, Evangelical Youth Alliance executive director Moses Lungu said there was need for changes in the traffic command to be effected immediately so that those who had political inclinations could be weeded out as they were making Government fail to function properly.

“You cannot have a situation where the minister issues a directive and those who are supposed to ensure that such directives are executed are quiet. That is truancy and must never be condoned. If people have divided loyalty, they must go. For me, if I will find any roadblock in a non-designated area such as residential area, they must be prepared to arrest me because I will not ascribe to this kind of behaviour,” Mr Lungu said.

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