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THE continued torching of police stations across the country and destruction of public property, including assets belonging to suspected ritual killers and gasser is not only barbaric, but criminal also and perpetrators must be brought to book so that they serve as deterrent to would-be offenders.

Just yesterday, we witnessed disturbing scenes from Nyimba where a police post was burnt down while in Livingstone, police fought running battles with Dambwa residents who wanted to torch a police station on account that police were holding suspected gassers.

In Monze, unverified reports suggest that irate residents destroyed a police station last night after word went round that the officers were holding some suspects believed to be the ones carrying out this heinous atrocity.

Our question then is, after burning the police posts and stations and probably injuring police officers, then what? Are police stations the ones responsible for the gassing and carrying out suspected ritual killings? What wrong has public property done that it must be set up in flames each time suspects are apprehended?

This is utter nonsense and disorderliness of the highest order and whoever prides in causing havoc and create fear in this country does not deserve to be in our society but must be rotting somewhere in jail and we appeal to the police not to take this nonsense from these debased minds kindly.

Where do they even get the guts to demand that suspects be handed to them for instant mob justice? Who tells them they have now taken over from police officers and have the Constitutional right to decide what must be done to suspects?

Police are mandated to maintain law and order and protect citizens and property and we don’t think even if citizens don’t agree with the operations of the police, should resort to riotous behaviour. Police are also human beings.

Beyond that uniform, they still have human feelings and we feel they also share in the same pain of people being killed and to vent our anger on them will take us nowhere. It is pure criminality.

When you vandalize a police station or police post, police officers cannot work in that area. They need shelter, they need a place from where to operate. Before you vandalize that police post, think about what will happen in your community if police officers desert it.

The same police officers we are attacking on account that they are not doing enough to stop these criminals activities are actually doing more than we think. While we are comfortably sleeping in our homes, they are out there ensuring that our safety is guaranteed, thereby risking their own lives. These police stations we are today vandalizing were built at a great cost by Government using your taxes and only an irresponsible citizen would want to vandalize property built using his or her own money.

This riotous behaviour must come to an end. Allow the police to do their job. You are not police officers and you will not dictate to them how they should operate.

Yes, there may be shortcomings in every situation but do you attack the same people protecting you? We regret the loss of lives that have occurred as a result of riots but these must never be entirely blamed on the police. These occurrences would have been avoided if we remained orderly and allowed the police space to work.

You want criminals to be handed over to you so that you do what? What role do you play in prevention and detection of crime or administration of justice? You cannot prevent crime with crime. Those who are involved in riotous activities are as guilty as those involved in suspected ritual killings and gassing of homes and must be treated as criminals.

You will remember these same police posts and police officers you are attacking when criminals roam in your communities. Let us be responsible citizens. Taking the law in our own hands won’t take us anywhere.

It is unfortunate that while all this is happening, civic leaders are quiet as if nothing is wrong. Ignorance is what is killing us as a country and we expect leaders to sensitize the people on the need to maintain peace and order even under grave provocation.

Rushing to the media to complain when things are already getting out of hand is not working. It is not even leadership. Councilors, MPs, and other elected and non-elected leaders must sensitize their people as a preventive measure and not to wait until things happen so that they can be paraded on cameras to make useless statements which cannot reverse the damage.

Stop making media stunts when there is a problem. Prevent these problems first by speaking to your people. You were not elected, employed, or appointed to be standing in front of cameras and giving useless statements when we have a crisis. Do your work.

Lastly, our appeal to President Edgar Lungu is to deploy soldiers to quell the situation if the police are getting overwhelmed. We saw things getting out of hand previously when Lusaka went up in flames over suspected ritual killings but the moment the soldiers stepped in, there was calm.

Your Excellence, riots have spilled across the country and the earlier something drastic is done, the better. The police have done their own share, but we think only a combined effort from all security wings will salvage the situation.


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