THE relationship between the police and reporters on paper has been that of partners in development. Many a time, police, especially those in senior positions, have engaged reporters on how best they can work together especially ahead of the 2021 election which is already showing teething problems and proving to be a headache for most Zambians going by what has happened in the past few days.
We have elected not to comment on the obvious because the killings of the two brothers in “unknown circumstances” as police have put it, raises a lot of emotions. PF or UPND, no one deserves to die like a common criminal in the presence of the police who do not only deny responsibility immediately, but also play ignorant to who could have pulled the trigger.
Our contention however is on the video which has since gone viral in which Radio Phoenix reporter, Chileshe Mwango, was being manhandled by a police officer as his colleagues (reporters) pleaded with the officer to let him go before he broke free and ran away.
This happened when Mr. Mwango had gone to cover the very event involving UPND president Hakainde Hichilema who was summoned by the police, in which two people were killed in cold blood.
One police officer was even heard saying “kansi namphamvu mulibe” and this only goes to show the level of arrogance and discourtesy in some of our police officers. To this female police officer, Mr. Mwango breaking from the grip of another police officer and running away, was a sign of cowardice. Probably what she wanted was for him to create a scene so that they could descend on him.
This is a case of an excited police officer interested in inciting orderly reporters to react so that she can do whatever she pleased. Clad in the uniform with a gun in her hands and drunk with authority, impunity, and pomposity, only God knows what could have happened had Mr. Mwango resisted.
With this and many other developments involving the police and reporters, we can safely say our safety is not guaranteed as we head to the 2021 elections unless something drastic is done to curtail these excited police officers. Mr. Mwango did not go to the event to riot or cause commotion. He had no stone in his hands. So, what warranted the police officers to rough him up in such a degrading manner?
He was not a danger to police officers and the general public but some excited police officers wanted to show that they were in charge. They wanted to prove a point and had he not been civil enough, the story would have been different by now.
But what do you expect from a police service where the whole commissioner can have the audacity and hyena courage to point a gun at a defenseless lawyer and goes scott-free?
If police are really serious about us being partners in development with them, we demand that the police officer who roughed up Mr. Mwango be identified and be reprimanded, together with that truant, cacophonic female police officer. This is not a case of whether Mr. Mwango laid a complaint against the police or not.
We cannot continue to have a situation where we have engagement with the senior command trying to resolve our concerns yet on the other hand, we are being treated as proverbial ostriches where they turn a blind eye to nonconformist police officers.
If there are officers who stand on fertile ground for retirement in national interest, it is these chaps captured on camera trying to prove a point on defenseless reporters. We are sick and tired of “we are partners in development” rhetoric while what is happening on the ground is something else.