THE Zambia Police Service must ensure that it wins public confidence and to do this, it must be pro-active to protect the weak.
It is this aspect of its work that will endear it to the public.
We do not know whether the Police Service must wait for orders from the “powers that be” to ensure that it defends law-abiding citizens.
This week has seen two interesting examples of what we feel are the failure by the police to act in a professional manner to ensure public order.
Consider the ongoing mealie meal trading saga in Chililabombwe in which the local UPND leadership has arbitrary ruled that only its approved traders should engage in the business.
This has seen 16 bonafide traders barred from carrying out the business even though they are licensed to do so.
What is interesting is that the 16 aggrieved traders, rather than take the law into their hands have gone to court.
On Monday, the Chililabombwe Magistrate Court granted an injunction to the 16 mealie meal traders to restrain the ruling UPND cadres from stopping them or interfering with their business in Konkola Township.
But, the traders, led by Mr Lazarous Kamukwamba said they were concerned that the cadres had ignored the injunction and had continued to stop them from conducting their businesses despite the court order.
For reasons best known to themselves, the local police have not moved in to ensure that the court order is enforced so that the affected traders can resume their business.
Why should police fail to enforce a simple court ruling?
In the other case in Choma, UPND cadres forcibly closed the Debonair’s Pizza eatery run by a member of the Patriotic Front central Committee on the pretext that it did not display an official portrait of the President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema.
But why did the cadres not report to the authorities if they thought someone was doing something illegal?
And the police instead of taking control of the situation allowed the cadres, led by a UPND councillor to misbehave.
The Zambia Police Service has in the past been accused of failing to act against political cadres – PF – who were said to have usurped their powers.
Could it be that legacy is so deep-rooted that they cannot believe that the new administration has demonstrated political will that they act in a professional manner and protect the innocent?
As it is now, the UPND cadres appear to have so much powers that no one can stand up to them.
UPND spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa yesterday urged police to arrest the unruly UPND cadre in Choma, saying that lawlessness did not have the blessing of the ruling party.
He said the UPND would not allow any members to take the law into their own hands.
On the Choma incident, Mr Mweetwa, who is the Member of Parliament for Choma Central apologised to the businessman over the conduct of the cadres.
The police must be seen to be enforcing law and order oblivious of who is involved.
The public expects them to be colour-blind of the political cadres transgressing the law. They voted for law and order as promised by the UPND.
They definitely did not replace the green terror for the red berets. Police Inspector General Lemmy Kajoba must therefore pass the word round that their laissez-faire approach to policing must end.
The police inertia is costing the nation.