By CHUSA SICHONE and FRANCINA PHIRI -
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has taken strong exception of alleged harassment of civilians by soldiers in Lusaka as a way of ensuring cleanliness in the wake of the pledging to investigate the matter.
President Lungu also urged traditional leaders in Zambia not to be swayed by baseless claims by some politicians that he does not respect them.
Responding to remarks by Chisamba traditional rulers at Mwayasunka Day Secondary and Primary School yesterday, President Lungu said it was the nature of the men and women in uniform to be disciplined.
He said the fight against cholera was well-handled owing to cooperation by the citizenry, but that he had received reports that some officers in Lusaka were making the Government unpopular by allegedly harassing civilians while encouraging adherence to cleanliness.
“But I think that this is a matter we can deal with, because the military people by their nature are supposed to be disciplined and we look to them,” President Lungu said.
“When the chips are down, as Government, we look to the military to support us and if what I am getting is correct, it’s a matter I will deal with sternly.”
President Lungu said the soldiers would soon be pulled out so that officers from the Zambia Police Service could be given prominence in the maintenance of law and order.
President Lungu also directed local authorities to deploy their police to ensure that street vending was brought to an end.
He said Cabinet would soon develop a policy which would ensure that a cleaning exercise was done in townships at least once a month, and he was hopeful that the issue would be tabled at the next Cabinet meeting.
Meanwhile, President Lungu described as unfounded claims by some politicians that he had no respect for traditional rulers.
President Lungu said that he respected traditional leaders and that they should not be swayed by the vexing falsehoods being peddled by politicians who wanted to gain political mileage.
Earlier, President Lungu donated three million exercise books to the school, besides pledging to facilitate for the construction of teachers’ houses, roofing some classroom blocks and smoothening the floor.
Speaking on behalf of the traditional rulers, Chief Chamuka praised President Lungu for his intervention in combating cholera and promoting cleanliness.
And the Ministry of Defence has cautioned military personnel deployed to lead the cleaning in all districts of Zambia against abuse of citizens.
Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary Stardy Mwale said the military was there to serve the interests of the general public, hence there was need for them to execute their works professionally.
Mr Mwale said the ministry did not condone any form of harassment of civilians and that any person making such claims should report to authorities with evidence.
He said this yesterday at a Press briefing at the Ministry of Defence.
Mr Mwale said that military forces were aware of their guidelines and they were not allowed to harass citizens.
“We don’t want to believe anything coming from the social media as Zambians have become very good architectures in issuing false news clips,” he said.