By RABECCA CHIPANTA –
THE Ministry of Home Affairs is looking at stringent measures of screening people wanting to own guns in the wake of increased crimes of passion involving couples in the country.
The ministry is also worried that 230,000 guns are floating in private hands.
On Friday last week, a man of Lusaka’s Meanwood-Ibex area allegedly shot dead his 26-year-old girlfriend and injured their two-year-old daughter.
Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo said the Government, like other stakeholders, was ‘very’ concerned about rising cases of shooting incidences in homes involving married couples, alongside criminal activities.
Mr Kampyongo said despite procedures and screening done before acquisition of the firearms for safety and other reasons, the issue of guns was not only a challenge for Zambia, but a problem shared in many countries.
Mr Kampyongo said most countries around the world were grappling with how to contain the population of guns among citizens, who many times were not professional handlers.
Mr Kampyongo said this during the opening of the 2017 Commanders Conference in Ndola yesterday.
“The worst is cases where you find couples who are supposed to be in love are taking each others’ lives. These are matters that require critical interrogation not only from us, but also other sectors like the church. What is it that we are doing in order to make people love each other and live as human beings?” Mr Kampyongo asked.
Meanwhile, Mr Kampyongo has described the indiscipline among police officers as shameful and called on senior officers in the service to collectively take responsibility of the acts.
Mr Kampyongo said the effectiveness of any security institution lay in the discipline of its staff, organisation set-up and the command structure which were key.
He said the recent events suggested that there were still many officers in the service whose discipline left much to be desired in the eyes of the public and were still left scot-free.
Mr Kampyongo said to this effect he had directed that next year should be dedicated to raising disciplinary levels in the service and finding solutions as this would be a point of departure for those found in breach.
“Therefore, it should be collective responsibility to do something about those tarnishing the name of the service. If they want to continue being part of this service, there will be no compromise, no negotiations when it comes to discipline. We shall part company with those that will not adhere to this directive,” Mr Kampyongo said.
He called on the police commanders from across the country to come up with measures to curb indiscipline in the police service and urged them to engage in genuine and honest discourse while conducting an introspection of its performance as they were the york of the service.
Mr Kampyongo said it was his desire to see senior police officers well capacitated to make independent and appropriate decisions and not have senior officers that were cowards.
He vowed to protect and support the police from abusive politicians and urged the service not to be selective when making decisions by looking at one’s status quo.
Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja said the conference would be used as an opportunity to review the performance of the police service in handling last year’s general elections and discuss mechanisms of improving ahead of future elections.
Mr Kanganja said the service was confronted with the pressure of maintaining law and order during elections, as was the case last year, but that the resolutions of their performance would enable the police perform better during future elections.
Mr Kanganja commended the police commanders for trying their best to maintain peace, law and order in the country before, during and after elections.