The Human Rights Commission wishes to applaud the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Kakoma Kanganja, for making continuous training of police officers a top priority for the Zambia Police Service in order to ensure that police officers adhere to high standards of professionalism and uphold and protect human rights in the execution of their duties.
The Commission is therefore encouraged that the Police Command has taken a self-introspection and responded to the need to build the capacity of the Zambia Police Service in human rights as such efforts will help police officers to effectively perform their duty of protecting life and property while respecting human dignity. The move is demonstrating the fact that the Police Command is taking seriously the Constitutional provisions that mandate the Zambia Police Service to uphold human rights. Article 193 (2) (e) of the Zambian Constitution [Amendment] Act No. 2 of 2016 obliges the Zambia Police to, among other things, uphold the Bill of Rights.
The Commission believes that the change in name from Zambia Police Force to the Zambia Police Service as stipulated under Article 193 of the Constitution, will require a paradigm shift that can be brought about through such continuous training programmes so that the spirit of service and respect for fundamental human rights is reflected in the attitudes and conduct of the law enforcement officers. It is in this regard that the Commission welcomes Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja’s emphasis on human rights as one of the issues that would be given serious attention during the in-service training programmes for police officers at Lilayi Police Training College, Godfrey Makuma in Sondela and Kamfinsa School of Public Order Maintenance.
The Commission notes that the Inspector General instructed police officers during the Zambia Police Service 2017 National Annual Ball held on Friday last that human rights must always be upheld in the execution of their duties and that it would be one of the key focus areas of the Zambia Police Service in discharging its constitutional mandate. The Commission also notes that over the years, the Zambia Police Service has been holding Open Day sessions with members of the public to improve the police-community relationship as well as public perception of the Service. Therefore, focusing on capacity building is one of the ways that will help the Zambia Police to be a professional Service and one that upholds and protects human rights. Law and order cannot be effectively maintained in an environment where human rights and freedoms are violated with impunity and if police officers lack knowledge and understanding of human rights.
On its part, the Human Rights Commission will continue to work closely with the Zambia Police Service in this process of transformation and ensure that there is compliance to human rights standards.
The Human Rights Commission is a National Human Rights Institution established under Article 230 of the 1991 Zambian Constitution as amended by Act Number 2 of 2016 to, among other human rights functions, ensure that the Bill of Rights is upheld and promoted.
Mudford Zachariah Mwandenga
CHAIRPERSON OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION