There was public outcry on Monday after the recruitment of eight Chinese nationals from the Zambia-based Chinese community into the Zambian Police Service reserve unit.
The Inspector General of Police Kakomba Kangana rescinded the decision a day after commissioning the newly uniformed reserve officers at a ceremony in the capital Lusaka where the Chinese community presented two cars to the police service.
The decision raised the arguments of legality especially when the Chinese reserves will have the powers to arrest and detain suspects.
Renowned Zambian lawyer Dickson Jere argued on Monday that the recruitment of the Chinese nationals is a violation of the constitution which forbids dual citizens from taking part in national security assignments, he is quoted by local news portal Lusaka Times.
“So you stop your own citizens from joining the police because they have dual citizenship and yet you allow Chinese who have no links whatsoever to this soil to be part of the same police service,” he cites Article 194 (a) of the constitution.
He also questioned the police standing orders that prevent officers from marrying foreigners while Chinese nationals are being enlisted into the service.
Police spokesperson Esther Katongo denied the claims that their decision was in contravention of the constitution.
“These are police reserves. The Police Reserves are backed by cap 117 of the Laws of Zambia known as the Zambia Police Reserve Act. The reserves are there to assist the Zambia Police in maintaining Law and order. They are also vital in Community Policing. The Law does not segregate on race. Police reserves put on police uniforms,” she was quoted by Lusaka Times.
She added that they will not work alone but under the supervision of regular police officers.
The explanations did not sit well with Zambians on social media whose outrage got the police to backtrack on the decision.
Below are some comments and reactions sampled from Twitter.
Social Media, when used effectively can yield positive results. The case of the Zambian Chinese Police Reserves. pic.twitter.com/EnnTBGaKza
— Fredinand Syanyuka (@FresiaZambia) December 19, 2017
Finally, common sense Reigns in #Zambia after #Chinese reservists were appointed to work for the national police service are relieved off duty. Considering Zambians married to foreigners cannot join the police force, it was a ridiculous and scandalous decision.
— Triki (@trikilimper) December 19, 2017
Zambia Police Reserve Act, Chapter 117 of the Laws of Zambia
He wasnt doing anything out of his jurisdiction.. maybe the timming was bad but he was doing the right thing and moreover we have other ethical groups in the reserve ..
— Peter Kays Jr. 🎯🇿🇲 (@Peter_Kays) December 19, 2017
Zambia is becoming hard to understand mweh so what was the purpose of appointing those Chinese nationals as police reserves in the first place????
— Luyando haamwala (@Luluhamz) December 19, 2017
When we say Chinese things dont last this is what we mean.
Appointment of 8 Chinese nationals as police reserves rescinded by the Zambia Police IG. pic.twitter.com/zr5JREhDhY
— Vincent M Simangolwa (@V_Simangolwa) December 19, 2017
Zambia employs Chinese police officers.
— Lagaless, HSC. 🇸🇴 (@lagaless) December 19, 2017
Chinese nationals in the Zambia Police 👮🏿😂😂😂😂😂 wonders shall never end mu Zed🤦♂ while our youths ain't gat Jobs… https://t.co/m8durRRugK
— Morris Gold (@Morrisgold2000) December 19, 2017
Chinese Police Reserve in Zambia Police Service ?? Like how ?? Zambia is such a joke . Can we get rid of these old people in high offices ?!
— chacha namushi (@Luscious_cha) December 19, 2017
— KwesuNiKwiLamba (@HaggaiMbunda) December 19, 2017