EDITORAL: Word of advice to new Home Affairs minister

Wednesday July 11 2018

Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola,

Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola, 

Home Affairs minister Kangi Lugola, who was recently appointed to the docket, has outlined his priorities as he settles into his new role as the head of the sensitive ministry.

It is obvious that the energetic Mwibara MP, who replaced Dr Mwigulu Nchemba in last week’s Cabinet reshuffle, is enthusiastic and wants to get things done. However, some of the issues he considers important raise eyebrows.

Granted, fighting crime and illicit drugs and streamlining security agencies should go a long way in restoring order in our communities. However, dealing with “people who attempt to disrupt peace and harmony in the country” was vaguely stated and has understandably set alarm bells ringing.

In fact, some government critics may be lumped in this group depending on how some law enforcers interpret the law and directives issued by politicians.

Having served for many years under the same ministry as a police officer, we harbour hope that Mr Lugola can bring about positive change as far as maintaining and promoting order and security are concerned. However, this goal will be virtually impossible to attain if the focus will be solely on people perceived to be government critics.

Mr Lugola should be alert to the fact peace is a direct result of justice and respect for the rule of law. In fact, his predecessor was roundly criticised for his apparent indifference to human rights abuses and a spate of extrajudicial killings.

While these may have not been publicly stated as the reasons for Dr Nchemba’s sacking, Mr Lugola risks falling into the same trap by being overly sensitive to criticism levelled by people who happen to be exercising their right to freedom of expression.

A top priority for Mr Lugola should be improvement of the welfare of officers serving under the ministry, who have for many years been grappling with a myriad of challenges that affect their morale, integrity and dignity.