Tuesday, September 25, 2007
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Tuesday September 25, 2007 [04:00]
THE crime rate in Lusaka's Matero township will get down to zero by the power of God, home affairs minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha has said. And Matero member of parliament Faustina Sinyangwe has said the level of crime in Matero is still very high. Launching the month-long "Love Matero Outreach" on Sunday, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the Church in Zambia should rise and take responsibility of the primary mandate to preach the Gospel. He said the actualisation of Zambia as a Christian nation would only occur when citizens and residents turned to God.
"Let us all be in prayer for this outreach that starts on September, 24, 2007 (yesterday) to October, 31, 2007. We trust that the crime rate in Matero shall get down to zero by the power of God as the gospel shall be preached," he said.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha said there was need to have a morally upright nation for meaningful development to take place. And in an interview, Sinyangwe said there were not enough police officers to go round Matero resulting in escalation of crime. She advised people to stay in-doors in the evening to avoid being attacked.
"I had a meeting on Saturday with the community leaders and we came up with neighbourhood watch associations and we have asked the police to attach one officer in each neighbourhood watch," Sinyangwe said.
"I think it is the high levels of unemployment that is contributing to crime because ever since the vendors were removed from the streets, crime has increased and people have been doing all sorts of things, maybe in protest. I don't know."
Sinyangwe said there was need for a lot of sensitisation because the people who were involved in crime lived within Matero.
"I was told that the criminals now use Shake Shake (opaque beer) packs and people would think they are drinking but they put stones in there which they use to attack people," said Sinyangwe.
Armed robbers at the weekend went on rampage and broke into a block of flats in Matero township after cutting electricity cables before breaking doors with big stones to gain entry and stole household goods worth millions of kwacha.
Eyewitnesses and sources said the robbers who were armed with iron bars and guns held the residents hostage for over 30 minutes and threatened to shoot any person who attempted to raise alarm.
Residents in the area pleaded with Inspector General of Police Ephraim Mateyo to seriously consider reinforcing the police patrols as what happened at the weekend had occurred before.
Mateyo warned that police officers would do everything within their means to ensure that criminals did not take control of any township.
Meanwhile, Matero Family of Ministries chairperson Bishop David Banda said there was a growing realisation amongst preachers and Christians that shaping of morals in the country lied on the shoulders of the Church.
"Though as the Church we have been misunderstood many times," he said.
He also appealed to the government and all stakeholders to find an amicable solution to the impasse on the constitution-making process.