MINISTER of Defence Edgar Lungu has warned the defence forces on the Copperbelt against engaging in partisan politics.
Mr Lungu warned that officers found participating in active politics risk being fired to maintain professionalism in defence wings.
“I know we are political animals in some way because we are affected by the decisions that politicians make but don’t be involved in politics.
‘’We should be non-partisan in the execution of our duties. Let me warn officers that engage in partisan politics that they risk losing their jobs,’’ Mr Lungu said.
He said this in Mufulira on Thursday when he addressed Zambia Army officers at One Engineering Regiment, commonly known as Taung Up barrack, where he also held a closed door meeting with senior officers.
Mr Lungu also urged officers to uphold high levels of discipline and not to use their ranks to champion political agendas.
Mr Lungu advised the officers with political ambitions to join politics when they retire because they would have acquired leadership skills required in the political arena.
He said majority of the officers who retire from defence forces make good leaders when they join politics because of the good background in leadership skills training.
And Mr Lungu has assured Zambia Army and Zambia National Service (ZNS) officers on the Copperbelt that Government will improve funding to the two defence wings to mitigate the challenges they are facing.
He said adequate funding to the two defence wings will enable them to operate efficiently.
Mr Lungu is concerned that most equipment used by Zambia Army and ZNS is obsolete and this makes it difficult for officers to efficiently discharge their duties.
“As government, we are aware of the challenges that the Zambia Army and ZNS are facing. I know you have got transport challenges and lack of modern equipment to enable you carry out your work in an efficient manner,’’ he said.
Mr Lungu also assured defence wings on the Copperbelt that Government will address the shortage of accommodation that they are currently facing.
He said Government will this year commission the second phase of the construction of houses for defence forces and he will lobby that some houses be built on the Copperbelt.
And Mr Lungu has urged youths undergoing training at the ZNS camp in Kitwe to make meaningful contributions to economic development.
Mr Lungu said when he addressed youths at ZNS camp in Kitwe that he will engage the Ministry of Youth and Sports to empower some youths once they graduate from the camp.
The minister also visited the Zambia Combined Cadet Force (ZCCF) in Kitwe and held closed door meeting with the officers.
Mr Lungu is on the Copperbelt on a familiarisation tour of the defence wings.