The Police authorities in Zambia on Monday said they had banned officers from marrying foreigners.
According to a memo issued by the country’s Police Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja, which was circulating on social media, officers were prohibited from marrying foreigners “with immediate effect.’’
In the memo, dated 11 January, the police chief advised officers, who were already married to foreigners to declare their foreign spouses to his office within one week.
“Failure to declare any foreigner spouse will attract disciplinary action,’’ he said.
In her reaction to the declaration, the Police spokeswoman Esther Katongo, has defended the decision which had already received a backlash as constitutional.
She said: “Issues of security are delicate. If not careful, spouses can be spies and can sell the security of the country.”
Ms Katongo said a standing order had been issued, notifying police officers of the measure, adding that the ban itself was not new.
She said officers had previously obeyed the ban but the new order had been thought necessary because some police had begun ignoring it.
“There are a few officers who have started marrying foreigners,” she said. “They are ignoring the previous requirement and this is why another standing order has been passed to remind officers what they are supposed to do and not supposed to do.”
She said it was likely officers who had married foreigners would now be given “some rules they should follow”.
When asked why such measures were necessary, Ms Katongo said:
“When you get married, they say that you are one. You know what marriage is – you share secrets. And you can tell officers ‘do not disclose’ but you have no control. You won’t be in their homes to always check on them.
“The security of the nation is what is paramount.”