UPND members in Livingstone today held a peaceful demonstration after their officials registered an oral petition with the police over the continued incarceration of their leader Hakainde Hichilema.
And Livingstone district UPND chairman Michael Kangai says the opposition party will not sit idle while Hichilema suffers in police cells.
But Southern Province police commissioner Bonny Kapeso has been angered by Livingstone police’s decision to allow the UPND members to protest.
After being addressed by their district officials, the cadres, carrying banners, decided to match through the main business centres where some motorists honked in support while some street vendors flashed the UPND symbol.
Later at Musi-oa-Tunya House, riot police arrived forcing the UPND cadres to chant ‘abash Edgr Lungu; Abash Kanganja’ while the youths taunted them to teargas them.
What are you waiting for? Fire the teargas or shoot us if you want because it will please Lungu (President Edgar Lungu), – one youth shouted.
However, the district officials told police that the cadres were going to the UPND offices and they allowed them.
Earlier, outside the police station after having a meeting with senior police officers, Kangai told the cadres that after stealing Hichilema’s votes, President Lungu wanted the opposition leader to suffer.
We have told the police; why break the house instead of summoning him? He [Hichilema] has been reporting to the police 15 times whenever called. This is the 16th time, why destroy his house? We have told the police that the people will not sit idle and see their president suffering, – said Kangai.
And UPND Livingstone Constituency chairman Milford Maambo said the continued detention of Hichilema was not good for the nation. He said the UPND was not happy with the continued teasing by the PF and warned of retaliation.
Publicity and information secretary Neto Halwabala said the protest match conducted by the UPND members was just the beginning until Hichilema was released.
“We also told them that we have availed ourselves to the police whenever we have been summoned but the PF have never been called by the police for insulting the UPND. We warned them that they should not blame us when the country goes on fire but they should blame those that they are entertaining,” said Halwabala.
Hichilema was arrested and charged with treason for allegedly endangering the life of President Lungu on the way to Limulunga during Kuomboka ceremony last Saturday. The opposition leader is said to have refused to give way to President Lungu’s motorcade.
But Kapeso said the local command in Livingstone should be scolded strongly for allowing the UPND cadres to reach the police station with their placards without being arrested or dispersed.
HH is not detained in Southern Province at Livingstone Central and I am highly disappointed with the leadership of the deputy officer commanding
Mr Makanga for having a soft spot with the opposition, – Kapeso’s statement reads.
“These are officers who can’t rise to the challenge and deliver because of their hidden agenda. Once again, police are hereby ordered to use reasonable force to any person or groups of persons who will want to push the police against the wall in Southern Province.”
He stated that any officer, including Makanga, showing inclination to the opposition would be dealt with by his office.
“All police officers should support the government of the day and pay their allegiance to the President of the Republic of Zambia and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The incident in Livingstone this morning is highly regrettable and unacceptable under my leadership in Southern Province,” stated Kapeso.